Friday, February 29, 2008

Julia Child's French Bread

First of all, my apologies to Julia.

The Daring Bakers Challenge this month was to make French bread using Julia Child’s original recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II. The ingredients were pretty much the same as any other French bread recipe, but the method was the challenge. No sponge, no poolish, no baguette pan. Rising on a cloth, baking on a flat baking sheet. The results? Good, but wow, it certainly was a “challenge” for me!

The risen dough stuck to the couche (the flour encrusted rising cloth) and deflated as it was placed onto the pan to bake. My sharpest knife would not cut neatly through the loaf to make the decorative slashes. It stuck to the dough, further deflating it. And between the mixing, the resting, the kneading, and the rising, it took forever!

The flavor? A little salty, I thought, but my husband disagreed. He asked, “Was it all worth it?” Truthfully, I would have to answer, “No, not really.” I am glad I did it, of course, as I am ever up for a baking challenge, but I’ll probably never do it again. There is definitely an easier way to make good French bread.

Thanks to Breadchick Mary for the recipe and the challenge. You certainly made me push my limits! Visit Breadchick Mary's site for the complete recipe for Julia Child's French bread.