I am proud to say my first Daring Baker’s Challenge was a success!
First of all, to explain to those who don’t know who the Daring Bakers are. The Daring Bakers are a group of people who help each other to broaden their baking skills through monthly challenges. This is not a contest and there are no prizes for best of anything, just dedicated bakers testing their mettle, learning new techniques, and sharing what they’ve learned through their personal blogs. (Read more at: http://www.andreameyers.com/2007/10/25/profile-of-a-learning-community-the-daring-bakers/)
Back to the challenge, this month was French Bread. Not any old plain jane French Bread, but Julia Child’s 15 page French Bread. When I saw the long lengthy recipe and read that it was going to take me 7-9 hours to complete this challenge, I was asking myself why I joined this group. Of course this recipe does not take 7-9 hours of actual work, there is quite a bit of down time. So one Saturday, off I went to give this thing a try, and it turned out great! For those who have eaten at Connie’s Pizza in Chicago, this bread turned out tasting exactly like what they serve, possibly even better, so it was definitly worth the time.
You can find the complete recipe on the blog of one of this month’s hosts Breadchick Mary. Sara from I Like to Cook was the other host. You can watch a video on how to make the bread here. I suggest, if you attempt making this recipe to read it through at least twice and watch the video. Also, for the rising, I used a heating pad to get the temp to 70 degrees so it wouldn’t take forever to rise, which looked ridiculous but worked great!
Pain Francais (French Bread)
(Recipe by Julie Child)
Step 1: The Dough Mixture
1 pkg dry active yeast
1/3 cup warm water, not over 100 degrees
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups tepid water at 70-74 degrees
Step 2: Kneading
Step 3: First Rising (3 1/2 – 5 hours at around 70 degrees)
Step 4: Deflating and Second Rise(1 1/2 – 2 hours at around 70 degrees)
Step 5: Cutting and resting dough before forming loaves
Step 6 Forming the loaves
Step 7: Final Rise (1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours at around 70 degrees)
Step 8: Unmolding risen dough onto baking sheet
Step 9: Slashing top of the dough
Step 10: Baking – about 25 minutes; oven preheated to 450 degrees
Step 11: Cooling (2 – 3 hours)
Step 12: EATING!!! (Finally)
Now I Challenge YOU to give it a try! :)