You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Daring Bakers February Challenge

This month's challenge is hosted by Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough) & Sara (I Like to Cook). Our recipe: Julia Child's French bread.

This is what French bread is supposed to look like:
And this is what mine looks like:

So what would this French bread say if it could talk? My guess is it would say something like, "Don’t' look at me, I'm hideous!" No wait, this is French bread. That means it would say, "Ne me regardez pas, je suis affreux."

When I first saw this month's challenge I thought great, another chance to work on my French bread skills. The recipe looked daunting. Twelve pages in length and a total time of close to 11 hours from start to finish. But this supposed to be a challenge, right? So I carefully studied the recipe before the first scoop of flour was measured.

All seemed to go well….until it came time to move the bread from the floured towels to the cooking sheets. Even with the heavy dose of flour covering the towel, the bread stuck to it and quickly deflated. Phooey! (I actually said something a bit more colorful) One loaf still retained it's loaf shape while the second one simply collapsed upon itself and folded over into a grotesque mass of wrinkly dough. Not a pretty site. In my frustration, I grabbed it up and rolled it into a boule hoping it could be salvaged. The result was mixed. It rose just like it was supposed to.
Taste-wise it was good if not a touch salty. Texture-wise, a nice fine crumb. Looks-wise, hideous. My first (non-obscene) thought was the loaf looked like a Geoduck . See the resemblance?

While my attempt at Julia Child's French bread was not great, it was a learning experience. However, I have other recipes for French bread that are less complicated and take about half the time to make (not including the starter). I think I'll stick to them.

And many thanks to my brother for posting this for me since I will be somewhere in the air on my way to Malaysia on posting day.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

well my breads weren't as nice as I hoped but it was a first try.
Thanks for kneading and publishing ! It was a very long job :)

1:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I had issues with mine as well--shaping and moving free form loaves is difficult, to say the least.

Malaysia--I'm jealous! :)

4:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I like your geoduck loaf, it has character. I agree that I found this recipe to be a bit on the salty side, particularly when served with cheese.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did a great job! I think it looks fine.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Y said...

Hahaha cute! Love the comparison! Geoduck wasn't the first thing that came to my mind. Something more along the lines of club to clobber someone over the head with! Must be frustrating after all that time spent on the brad, for it to deflate at the last step!

8:04 AM  
Blogger MamaB said...

I also had a lot of trouble moving the loaves to the from the cloth to the baking sheet. Mine looked a little mishapen after getting moved but they looked better after baking.

1:20 AM  
Blogger breadchick said...

Well, at least it tasted ok and the bread doesn't look THAT bad, Not that that matters ;-)

Thanks so much for baking with Sara and I

1:07 PM  
Blogger lina said...

Don't be too hard on your poor bread, it can't help it's a bit geoduckish. :) I'm glad it was tasty, good work!

3:26 PM  
Blogger Molly Loves Paris said...

Good job. I'll bet the bread was tasty. I have a much simpler version on my site:
Just do the squishing after the first raising and set the final loaf raising in pans - no transferring that way. I think it takes no more than 4 hours, and I've done it in three in the summer when the kitchen is hot.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

I always struggle with the shaping. But yours still looks great!

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post very much!

Don't beat yourself up too much as we all have our own kitchen misadventures and cooking mishaps. I had to "re-cook" an omelet five times because I couldn't do the "flip" well enough. Other four tries ended in scrambled eggs and the last one I just plainly gave up and accepted defeat! Geez, that is but a 5-minute omelet!

6:08 PM  

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