My First – February 2008 Daring Bakers Challenge #16: Julia Child’s French Bread

by Holly on February 29, 2008


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!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann February 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Your loaves are just beautiful! I also didn’t watch the video first and I wish I had. I’m definitely going to be trying this again!

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L Vanel February 29, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Really really nice looking bread! Your photo progression is really really impressive.

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Gretchen Noelle March 1, 2008 at 3:45 am

I loved seeing all these photos with titles, what a great tutorial! Your loaves turned out wonderfully! Glad you shared all the other things you got done – it really is true, it only took time to wait for the bread. Great job on your first challenge. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

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Allison March 1, 2008 at 9:34 am

Your crumb looks so fluffy! Ha that was the first thing I thought when I saw it!
Ahhh and it looks absolutely beautiful in all of its stages. Great job! =)

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hanne hanne March 1, 2008 at 3:33 pm

I love the step-by-step photos. And your dough looks so beautiful and silken. You did a great job!

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Jenny March 1, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Your dough looks silky and beautiful. I think we should consider changing our name to the Baking Ninjas. 🙂

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amanda March 1, 2008 at 11:50 pm

looks so yummy!
i really like how you display all your photos =)

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Big Boys Oven March 2, 2008 at 4:42 am

oh your bread looks amazing! gosh. . . . cant imagine this recipe, so lengthy like my mum! lol! mine was rather a bit burnt!

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breadchick March 2, 2008 at 5:47 am

I’d say that was a payoff! Great job on the challenge and the photos are fantastic.

Thanks so much for baking with Sara and I

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Lunch Buckets March 2, 2008 at 7:00 am

Ninja Bakers. I love it! Also love the unique way you posted your photos. Great job!

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Deborah March 3, 2008 at 1:48 am

Wow – that’s a lot of food you made while making this. I think I mostly just slept while waiting! 🙂 It looks great!

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Sara March 3, 2008 at 6:08 am

Wow – amazing photos!

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Gabi March 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Congrats on your first challenge-well done-I like your pseudo polaroid photo progression. You have way too much energy for a mom of two little boys! 😉 Your bread turned out beautifully!
x x x
Gabi

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Lis March 9, 2008 at 12:29 pm

I love the photo essay, Holly! Your bread turned out just gorgeous.. seriously! 🙂

The “Ninja Bakers” are very happy to have you with us!

xoxo

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