For my very first challenge as a daring baker, the hosts for this round, Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough) and Sara (I Like to Cook), chose to focus the group on Julia Child. More specifically, on her French bread tome. Mary and Sara said of Julia that, “Just the mention of Julia Child will bring a smile to the face and a tear to the eye of most cooks. Julia Child didn’t start cooking until she was in her 40s and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” wasn’t published until she was almost 50! By the time Julia died in 2004 at the age of 92, she was regarded as one of the foremost cooks of our times.”
I have to admit, I have made French bread several times before, but I don’t think I have ever been privy to a recipe this authentic. The bread was wonderful and tasted so much more developed and flavorful than any other I have had.
You will see when you click through to Mary’s site for all the details why I am not posting the whole recipe here. Instead, I decided to give a picture gallery of the process for this amazing recipe. Though this is time consuming, if you break it into pieces then it is really a little work at a time, just spread out over several hours.
Don't believe me? In between the process of making this bread I made a pie, another batch of chocolate chip cookies, ran an errand to pick up our laptop from a store 30 minutes away and made this for dinner to eat with my bread (all while taking care of feedings and diaperings of my four-month old preemie). I'm not insane or bragging here, I'm just making the point that if you just take this a step at a time it is completely do-able for anyone and well worth the effort.
If done correctly though, it is a labor of love to be proud of, and if you do it the old fashioned way like on Julia’s video, well, then it could be quite therapeutic as a great aggression and stress reliever (which, funny enough, is one of the things that got me into bread making long ago anyway). Just remember the number 850. Watch the video before you try the recipe though. I didn’t and muddled through ok on a few parts, but it would have gone a lot faster and smoother had I watched Julia’s tutorial and followed our hostesses’ urging to do so. I actually meant to, but you know what they say about good intentions.
On to the pictures! Oh, and I just have to mention how excited I am to be joining this amazing online community of, as Aidan calls them, “Ninja Bakers.” I love having such a crazy little boy around the house.
To check out what all the others are up to go to the Daring Bakers Blogroll!