Julia Child’s French Bread

Cut up for the toast in the next post
The boule

Was googling for eggless bread recipes the other day, and stumbled upon this really challenging French Bread at Pixie’s blog here. Her pictures looked so pretty, I just had to have that bread and since there was no other way to have it, I ended up making it myself. I also felt happy that I was attempting a DB recipe as I am now a proud albeit so-so member of the group. I found the recipe here as directed by Pixie – Breadchick has given a beatiful step by step pictorial on the making, and you should see Helen’s bread here with an innovative chocolatey twist – she makes all things look bright and beautiful. 🙂

I made the mistake of starting the bread making process at 6:30p.m. I lost my Saturday night sleep, as the bread was still getting done at 1:30a.m. I managed to finish ‘Absolute power’ by David Baldacci which thankfully was gripping enough to keep me awake. I also made it to the next morning’s cycling trip at 6:30a.m. though I slept at 2.00a.m. Only thing is I came back after 20km instead of completing the trip.

The first raise

The second raise

Third and final raise

Forming the baguette

The rockhard baguette

The bread itself looked nice – with neat holes and proper crumbs. My only complaint is that the salt is way too much – double the required amount – and that the crust was harder than any bread I have made!

Part of the baguette was a disaster. I got involved in the novel, did not realize that I had timed the oven for only 10 minutes when I put the bread in. The alarm must have gone off after some time but I was oblivious to that, and when I did remember after sometime, the bread was half baked. I again set the oven and baked it, but the baguette turned hard. So hard I could have actually hit a burglar with it! My husband doggedly ate it by dipping it in hot tea. I had a bite, and was afraid that my teeth may fall off so we had to throw the long one in the bin.

The other half – the boule – was good, but like I said earlier, the crust was harder than any other breads I have had!

31.01.2012 – Little did I know that this is what I will keep striving for when I make ciabattas and baguettes!  The hard exterior!

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Have your say

  1. Wow..you attempted this….I agree the crust was hard..but I loved shaping the breads…I wouldn’t have done it otherwise if not for the DB’s

  2. Hmm..home made bread,wow.
    Hey I have a treat for u in my blog..

  3. It looks perfect the baguette but sad to know it become hard 🙁

  4. Rachel – This is my year for perfecting bread, and I did this for a lesson, and what a hard lesson it turned out to be:)

    Hetal – Thanks for that award, I just peeped and saw! Its cutely done. I do love this exchange of words, thoughts and recipes, if only…it was over a chaat, a chat and a hot pot of tea:) Until then, this is an excellent way!

    Cham – Yes! I was so happy when I saw it, I thought to myself it was the best…looks are deceptive…hehe:D

  5. “could have hit a burglar with it!” lol!! that made me laugh! Kudos for attempting Julia’s French Bread! 😀

  6. Anu, thanks! I know I will never make it again – at least not with so many raises in between:)

  7. that looks good. i like the hard crust.

  8. wow! that loaf looks really brilliant! perfect baguette, and what a great execution of Julia’s recipe:)

  9. Lovely recipe, baguette looks great. Don’t give up!!!

  10. Bee – I liked all but the hard crust..probably should develop a taste for it!
    Mansi & Madhavi – The baguette only looks good. It was the boule that was good! But it was a learning experience:)

  11. Good job on your baguette.

    I’m glad you attempted it. Your result was every bit as good as our DBers and quite a few chickened out so HUGE kudos to you for taking it on!!

    So, here are a few things that will help you the next time you make it!

    A. I reduce the salt when I make these. We had to follow the recipe for the DB challenge but when I make these I use 1 tsp of salt.

    B. To get the crust less crunchy (French bread has a very crunchy crust and the second baking also contributed): Instead of baking at 450 degrees, reduce the heat of the oven to 400 degrees and bake it at 400 for the first 10 minutes then reduce to 350 for last part of baking. You will need to increase the baking time by about 5 – 10 minutes. Start checking the baguette at 25 minutes. The inside temp of the bread should be about 190 degrees. If it gets too brown during the baking, just tent some foil over it.

    Again, congrats on the bread and thanks for linking to my blog!

  12. Breadchick – Welcome and thanks for those tips! I am glad to have it endorsed that the bread has come out the way it should:)

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