Friday, February 29, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge - French Bread

I have always wanted to learn how to make bread for a while now. One of my favorite places to buy bread is at The Rockland Bakery where you can get bread hot out of the oven. It brings me back to one of my favorite childhood memories...going with my Mom to buy rolls that were fresh out of the oven and eating a couple on the drive home (which was only about a 5 minute drive). Also it was super hard to be any where near the bakery during Passover when you can not have bread but crave it because that is all you smell in the air.

So I was super excited when I saw that this month's challenge was French Bread. This was just the thing I needed to push me towards my goal of baking my own bread. I sort of had a feeling it would be something along those lines because this month's hostesses are Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough) & Sara (I Like to Cook).

After the initial excitement of the thought of actually making my own French Bread I got a little nervous for a couple of reason. One the recipe was the longest Daring Baker Challenge recipe I have ever seen in my life as a DBer and two it wasn't any French bread recipe it was a Julia Child French Bread recipe. I got a little worried but I didn't let that stop me from trying because after all that is why I joined this group. So I can challenge myself in baking that I would not do on my own.

I don't have a well working printer at home and I didn't think Mike would print out a 13+ page recipe for me at work. I decided to take out a copy of the cookbook from the library but then I found out my mother-in-law owned a copy of the cookbook which was even better. Part of me wanted to see if the recipe was really as long as it was posted...yes it is really that long. I am glad I got the book and I am glad that I had the hostesses version to look at because both had great tips. Where the book at illustrations of parts of the recipe and the hostesses version had great tips to go along with it.

The recipe is way too long to post but here is a link to Breadchick Mary's website:
Julia Child's French Bread Recipe

Review: I really really enjoyed making this recipe and I plan on doing it again and again. I am going to start with the bad because there is only one thing that is bad about this recipe. It is very time consuming and you really need all day for it. That being said most of the time the bread was doing the work and not you so I really shouldn't complain about that part of it. So the next time I make this I am going to try and retard the dough by letting it do the first rise in the refrigerator overnight to see if that cuts down on the time for me.

I took a fellow DB advise and read this recipe a lot before I started so I totally understand each step of the way. I felt this wasn't really one of those recipes where you can just wing it and get by with doing that. I got up a little early to start the bread since the first rise needed at least 3 hours to triple in size (mine took about 4.25 hours). My house is on the cold side these days and I needed a little help in having a place that is at least 70 degrees for the dough to rise. I actually used 2 of the tips to achieve this...I turned the oven onto the lowest setting for 5 minutes and then turned it off. By the time I put my dough inside it was a perfect temperature...it keep the temp around 70 I kept the oven light one which was the other tip.

Everything else went really well but then came the part to shape the dough...which I really need practise on but I managed as best as I could. I decided to make 3 batards instead of experimenting with other shapes. The instructions where very detailed on this part and I thought that would be my best option. Next time I make this I am going to try and make one big round bread.

I was in a little rush to go over to my in-laws house for dinner the night I was making the bread and I let it have the final rise for about 2 hours but I really couldn't wait...so I put it in the oven. Ok that wasn't my only mistake but for some odd reason I had an oven temperature of 400 stuck in my head. Even after reading the recipe a million times before and while I was making the bread...400 was still stuck in my head. Luckily for me I realized this after 10 minutes and turned up the temperature for the rest of the baking time.


I am really glad that I had to go some where right after I took the bread out of the oven because as a lot of fellow DBers have said the hardest part of this recipe is the part where you have to wait at least 2 hours before you should cut into the bread.

Once we got home from visiting my in-laws Mike and I ate an entire batard at midnight before we went to bed. OH MY GOD IT WAS HEAVEN!!! The first thing I thought was holy cow did I just make this...and the second thing I thought of was that I needed to go out and get some Brie cheese for this bread. Mike said that this was by far the best bread that I have ever made. The only thing he thought was that the bread was too salty but I liked that about this bread.



So once again Thank You Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough) & Sara (I Like to Cook) for picking this recipe and for getting me started on baking my own bread.

15 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your bread looks great! Very well done! Can I have a slice with some of that cheese ;-P?...

Cheers,

Rosa

L Vanel said...

Wow, that is some duper looking bread. I love it that you enjoyed it with a glass of wine.

Joy said...

I like the photo of your slices of bread - they could be straight out of a Parisian brasserie!

~Amber~ said...

Your bread looks amazing! Congratulations on a great job.

Mary said...

Your bread looks delicious! It's so airy and chewy looking! Well done!

Mom said...

The bread looks great and I think from now on you should make it for all family occasions...I no longer will go to the Rockland Bakery and bring the bread!

DawnsRecipes said...

Very nice loaf! Great job!

breadchick said...

I'd say you have the makings of a bread maker in you! Great job on the challenge and thanks for baking with us!

marias23 said...

Such wonderful-looking breads! And I agree with you the waiting part is the hardest! In fact, I failed in that regard. I succumbed to temptation and tasted one, which I found to be not so good because the crust hadn't set yet. Fortunately, the second loaf that I let cool for the entire time had waaay better texture!

Jaime said...

great job! the crumb looks perfect

Sara said...

Your bread looks very nice!

Jenny said...

Great air pockets in your bread!

I used the oven light technique too, and it really helped.

Lesley said...

Loooks so good, great holes and really nice golden color! Bravo!

Deborah said...

Great job! It looks wonderful!

Mandy said...

great job on the challenge!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails