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2.29.2008

Daring Bakers Take on Julia Childs Labor Of Love , French Bread




This is my fifth Daring Bakers Challenge, and I must say the most challenging. But that's the whole point of me joining, to push my limits and explore all aspects of baking from savory to sweet. When Mary at Breadchick and Sara at I like to Cook, took on hosting duties, they went all out. Our challenge reflects Julia Child's own obsession with mastering French Bread. Last year I read Appetite For Life, The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch. Julia, ever the perfectionist, spent years mastering her bread with her ever patient husband Paul at her side , encouraging,tasting, and critiquing. Its reflected in Volume 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. 18 pages are dedicated to this recipe that consists of just flour,water, yeast, and salt. Go figure. I was pretty confident I could do this and set aside one Saturday as it takes about 10 hours in total of rising, shaping, etc. I had purchased the baking tiles, a tool for slashing, prepped my muslin as the pastry clothes.All seemed well until it started getting around dinner time , and Certain Someone was impatiently waiting. I had purchased Brie,charcuterie, etc for us to have sandwiches on my homemade baguettes. The end result at around 10:30 pm was a hard pale,misshapen baguette. we ate the sandwiches , or shall I say gnawed. It was edible but had a hard shell to it that wasn't what I would call crusty. Nevertheless I vowed to attempt it again and finished up the rest over the next day. Not awful , but not right. I figured with Certain Someone gone on a golf outing,I would have time. But I got a cake commission that took my whole weekend and had to put it off. So on the final Sunday of the month I woke up at 6:30 am determined to have a decent bread to post about. I decided to one large Boule. I didn't feel confident enough to shape the baguettes again. All went well and at 5:00 we had some slices with raspberry jam and butter. A pre Oscar Night snack.I liked the color and the outer shell softened as it cooled down. Certain Someone was happy about that, and so were his teeth. He said it was good.One thing I learned for sure is that bread making demands your respect and attention. Whatever distractions and disruptions in your life will show up in the final result. Its not ironic that bread is symbolic and referenced in religion.Bread is life.My month has been trying to say the least. But all my fears and worries about my life and job were resolved by the time I made the second round.

The recipe is long,so I will post it to Coco's Recipe Box and you can check it out here.Meanwhile check ot the ever expanding Daring Bakers and what they produced.




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42 comments:

Gigi said...

I love all the photos! Great idea to have a party and use up all the bread.

Pixie said...

I'm amazed you did the challenge TWICE! It looks wonderful and I wish I could have a couple of those sands for lunch today.

Dharm said...

You are so brave to have done the challenge twice. But I'm glad it turned out well on the second try! Way to go!!! :)

Annemarie said...

I also had to wait til around 10pm to pull out my charcouterie. You can only imagine poor Paul Child, waiting days upon days for his meal until Jula decided she got the recipe just right...

L Vanel said...

That French bread looks excellent, and I love your idea of doing the classic ham and butter sandwich. Way to go!

Anne said...

Your patience is admirable to have done it twice! You did fabulous job :)

Anne said...

Oh, very devoted to make it twice! I'm glad the second batch worked out :) It looks lovely!

Maryann said...

I can't say this was an easy challenge. You did great, though :)

Bellini Valli said...

Your loaves are a thing of beauty. Kudos to you for "rising" to the challenge Coco. I made baguettes so I was ablt to have one of my loaves fresh from the oven slathered in butter :D

Megan said...

As with Julia, It will take my lifetime to perfect this recipe. All that kneading and shaping, I went with 2 rounds.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

BOW to you...TWICE!! I'm amazed at your perseverance. WAY TO GO!! Once was great for me...I had a party the first time I got through it! It's was a challenging challenge & I loved it. The pictures & write-up is great! lol

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

UHHHHHHHH OHHHHHHHHHHHH

Looks like I missed the challenge...whoops. Bows head in shame...

linda said...

Wow, you made the recipe twice! The second looks wonderful! The first paleish but with some good slash work.
The charcuterie looks delicious too!

Mansi Desai said...

wow Coco! that's some dedication gal! and what an improvement:) the final bread looks amazing! just like Julia's:)

good job!

Big Boys Oven said...

this is so amazing, so well recorded, I was totally exhausted by the end of the day! well done to you!

Gabi said...

I am so impressed that you went back an baked this again for the challenge! Nice job!
x x x

marye said...

Twice? Wow...I am in awe.
Nice job!

~Amber~ said...

Well we have something in common. We both made the bread twice. I was not impressed with my results the first time so attempted it again. Both of your attempts look wonderful. Congratulations on completing the challenge.

Ben said...

Great job, Courtney. I too had to try twice. My first attempt was a disaster, but the second wasn't all that bad. Next time might be the best one, :D

Mary said...

You are amazing that you made it twice in one month. I love the photo of the bread with the jam. Great Job!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This recipe just plain scares me. And good for you for trying that second time! Congrats on every single level!

Deborah said...

Perseverance pays!! I'm thinking of trying it again... Lovely bread!

chou said...

Hey, next time I'm up (or if you want to come down to Urbana) I'd love to do a bread day. :) Way to keep at it!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your breads look wonderful! Yes, the more you try, the more you'll have chances to finally succeed... Very well done! And those sandwiches are drool worthy!

Cheers,

Rosa

Proud Italian Cook said...

I can't imagine doing this twice! I give you a lot of credit! Do you think the fist batch didn't rise long enough? Your Boule looks perfect though, looks like you mastered the art of french baking!

Breadchick said...

Now that is dedication Julia would have been proud of, 2X!

Glad you enjoyed the challenge.

Sara and I thank you for joining us!

jasmine said...

Good for you for revisiting the recipe.

Your charcutrie photo looks so delicious...it sounds strange, but I hadn't thought of making sandwiches with my loaf--toast, snacks and squidgy egg dunkers...I feel as if I've missed out.

j

Aamena said...

wow, i cant imagining try it twice! the jam bread looks yummy!

Emiline said...

18 pages? Yikes!

The bread looks nice, but I'm really hungry for that charcuterie.

Baking Soda said...

This is certainly bread that asks for a repeat, applaud you for persevering! Great bread!

myriam said...

pre-oscar snack! i should have thought about that! you know, the more you bake, the better you get. its as easy as that!;-)

Lis said...

Yay! I'm glad you tried again and got better results! And I'm very happy to hear things in your life have been resolved.. good for you, sweets. :)

xoxo

Zen Chef said...

You should try a no-knead bread recipe next time. There is one that was published in the NY Times last year that has taken the internet by storm. It's really good and really easy. I wrote a post about it in my blog about 2 months ago. Cheers! :-)

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your bread. I thought the first batch I made turned out a little pale, and my second batch had a better color.

I'm so glad your Certain Someone enjoyed it so much the second time around and that your life/job were going better.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Joy said...

Your sandwiches look delicious. You've also given me a craving for bread and jam now...

Elle said...

Wonderful post! Glad that things are going well in your life as you finish the challenge...love the symbolism of bread and life. Your bread with butter and jam looks so good I could just pluck it off the screen. Mmmm.

Heather said...

Hats off, honey. Baking has never been my forte, especially not yeasted breads! And the Breadman works like bollocks. You're a champ!

Toni said...

Yes, bread and life do go together! French Bread is one of the only ones I've ever attempted, and yours makes me think it's time to try it again.

I'm almost embarrassed to tell you that I've tagged you. You can check out my blog for the "rules".

Jaime said...

i'm glad your patience and perseverance to try a 2nd time was rewarded! great job!

Peabody said...

Bread making does indeed demand your attention and respect...well put.
So glad that everything worked out in life and with the bread.

Jenny said...

Bread IS life. :)

I just never know what challenge will prove the hardest - who knew that four ingredients could be such a struggle!

Barbara said...

Good on you making a second attempt. It looks great.