Thursday, 28 February 2008

Daring Baker 1 - French Bread

This was my first month being part of the "Daring Bakers": a group of people who bake the same recipe and if they blog post it on the same day together. I've been very impressed by past recipes from the Daring Bakers and was in awe of their talents. Well I decided maybe I should give it a go and try learning something new and a little out of my comfort zone, so I signed myself up.

When I heard that it was to be French Bread, I felt relieved thinking bread can't be too complicated can it? As soon as I looked at all 17 pages of the recipe I felt nauseous. I read the equipment list and almost cried cos I had very little of it, ingredients were fine though, nothing too complicated there. I asked around people at church for equipment to borrow and gave up on finding things like canvas pastry cloths, thermometers, and cardboard/plywood, so I decided to be creative and use things from around the house like stiff teatowels with books, candles and rolling pins as supports.

Anyways I'm so glad I tried making this in the end because it wasn't as complicated as I first thought, but takes a fair chunk of time to make. they turned out fantastically well and the smell in my kitchen after it all was incredible! If you ever get the chance have a go at making this.

Daring Bakers - Julia Child's French Bread

Makes 3 - baguettes (24” x 2”) or batards (16” x 3”)
or 6 – short loaves, ficelles, 12 – 16” x 2”
or 3 – round loaves, boules, 7 – 8” in diameter
 12 – round or oval rolls, petits pains
1 – large round or oval loaf, pain de menage or miche; pain boulot


1 cake (0.6 ounce) (20grams) fresh yeast or 1 package dry active yeast
1/3 cup (75ml) warm water, not over 100 degrees F/38C in a glass measure
3 1/2 cup (about 1 lb) (490 gr) all purpose flour, measured by scooping
dry measure cups into flour and sweeping off excess
2 1/4 tsp (12 gr) salt
1 1/4 cups (280 - 300ml) tepid water @ 70 – 74 degrees/21 - 23C

The full 16 page recipe can be found here. This is a very very VERY abbreviated version.

1. Make the dough
2. Knead the dough
3. Leave to rise for 3-5 hours
4. Deflate and leave to rise for 1.5 - 2 hours
5. Split the dough into the amount of loaves you are making and rest for 5 minutes
6. Shape the dough
7. Leave to rise for 1.5 - 2.5 hours
8. Move the dough onto a baking sheet and cut slashes in the top of the bread
9. Bake for 25 mins at 450˚F/230˚C
10. Leave to cool 2-3 hours

This recipe took me 10 hours (not counting cooling time - I went to bed soon after I finished), but it was well worth it.

Thank you to Breadchick Mary at The Sour Dough and Sara from I Like to Cook for this month's challenge!

Have a look at the results of everyone else's bread at The Daring Baker's Blogroll

I'm excited to see the next challenge now.


  1. Wow Ruth - they look beautiful! I can almost smell the fresh bread baking! mmm! ;-)

  2. Those french sticks look wonderful Ruthe. I bet you could smell the fresh bread aroma all over your house. Great post. :-)

  3. Oh Ruth you have made a beautiful job of those French sticks. They look perfect and does bread smell so lovely when it's baking!

    Rosie x

  4. Wow Ruth those french bread sticks look fabulous, great job :-)

  5. Hi Ruth! Those French Breads look deelicious! You did great job on could send a couple of those to me too!:)

  6. Ruth all I can say is WOW, you done well. Your french bread turned out lovely and I bet the smell was heavenly.


  7. Hey Deborah, I'll have to make them again and waft the smell your way!

    Thank you Maryann.

    Hi Jeena, the house smelt incredible for the next day or so... I was scared to open windows or doors and let it escape!

    Thank you Rosie. They not only look perfect but tasted it too.

    Hi Dell, thank you! It was well worth the hard work.

    Hey Priscilla, i'll have to start making a package for you!

    Thank you Maria, they sure did smell heavenly.

  8. congrats on your 1st challenge! looks like it was a big success!

  9. Terrific job! Great bread! Glad you got creative with things you had in order to complete your recipe, that is the Daring Baker in you! Welcome!

  10. Well done! Have fun at the blog awards.

  11. Hey Jaime, thanks, it turned out real good!

    Hey Gretchen, welcome to my blog! I definitely had to get creative, but that makes it more fun!

    Thank you Tracy, we'll have a great time!

  12. OOh, I am loving seeing everyone's great work--your bread looks just fantastic. I can't believe how well everyones loaves came out--so professional!

  13. Thank you Cakespy! The Daring Bakers are some truly talented people!

  14. Your loaves look beautiful. Welcome to the Daring Bakers, I hope you enjoy the ride. I definitely have!

  15. Congratulations on your first DB success - here's to many more!

  16. Ruth you did a great job on your French bread. OH and you never have to buy equipment for a DB Challenge, if you don't have something in the recipe, improvising is allowed.

    Glad you enjoyed the challenge.

    Thanks for baking with Sara and I

  17. Your bread looks wonderful Ruth! Congrats on your first Daring Baker challenge...all 10 hours of it. Worth it for the smell of the baked bread, right? Glad you are a Daring Baker!

  18. Hi Ruth, Well done with your challenge, looks great!

  19. Hey Jenny, I'm enjoying it so far. It's been rather fun!

    Hi Lunch Buckets. Indeed, here's to many more.

    Hi Breadchick, it was real fun, thanks for the challenge.

    Hi Elle, the smell is so worth all the work!

    Hey Pixie! Thank you!

  20. Your French bread is really nice looking, and I love your abbreviated directions. I've been trying to shorten the recipe, but it hasn't been easy.

  21. Thank you Molly, and yes it's good to have the abbreviated version, despite the fact the details are important!

  22. Nice-looking loaves!

    And thanks for including Blog Party in your events list.

  23. Hi Stephanie! And you're very welcome, just glad to include you.


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