Soooooooooo sloooooooooooooooooooow!

Today, Jan 3, I tried the Julia Child French Bread recipe for the third (and probably last for a while) day.  I was confident with the success of Jan 2 that this would be easy!  For whatever reason(s), it was anything but 😦

The main problem was that the dough pretty much refused to rise.  I think this may have been because the house (hence kitchen) was a bit cool.  It may also have been due to a bit too much of olive oil in the bowl I used.  I normally smear a small amount in the bowl to help the dough not stick.  Perhaps there was just too much – whatever.  It took the dough some six hours to achieve the first rise, including some coaxing by putting it into a slightly warmed oven (probably only 75F).  Anyway, I carried on with the full three rises (a total of nine hours) and formed a batard – a largish loaf containing the whole batch.  I originally formed it as a boule, something that looks more like a flattened soccer ball, but when I put that into the hot oven to cook, it collapsed into a thick, round puddle 😦  A quick reform and some resting then created the batard.

The result turned out to be not bad at all:

P1070094 P1070097

Next up; adventures with Sourdough bread 🙂 I made the starter on Jan 3 and will make the first bread from it starting on Saturday, Jan 4


Julia Child’s French Bread – take #2

Since my results from Jan 1 were OK, but not spectacular, I went ahead and made the same recipe again.  This time, I tried to keep the dough as “soft” as possible (check out the YouTube video of Julia Child kneading her dough to get an idea of how soft she thinks French Bread dough should be!).  I also made only two larger loaves instead of the previous three.

The results on Jan 2 were much improved.  The bread has a great texture, rose very well and has a nice crunchy crust.


A year with bread

For 2014, I’ve decided to try and bake at least one loaf of bread each day in the hopes of achieving the perfect loaf!

Yesterday, Jan 1, I tried the original “crusty french bread” by Julia Child.  This recipe takes a really long time with three separate rises of the dough adding up to nearly six hours!  The results were mixed – the loaves stuck to the parchment paper at the last rise and hence deflated somewhat when placed on the cookie sheet for baking.  The bread had a nice texture – lots of bubbles – and quite good flavor.

The recipe I followed was from Barbara bakes Julia Child’s French Bread