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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