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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


On to the oven.


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


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)


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.


And the close up.


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.


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


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!



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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  1. All the loafs look great! even that stubborn batch that did not want to cooperate. Nicely done!
    And it would of been great with Brie!!!

  2. They look great! The color is just gorgeous! Sorry the first batch didn’t want to do the right thing, but the second batch looks like a real winner!

  3. Lovely! Two batches, good idea! Back in the kitchen for me!

  4. I love the color of the bread, it so makes me want an oven that cooks from the top and bottom. Glad things went well in the end and that you challenged yourself so! Great job!

  5. WOW! And to think I always thought “homemade” bread came from a bread machine! I’m very impressed, Karen. And your pictures are so good I can practically smell the bread being pulled from the oven.

  6. mmm..bread and brie..delicious!

  7. Both batches look beautiful! The crust has such a nice color to it, and the inside looks so moist and yummy! The pictures look great!

  8. Good thinking! Wow I was not as organized as that! Your loaves really look fantastic.

  9. Your breads all look beautiful! Nicely done on this challenge! I especially like the picture of the first dough and the second dough rising together!

  10. Ok, I ate an entire loaf of this myself and loved it! Great plain or with dip or sandwiches. My fav. pic is the one with the 3 loaves freshly baked. Yum! Nice job in manual :). It didn’t come so easy to me! I like your step by step instructions too :). Thanks for the shout out!

  11. Fantastic job, all of your bread looks perfect!

  12. great pics! fantastic job on the bread!

  13. Your bread is GORGEOUS – I especially love the poppy seed loaf!

  14. I love all the step by step photos! And your bread looks incredible.

  15. Oooh, looks like yours came out very nice–I too always like seeing step by step photos…it’s like making strides toward delicousness!

  16. Great photos. And your loaves are beautiful. They look so rustic and welcoming. I admire your two-batch dedication.

  17. And that is why I adore the mystery of yeast. You can do exactly the same recipe with yeast from the same batch and get different results.

    Excellent job on your challenge

    thanks for baking with Sara and I

  18. I love the photo of the buckets on the wet driveway. It’s a story in and of itself.

  19. I had no idea you made bread last Sunday! They all looked great! I love french bread!

  20. Gosh you are so creative, I like the idae of using poppy seed! mine was a bit burnt! hmmm 😉

  21. I am now longing for a rainy day where I can stay in and bake! Good job, I really like the poppy seed loaf!

  22. My dough was also quite moist and I had to keep adding flour to it. Both of your breads look fabulous. We finished eating all of ours yesterday and I can’t wait to make bread again.

  23. Wow, that was a lot of bread! You go girl!

  24. Wonderful job on this challenge!!

  25. great job! your loaves are lovely!

  26. Beautiful loaves! You might have had to keep adding flour because it was raining and it might have been humid. Congratulations on a successful challenge.

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