Friday, February 29, 2008

The Daring Bakers February Challenge - "Pain Français a la Julia Child"

Ficelle with loaves in the background
I am a big fan of Julia. I love her independence, her humor and her can-do spirit and I admire her efforts to educate people about the pleasures of good food. I even own both of the Mastering French Cooking volumes - First Editions, in fact, so I was very excited to see this challenge. This was also perfect for me because I'd been meaning to try french bread at home, after doing it on my culinary school classes last year - and just hadn't gotten around to it. I even have this fancy pan, which I talked my mom into buying me for Christmas last year - and I think I've used exactly twice (for shame!) For my loaves, I did a boule, a small oblong loaf, and two ficelles. I didn't add any flavorings - but I did see some loaves at the store the other day with some sea salt sprinkled on them - might be an idea for the future!
Ficelles
Sadly though, I did not have the best luck with my bread. Everything seemed to be going along swimmingly until I got to the third rise - when I went to slash my loaves for the oven, they deflated like sad little balloons. The ficelles fared a little better, but even they had a slightly tough crust and a slightly mealy crumb. I think somewhere along the line perhaps I let it overrise? Or in the proofing (third rise) I didn't cover it well enough? It seemed like it formed a gluten shell that was a little too thick. I do think I may have overworked the dough on my smaller loaves because they had that swirly look - but when I ate one last night (after they had cooled!) and again this morning for breakfast, they were delicious.
Julia's guide to bread shapes - drawn by her husband Paul
At least what I wound up with was tasty, and I do plan to work on my bread baking skills - I am hoping to take a bread class this fall in my culinary program (if they offer it at night.) In the meantime though, I think I'll let my local bakery (Bread and Cie) take care of this particular task for me - since they do such a much better job of it!

Cheers to another completed challenge!

pink_sil

35 comments:

  1. They certainly look very pretty! I think I left my second rise too long also as it rose to more than 3 times bigger. The round ones seemed to work the best for me, so I hope you'll give it another try and maybe try the rounds. They seem to have more room for error and growing and are the least tricky to shape. I might bump into you on the baking class if I manage to get on, its pretty difficult getting on those classes, if you have any special tips I'd love to hear them, it just seems like luck to me!

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  2. I think your bread looks very nice. I wish I had a local bakery nearby.

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  3. I think they look lovely too. But you know what counts is that you gave this a go. Nice job!

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  4. Your breads certainly look very good! I got one of those pans for Christmas...actually a baguette with three slots. Not sure I'm sold on it yet because it doesn't seem to crisp the bottom as much as I like, but they are certainly convenient.

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  5. Nice crumb on that bread. I used to have one of those pans. I wonder what happened to it? Anyway, nice work!

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  6. They look wonderful! Great job!

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  7. Your breads look wonderful! Plus as long as it tastes good, that's all that matters in the end!

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  8. I think you did an awesome job too. I love those pans you have.

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  9. These kind of loaves need some getting used to, shaping is a bit of a pain (pun inteded)all in all: lovely loaves.

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  10. I have that same pan.

    Thanks for participating with Sara and I this month

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  11. Very lovely loaves--good for you for completing this one :)

    j

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  12. The bread turned out great! It is not the easiest to do at home and you did a beautiful job!

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  13. As long as they taste good, that's what counts...right?
    ;-)

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  14. They look great! I need to get some of those pans!

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  15. congrats on a great job...your ficelles look lovely!

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  16. Did you cook them in those fancy baguette pans? I thought that wasn't allowed?

    Maybe I'm just jealous that I don't have those pans....

    They don't look too bad, they're harder than they look!

    You'll see, even I f'ed mine up a bit. I'll get the post up 'soon'.

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  17. Lovely job on your bread! I bet they tasted simply wonderful.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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  18. Lovely bread. The crumb looks really nice too!

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  19. You made lovely looking loaves. And certainly taste is the real test of bread. Bien fait.

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  20. I always see those pans and think about how great it would be to have one and how many baguettes I could make, but somewhere deep inside I know that those pans would not get nearly the workout they deserve...

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  21. so lovely! I was spinning wth such long long recipe! lol! you are a real daring baker! well done!

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  22. What a wonderful looking crust! I think it looks fantastic.

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  23. Sorry your bread deflated...taste is what counts!

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  24. Mine also deflated a little bit in the slashing process. Especially on the Epi shape that I made. Your bread looks very nice though!

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  25. I can't tell that they're deflated ... and the crumb certainly looks good!

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  26. Mmm, sea salt on top would be nice. Great job with this challenge... I want to go back and try more of the shapes myself.

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  27. That first photo is fantastic...want to just take a bite. I'd like to make this again and add mixed seeds to the crust toward the end. Still, the local bakery makes such good French Bread and it sure is easier to buy it. Hope they schedule a bread class that you can attend, although I suspect you don't really need one..your bread is lovely.

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  28. How they taste is the most important. Great job!

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  29. They deflated? I think they look just perfect! Nice job.

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  30. I think your bread looks just lovely!! Great job on the challenge.

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  31. I had the same results with mine: delicious, but deflated at the end.

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  32. Thanks everybody! I acidentally bought a JAR of yeast, when I already forgot that I had a JAR of yeast, so I now have TWO JARS of yeast sitting in my kitchen - using them up will be my perfect excuse to practice! Everyone else's looks great and thanks so much for stopping by!

    Looking forward to the next one!

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