Friday, 29 February 2008

Daring Bakers Feb 2008: Julia Child's French Bread

French Bread (Boule Shape)

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.

After thoughts:
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!


Quikong said:
"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!).

59 comments:

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your bread is gorgeous! You totally rock, Daring Baker!

Nora B. said...

Thanks Lynn, you are quick! I just posted that!

Mansi Desai said...

that looks awesome Nora:) I'm reading Julia's book these days! love the way your bread puffed up girl:)

Angel said...

Your loaf looks so beautiful. I could just imagine it in a bread basket as a homey treat. I hear you on the time thing. I didn't have time this month to do it, but i want to so bad i decided I'm going to make it Sunday and just post late. Wish me LUCk!!

Helene said...

What a great looking bread. I love the second picture with the tomato mixture.

Susan said...

I can see how crackly-crisp your crust is -- just perfect!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Sorry things are stressful--I'm sure it will be a huge relief once the thesis is out of the way. For what its worth, that bread looks amazing! Every month when the DB posts start rolling out, I kick myself and say I should join in, because every month, the results look awesome and I'm thinking "that would be a neat thing to try!"...and seeing how I eat French bread or a baguette or some similar bread just about daily, well, you've got my mouth watering. I'll take a loaf or two... ;-)

Great work!

Gigi said...

Beautiful bread! The crust looks fantastic on your bread.

Eva said...

Your Boule is wonderful! Love the bruschetta photo, it simply looks so full of flavour!
I'm all with you with the time issue, will post this evening while having another builder at home for two hours. That way I can at least use the time when I have to stay put...

Bellini Valli said...

You did an excellent job on your loaf Nora. It was quite time consuming but worth it in the end wouldn't you say :D See you when you have more time to get down to foodie business :D Good luck with your thesis :D

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I learned to cook by watching Julia Child on television -- and while she never did bread from scratch on her shows (after all, with a 15-page recipe, who had time???), she was always the best teacher. I love the look of these loaves.

Warda said...

Hi Nora! I hope your thesis is going well!
My post is even shorter than yours. But you bread looks fantastic! I wasn't too patient with the last rising time either, and I will most definitely give it another try. Some day ;)

Big Boys Oven said...

Nora B, this challenge by the looks, looks so simple and yet my goodness 15 pages of recipe! I really spin! but I got them done, as we are boys who don't do bread! lol!

Molly Loves Paris said...

That is a really lovely boule of bread. It's hard to stick totally to an 8 page recipe. My thesis was just about the most stressful thing I ever did. May it all go well for you.

Mandy said...

Beautiful boule! does Quikong know that it takes longer to make the bread than fixing dinner? ;p
All the best for the thesis!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Simply Gorgeous! as is your Macadamia Bundt cake, Nora. All the best with your thesis, try not to stress too much,ok?
Thanks for all your kind words, Nora - I really appreciate it. ;o)

tigerfish said...

That's a huge brushetta using your french bread! But I love it!

Kevin said...

Your bread looks like it turned out really good. I really like the tomato topping!

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Nora,
Great job! Your bread looks so tempting! Thumbs up!

L Vanel said...

What beautiful nice round loaves! It really looks great!

Gloria said...

Really lovely bread Nora, I love tese Daring Bakers, so beautiful all breads, but yours with tomatoes!!! nice, I love so tomatos and bread and aji.xxx Gloria

Pixie said...

Your bread looks fabulous and hope the stress you're feeling now will quickly disappear!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Nora,
That reminds me that I haven't bake bread for a long time now.... thank you for reminding me... your bread looks lovely!!!

Margot

winedeb said...

Congrats to you Nora B! What a beautiful loaf! And what is better is the EVO from Hunter Valley! I hope you were able to enjoy a bottle of wine from there also! It was one of my favorite spots to visit while I was there. And I can make a meal of bruchetta also!
I tip my hat to you also for being a DB. I have not jumped in on this challenge yet because I am not a baker! But I must say it does look like fun.
Well, enough chatter for now. You need to get to work!
Many hugs to ya!

DawnsRecipes said...

Haha...you know what? I forgot about that PDF. I didn't even think to link to that. Oh well..maybe I'll add it as a comment. Great job with the bread, by the way! It looks soooo yummy with the tomatoes and basil!

Breadchick said...

Nora, thank you so much for the kudos as "bread guru"! I would say you belong in that same category because your boule is perfect!!

Thanks for joining Sara and I this month and good luck on your thesis.

Carrie said...

Yum!
What a delicious way to enjoy french bread!

Cynthia said...

Yayyy, another challenge completed.

I made your savoury biscotti and it is fantastic!!! I really love it. Thank you.

Veron said...

what beautiful bread you made Nora! good luck with your thesis!

KJ said...

Awesome bread. I think you did a great job.

Stress is an awful thing. Take care of yourself. See you in a month or so.

Gloria said...

Nora, only to say you the nuts are walnuts (from Nogal) is the better to this recipe to the dough. An other tip if you want more big you may add a little more of flour, the cake is not bigger and for this when I make to birthday I make two. xxxx Gloria

Half Baked said...

Great job on this challenge. It was demanding in the time that was required to complete. Your bread looks awesome! love the picture with the tomatoes yum!

marias23 said...

Good luck with the thesis! I'll have to start that in a few months *jitters*

Great bread and remember that if you're too stressed out, bake! :D

Hannah said...

How lovely! Your bread came out beautifully, and that serving suggestion looks delicious!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful! Great job here! Nice looking bruschette!

Cheers,

Rosa

Jenny said...

Good luck on that thesis! May you be back to stressless, leisurely bread baking days very soon!

Shaun said...

Nora B. ~ Your bread looks so divine, and it is great to see that you enjoyed it with great Australian produce and products. I can relate to committing to food events even though time is short. It is great that your contribution to the Daring Bakers this month was strongly validated by Quikong.

It is curious, though, that this is considered an everyday bread...Who has that much time every day to make it other than a baker?

Christine said...

Thanks for the post. Your bread looks awesome, the crust is crackly and the tomato mixture is to die for!

Deborah said...

Your bread looks great. Good luck with your thesis!!

Sara said...

The bread looks great, especially that last photo! Thanks for baking with us this month.

ostwestwind said...

What a gorgeous looking boule!

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Kelly-Jane said...

It's a lovley job you've done with your bread there! Best of luck with your thesis too =)

Rosa said...

A very professional looking loaf! But I'm sure it disappeared so quickly, you must have wondered if all those hours of effort were worth it!

Tartelette said...

Your bread turned out perfect! We had it for dinner gratng some garlic and tomatoes on it...so good!

Kate / Kajal said...

Nora .. there's a reason why i'm not a DB ... i just dont have the bols to make bread !! This loaf looks so perfect and nice. Cant believe bread like that can be made at home. Well done Nora.

katiez said...

You're boule looks lovely!
Good luck with the thesis!

Melinda said...

Nora, Write to me to find a excellent substitution for cake flour. I have some test baking done on my web site using some different flours here in England. This is a really big deal... actually to all of us countries who don't have cake flour or even bleached flour available.
Rose Levy Beranbaum is going to include this technique in her new cake cookbook due out next year.
Hope to hear from you. Cheers

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Oh, you don't wings? I love them and breast... Marissa loves wings the most too! :)

Have a nice day, Margot

p.s. I don't have pictures from the wedding yet.

valentina said...

I think if I were in Quikong's place, I'd say the same thing!

Vi said...

Hey Nora. Great looking bread! I can't bake to save my life. Finally done moving. Glad to be able to cook again! -Vi

Toni said...

I guess I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to say good luck to you with your thesis. Also to say that baking bread takes time and patience, and if you don't have the time, it doesn't work to try and drum up the patience! I used to bake bread. Now I live several blocks from a wonderful bakery. Life goes on....

Karin said...

Great looking bread. I'm impressed. I don't bake bread myself very often. We are addicted to Wasa crispbread, you know:)

The Cooking Ninja said...

Your French Bread is gorgeous. :)

Good luck to your thesis!

Paola said...

That looks amazing! The crust looks like perfection! I adore French breads. I could do with a slice right now...with some butter from Insigny. :)

paola

Gloria said...

How are you Nora???? Many time we don't see you . xxxxxTake care Gloria

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Hi Nora,

I know you don't want to touch computer too much, so I tagged you for very short meme Six-Word Memoir... :)

http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=2039

Have a good day, Margot

winedeb said...

I know you are not posting at the moment due to your studies.
So I just wanted to say "Hi" and hope that all is going well!

winedeb said...

Hi Nora,

Got your note. Hang in there, take your time and most of all, have a BIG glass of red wine this weekend!
Catch up with you more later!
Many hugs to ya!
Deb

Patricia Scarpin said...

My dear friend, I haven't seen you around in a while. I hope everything is fine.

miss you.

xoxo