This months Daring Baker's Challenge was to make French Bread a la Julia Child. This month's challenge was hosted by Mary from Breadchick and Sara from I like To Cook. The recipe with instructions was 18 pages long, a bit intimidating and it takes all day to make. I wasn't sure if I would have the time this month to do the challenge but got it together last weekend. Of course every time I had to do something with the dough kids were complaining, or fighting or needing my attention in some way. But the bread got made despite all that.
The ingredient list is very simple: yeast, salt, flour and water. I decreased the salt by a little since a number of other bakers had commented that their bread had seemed quite salty. After mixing everything together I turned out on the board and realized the dough seemed very wet. Quick check of the recipe, I was 1/2 cup short on flour. So back into the bowl with an extra cup of flour. The dough still seemed a little wet but I was able to knead it, adding a bit more flour along the way.
Then back into the bowl for a three hour rise. A bit more kneading and then another rise. I ended up splitting the dough into three pieces and then formed them into batards. They actually looked really nice at this point and puffed up nicely. The hard part ended up being transferring the loaves to the cookie sheet for baking. They didn't look quite as nice after being moved but once in the oven, they baked up just fine.
The end result was delicious. I couldn't wait a full two hours for the bread to cool, we cut into it after about 1 hour. The crust was crispy and the inside was soft and still warm.
This was definitely fun to make and a nice challenge working with the dough. If I have a long day with no plans I just might try to make it again.