To me, being a Daring Baker (DB) means that I get to try recipes or techniques that I would normally not attempt. This month's hosts, Breadchick and Sara chose a terrific French Bread recipe from a culinary legend, the late Julia Child. I have become accustomed to long recipes and instructions from DB challenges, but 15 pages definitely broke the record. Just reading and thinking about the recipe took me more than an hour! With very little free time these days, I really struggled to find a "good time" to try out this recipe because it takes pretty much all day. But I had to do it, the DB in me wouldn't let me pass this recipe. I'm glad I did it because I could still do my work in between the risings.
As I've already spent so much time already on this bread, do forgive me if I keep this post short. I am sure that over 500 Daring Bakers have lots more to say, so head over to the DB blogroll and non-Blogger DB blog to check out their French Breads. Lots of different shapes and colours! A pdf copy of the recipe can be found here (thanks Dawn!) or this French Bread post by the bread guru, Breadchick.
The recipe is pretty straight forward, it just requires a bit of patience, time management and arm power (I don't have a heavy duty stand mixer). All of which I don't have much these days. Staying true to the DB motto, I followed the recipe as much as my attention span can manage (admittedly, I didn't wait as long as I should between the second and final rise). All that effort was worth it though because the final result is a beautiful crispy but not hard crust and flavoursome interior. My only regret is that I didn't enjoy the process as much as I usually do, it just happen to be a stressful period for me. I would like to make this recipe again a few months down the road, when I have a clearer mind, so that I can enjoy the process more because to me, that's what I enjoy most about cooking and baking. Of course, seeing appreciative nods or positives comment from my family, Quikong or friends tucking into my homemade produce makes it all worth it too. :-)
Enjoying the fruits of my labour:
This was one of the ways we enjoyed the French Bread: Drizzle locally pressed garlic infused EVO (from Hunter Valley), chop up a few vine-ripened organic truss tomatoes, roughly tear basil picked from our garden and sprinkle some Murray River pink salt flakes on toasted slices of homemade French bread....I am so contented!
"You don't have to cook dinner if you don't have time, babe. I'll be happy to have more of these for dinner!"
p/s: I am sure that you are all tired of hearing me whine about my thesis, so this will probably be my last post for the next four weeks. "See" you all again then...can't wait to be stress-free (can't even remember what that feels like!).