Rules

1. Make one different bread recipe every day for one year, except Sundays (because we all need a little bench rest).

2. No purchases of special equipment.

Simple enough.

But what exactly counts as “bread”?  According to Merriam-Webster Online, the first definition of bread is “a usually baked and leavened food made of a mixture whose basic constituent is flour or meal.”  The Food Lover’s Companion defines bread as “made from flour, water (or other liquid), and usually a leavener.  It can be baked, fried, or steamed.”  Both of these definitions include the word “usually”.  That’s a tricky word, rightly implying that a thing called “bread” can be not-baked and un-leavened.  Both mention “leavening”, or how gases get into the bread, raising it and producing air holes, shape, and texture.

Generally speaking, there are three categories of bread: yeast-leavened breads, quick breads (leavened with chemical means, such as baking powder), and unleavened breads.

Examples of yeast breads:
baguettes
ciabatta
croissants
pizza crust
rye
pumpernickel
sourdough
brioche
bagels

Examples of quick breads:
cornbread
tea breads (such as banana bread)
biscuits
crepes
pancakes

Examples of unleavened breads:
matzo
some crackers
some flatbreads

Most of the breads I’ll be making will come from the yeast-leavened category.  They take the most time, effort, and care; but they are the most rewarding and, to me, the most delicious.  They are also the sort of bread that causes the most anxiety in novice bread-bakers.

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