Julia Child’s French Bread

February 29, 2008 at 7:21 am | Posted in Daring Bakers | 26 Comments
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Julia Child’s French Bread is way outside of my comfort zone. And it’s exactly why I joined the Daring Bakers…to try recipes I would have never attempted on my own, to challenge myself, and to learn.

I decided to make my bread on a Sunday. It was raining. My daughter had a fever so I knew I would be home bound.

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I started at 8am by mixing the yeast and water, then flour, salt and more water. My dough was pretty wet, so I added a few handfuls of flour.

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I kneaded with my dough hook, finished by hand and started the first rise at 8:40am.

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An hour and a half into my first rise I knew there was trouble. My dough looked really wet. I was worried about the rise.

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Not wanting to waist the day, I decided to start a second batch. By 10:40am it was rising next to my first batch.

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Sure enough, after a three hour rise, my second batch had tripled in size while my first batch seemed to have stalled. I took the second batch, deflated it and started it’s second rise. After two more hours it looked good.

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I cut, rested it, formed the loaves and allowed it to double in size for it’s third and final rise.

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On to the oven.

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The bigger one on my pizza stone and then the other two on a large baking sheet.

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And finished…about 8pm…12 hours later. (A solutions note: Despite this being freshly baked french bread, it was after 7pm and I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t slice into it until the next morning)

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Now, for that first stalled batch. I sprinkled in more flour. And then more. And more still. I allowed it to rise and rise and rise. It never got that nice dough look, but it seemed like a waist to throw it out so I cut it in half, let it rest, and shaped the dough. I did one round and one braided. (I had already completed the challenge to it’s strict specifications). I allowed these two a final rise then baked them. To the braided one rather than brushing with water I used an egg wash and sprinkled it with poppy seeds.

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And the close up.

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I must say, this French Bread is beautiful! I wouldn’t say it’s the best bread I’ve ever eaten (I’m more of a sourdough girl), but it’s really good. I would make it again for a special event or dinner party.

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Right now, I am dying to pick up a wedge of brie cheese, sit down and enjoy!

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This month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was hosted by Breadchick Mary of The Sour Dough and Sara of I like to Cook. Thanks for the fun challenge ladies! Be sure to check out the hundreds of other Daring Baker French Breads!

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A photography note…of the 14 pictures on this post, 9 were taken on manual mode. #6-9 photos were on auto…partly because I was getting tired, partly because it was getting darker in my kitchen. Angela, you inspire me to do better!

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