Friday, February 29, 2008
The Daring Bakers go French
The Daring Baker challenge for February is Julia Child’s French bread. I quite enjoy making bread, but I have never made a plain white loaf and not in the style of French bread.
The bread in France is unbelievable! I am not a big bread eater, but when we spent time in France four years ago, I think I ate my bread quota for about a year in 3 weeks!!! My favourite memories are of a still warm pain aux lardon (bread with bacon in it) and a divine anchovy fougasse. Yum!!!!! The Julia Child recipe was for a plain French loaf.
The instructions for making the bread were very long and thorough. I used the mixer method, rather than the by hand method – I usually use my kenwood for kneading bread. The bread turned out well, but did not have the WOW factor that I would have liked.
I followed the instructions as much as I could–although didn’t leave it to rise as long as the recipe said. My funny old atlas oven is not the best thing to make bread in – It probably doesn’t get as hot as French Bread needs. Also, I don’t have a pizza stone, so made the bread on a normal oven tray. I did put ice in the oven to create steam which is meant to keep the bread nice and moist.
The bread tastes really yummy – especially warm from the oven with some lovely butter on it. But it didn’t go a glossy brown colour and the outside was not as crisp as I would have liked. I made a rather mis-shaped baguette and a kind of a boule. We ate the baguette hot from the oven and I have put the boule in the freezer.
I am not sure that I would make the French bread again. I don’t think I can re-create the French bread oven enough to get a good result. I think I will stick to making things like fougasse and foccacia.
You can see the other daring bakers’ French bread here.