It’s that time of month again; it’s Daring Bakers time. This months recipe is French Bread, Julia Child style. Making my own French bread has been on my todo list for a while and this was a great time to do it.
One of the reasons that I joined the Daring Bakers was to challenge myself. Many Daring Bakers recipes are challenging in that they include several different components. This recipe may look simple when looking at the ingredient list but the instructions make up for it. Making French bread takes a bit of effort and time. A lot of time in fact. It includes letting the dough rise three times and letting the bread cool each of which takes 2-3 hours for a total of 8-12 hours. This is definitely something that you want to do on the weekend.
Making the bread, although time consuming was not too difficult. When I read the instructions the first time I somehow missed the third rising. By the time I finished the bread it was pretty late at night. I decided to form my bread into the classic baguette shape. The only problem that I had with the recipe was the folding stage. I could not figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Some pictures would have been helpful. I did some folding and forming and it seemed to turn out ok so it was not a problem.
When I pulled the bread out of the oven something seemed wrong. The bread seemed to be rock hard. I thought that I might have done something wrong and that I might have just wasted an entire days worth of effort. Instead of waiting for the bread to cool for the recommended 2-3 hours I immediately cracked open a loaf. The inside was so light, fluffy and just perfect. It was almost cloud like. Now that I had cracked open a loaf and seen the inside there was no way that I could not try just a piece right away. I cut off a slice and spread on some butter which started melting into the still warm bread. Despite the fact that the crust seemed a bit hard to the touch, it seemed perfectly crusty to the mouth and teeth. The bread was so good! The just one slice quickly turned into just one loaf! I really, really enjoy freshly baked bread with melting butter.
Overall the French bread was a lot of work and took a lot of time but it was worth it. It was some of the best bread that I have ever made or even had. I will be making this again but given that it takes a whole day I am not sure how often that will be.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 cups tepid water
- Mix the yeast and warm water and let sit for a few minutes.
- Mix everything in the bowl to form a dough that should be soft and sticky.
- Place the dough onto the kneading surface and let sit for a few minutes.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes adding a bit of flour if it is too sticky. The dough should be elastic and retract into shape when you push it out. The dough should also be cleaning itself off the working surface but still be sticky to your hands.
- Let the dough rest for a few minutes.
- Knead for a minute. The dough should look smooth, be less sticky and remain soft.
- Let the dough rise to triple its volume over the next 3-5 hours in a lightly greased covered bowl.
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it with your lightly floured hands.
- Fold the dough in half and in half again and place it back in the bowl.
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rise to triple its volume, about 3 hours.
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and and cut it into the shapes that you want. If you want one big round loaf leave it alone. If you want 3 baguette shaped loaves then cut it into three long pieces. Etc.
- Fold the dough in half, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Dust a tea towel with flour so that the formed dough can rise on it without sticking to it.
- Form the dough into an 8-10 inch oval on a lightly floured surface with your lightly floured hands.
- Fold the dough in half lengthwise and seal the fold.
- Roll the dough 1/4 turn so that the fold it on top.
- Flatten the dough into an oval again and press a trench along the fold with the side of your hand.
- Fold the dough in half lengthwise and seal the edges.
- Roll the dough 1/4 turn so that the seal is on the bottom.
- Roll the dough back and forth and stretch it to form a long cylinder.
- Place the formed dough on the floured tea towel and form the remaining two loaves.
- Cover the loaves and let rise until they have tripled in volume.
- Carefully lift the loaves off of the tea towel and place them on a baking sheet.
- Using a sharp knife slash the tops of the loaves 3 times.
- Bake in a preheated 450F/230C oven for 25 minute. The crust should be golden brown and crisp. It should sound hollow when knocked.
- Let the bread cool for 2-3 hours.
Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)
beautiful french bread kevin!! great job!!
L Vanel says
That is some beautiful looking bread, Kevin! I also found myself summarizing the recipe and will use my own notes the next time I do this bread. It looks delicious!
Wow – they look tremendous. Great, even texture. Congratulations!
The nice thing about bread is that it is so forgiving. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t fold it perfectly. Nice job.
Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says
A good cuppa coffee and this bread for breakfast – it doesn’t get any better than this.
I can almost smell the bread baking. That looks mouth-wateringly good!
Kevin your bread is really beauty.looks delicious, I admire you!!!Gloria
Btw I tagged you by a meme, i hope you dun mind.
Very professional, Kevin 🙂 Rub some garlic on mine, please 🙂
Your bread looks great and thanks for the shortened version of the recipe!
Looks fantastic! I’m having major bread cravings now!
Beth G. says
It looks awesome, and I found it was a pretty forgiving recipe too! You did a beautiful job!!
javagirlkt's cookin' says
nice job! the bread and melted butter looks soooooo good right now.
kevin- you did na awesome job..it is beautiful.
You crack me up about how 1 slice turned into a loaf! I don’t think I gave my husband more than a slice. Your bread looks delicious!
This looks lovely! I love when careful “mistakes” turn into something spectacular, and more than you expected! Unfortunately, that sort of luck doesn’t seem to be on my side 🙁
Beautiful! What a great creation. It looks like you put all of your love in that loaf.
Wow, they look all nicely puffed up and yummy…mine didn’t puff up as much.
Great looking French Bread Kevin! Nice and rustic. It is a long process.
Jen Yu says
Kevin, love – you’re a machine. I don’t think a day goes by that you don’t post something delicious and amazing on your blog. You so rock.
Man, I wish I could have been at your house when this lovely loaf came out of the oven. I can just imagine the smell of your kitchen.
Wonderful job! It does look perfect with the melting butter.
your french bread turned out beautifully! great job!
That looks awesome! I am looking forward to my first baking challenge in March!
Vicarious Foodie says
Oh my gosh I LOVE French bread! It is by far my favorite and I could eat a loaf myself, warm out of the oven with butter and a glass of wine. . . Mmmm!
Nora B. says
Your bread looks good! I love fresh warm bread with butter too. I’m glad that all theat effort was worth it.
Kevin, I am fiercely proud of your achievement! Fantatic bread you made here.
Dani Spies says
You never fail to amaze me!
Another challenge well done 🙂
Your bread looks beautiful, Kevin! Great job!!
Well done, your bread looks great!
Proud Italian Cook says
Kevin, You did another fantastic job! I’m so impressed!
Kevin – as per usual you’ve done an amazing job with your challenge – your bread looks picture perfect! 🙂
Kevin, you’re cooking-baking machine! And you never fail at producing gorgeous results. Fabulous bread!
that’s some fantastic looking bread you have there. it was a great challenge. funny how 4 ingredients can fit so nicely on to 9 pages of instruction.
What a challenge! I admire you for this.
I wish DB recipes were more of an everyday thing.
Great job! The bread with butter melting looks absolutely fantastic.
that bread looks perfect! good job!
Your bread looks like a bakery’s creation.
Thanks for baking with Sara and I
Beautiful! Just beautiful! And I too almost missed that rest… But lucky I re-read the recipe.
Which, I decided to summarize! The recipe at first look frightening and scary because how long it is; Plus, it has a lot of information. So, in the end, I summarized it for future reference.
And again, you bread just look absolutely beautiful!
Kudos Kevin – baking bread seems like a total adventure. I love the picture too – I visualized eyes and a mouth and it could be a sea serpent 🙂
noble pig says
Oh Kevin. this looks wonderful. I’ve been wanting to French Bread for a long time. Thanks for the inspriation.
Bellini Valli says
I couldn’t wait to have the bread either Kevin. That’s why I made baguettes…one for eating straight from the oven slathered in butter and the other to sit for the recommended amount of time 😀 We are the rebels of the baking world you and I 😀
that bread looks so delicious with all that butter on it! making bread is such a time-consuming and noble thing…i admire you “daring bakers” for putting in the time to participate in these challenges!
Beautiful bread, Kevin! You did a great job!
It looks great!
Have you ever tried to make a no-knead bread recipe?
It’s really good and really easy. I wrote a post about it a while back.
Nice job on the challenge, your bread looks great!
Big Boys Oven says
such a lovely loaaf of bread you had there! Amazing!
Chez Denise et Laudalino says
Something went wrong? These look great! Good jo!
wow, that last picture……
Cooking and the City says
Kevin your bread looks delicious, I love the pic with the melting butter. great job 🙂
It was some really good bread, wasn’t it!
Great job on your bread.
Wee, that looks delicious! I have to admit that the taste of my breads could have been more flavourful.
Ulrike from Küchenlatein
Nothing better than hot french bread with melting butter. Nothing! Great job on this challenge!
A suggestion: Try Richart Bertinet’s Cookbook “Dough.” He’s a French cook who lives in England and has a great way of teaching people relatively strait forward recipes for French Breads. After all, a real French bakery, unlike Julia Child, can’t take 9 hours to produce a few baguettes. Check him out — I’ve had great luck and managed to produce baguettes with 2 risings of an hour each — totally do-able without taking up your whole day!
Oh, that picture with the melted butter is killing me!! Marvelous looking bread!
Astra Libris says
Oooooh, your bread looks amazing! Your baguette shape looks absolutely perfect! Mmmmm, such a gorgeous row of slices with melted butter…
beautiful. this looks like something out of an artisanal bakery.
Flanboyant Eats says
Beautiful! I love your recipe and the final look of it… It’s the closest thing to Cuban bread when I can’t find it. I just got my first Kitchen Aid mixer and I’m sooo excited and can’t wait to my make my own bread.
Hope you’ll be using a pressure cooker! 🙂
Hi. I just looked at the French Bread. Oh my. I have been making it for almost 30 years. Although I do let it rise all day (just punching down once if I remember) I don't knead it at all! And it comes out crusty on the outside and soft (or sometimes chewy depending on season) inside. We spend our winters on a sailboat where I do not have an oven so I 'bake' it on the grill (with help from a little gizmo my hubby made). Again, it turns out great! Also, believe it or not the classic Fanny Farmer has a good recipe too. Try it!
donkey and the carrot says
It looks amazing!!! I bet it is delicious! I will try it soon!
Thanks for sharing!
Take care, Foivi!