February 29, 2008

French Bread - Daring Baker Challenge February 2008

This is the second episode of the Daring Bakers Callenge on this blog. This month’s hosts, Sara of I Like To Cook and Mary (Breadchick) of The Sour Dough, challenged us to bake Julia Child’s French Bread.
For me, this challenge was a bit like last month’s in that I had never heard of Julia Child (yes, there a few of us)! but I like French bread. So, I got the recipe and instructions and printed it out. A full 14 pages. I have to say that Sara and Mary put in a lot of time and effort to give us background information and helpful hints about baking French bread.
It felt like I was back at school, reading for my class and assignments! But after reading the whole thing twice, I started seeing a glimmer of what we were to do. I have been baking a bit of bread recently with quite good results. So I felt quite comfortable starting off. I decided to halve the quantities. I made the dough and it rose beautifully. Beyond this point, however, things refused to go right. The dough didn’t rise well the second or third time. I was left with rather flat bread which had a hard crust. The inside was soft and tasted good.
I had a little difficulty in coming to terms that this bread had got the better of me. So I decided to give the bread one more go. After all, that’s what makes us Daring Bakers (we are always ready for a baking challenge even if it doesn’t turn out quite the way it should).
I started in the morning last Saturday. The dough was ready for the first rise at 8.00 am. It took 3 ½ hours to rise threefold. By 12 noon the dough was ready for the second rise. This time it took 3 ½ hours to rise to required volume. Next I shaped the dough into a batard and a round loaf. (I should have got more bread out of the given measurements but looks like I went wrong with the measurements somewhere). After another 2 ½ hours, the loaves had risen reasonably and were ready for the oven. I slashed them and managed to get them into the oven without too much of a problem. Then the loaves sort of settled themselves out comfortably and refused to rise (as they should have done) while baking.




Verdict:
As you can see from my picture, my French bread baking wasn’t anywhere near a success. My loaves were flat and rather pale. I must have gone wrong somewhere. Well, you cannot win them all.
The bread itself didn’t require all that much time or effort except for the time it needed to rise. But after two unsuccessful attempts, I think I’ll be better off buying my French bread!
Do not be put off by the appearance of my loaves or my baking experience and do go visiting the other Daring Baker blogs to see their loaves. Most of them have made some great bread.


The complete recipe for this bread can be found here.

52 comments:

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Hi Aparna...you're being very hard on yourself. They look great to me...& it's the challenge undertaken with such good spirit that counts. Hat's off to you. If mine hadn't come out fine, I don't think I might have tried it again! Onto the next one then!! Cheers Deeba

Rachel said...

Aparna...You gave it a go a second time! That matters a lot!

KJ said...

Determination counts for a lot. I think you've done a great job.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

No matter what you say, your bread looks good! I wouldn't mind have a slice or two from one of your loaves...

Cheers,

Rosa

Srivalli said...

Aparna, that looks great to me...its good to see you taking it again to do...may the temperature or something wasn't correct that time..try next time you will surely succeed...you guys are rocking..its all going to be french bread...

Pixie said...

I think they look great and I'm amazed you tried it more than once!

Dhanggit said...

oh they turned out perfect!! great job for this month's challenge!!love the way the crust is done

Ann said...

Did it taste good? If so, that's all that counts. :-)

Meeta said...

The fact that you did this one twice shows how determined you were. A great go and do not be hard on yourself. I think they look good! What counts is that you tried!

Susan said...

I think you're being way too hard on yourself, these look great. And remember, most of us who enjoy baking bread have gone through a lot of "learning experiences" to get there.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your loaves. My first batch didn't brown very much, but my second batch browned nicely. Give it another try, because this bread has a fabulous flavor.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

arundati said...

they look good to me....and what spirit to have tried it twice!!

Molly Loves Paris said...

I think that your loaves look great. If you want more browning maybe just add a wee bit of sugar to the dough.

Dhivya said...

looks awesome

Rosie said...

Hi Aparna, your bread looks really great to me!!

You have so much determination to try it twice, I take my hat off to you!!

Rosie x

AnuSriram said...

No worries... :) Taking up the challenge is more important than winning... You have done a wonderful baking with all those instructions.. Your bread looks awesome... Bet it would have tasted good..

Suzana said...

Aparna, yeasted bread is a living thing. Honestly, don't be to harsh on yourself! Give it a secong go if you feel like it. I'm sure it will be just fine. ;)

Mansi Desai said...

it looks much better that you are imagining it to be:) and this was already a lengthy recipe, and to top it you did it twice!! awesome:)

Namratha said...

Wow Aparna, those loaves look perfect. Way to go on the perseverance dear :)

Jaime said...

i don't know what you're talking about, i think they look great!

Sagari said...

me too never tried baking bread aparna ,but your loafs have a perfect home made look

marias23 said...

Aparna, I'm impressed you tried it twice! I almost fainted after reading the 10-page recipe, haha! :)

Anyway, I agree with you buying French bread is easier and at least, you'll get a more consistent product. But if time is no issue, there's nothing like having fresh, home-baked bread, no?

Nags said...

it takes immense courage to even try. look at me, i dont even try :) way to go!! and i am sure u will get it if you try more..

L Vanel said...

I think your bread looks great!

Aamena said...

lovely bread aparna! and i also checked out the second last post, the kolam is so beautiful!

nuttybaker said...

Hi Aparna,
You are one determined baker. Happy to know that I am not the only person who had not heard of Ms Child untill 2000. Most of my initial forays into bread baking were by following recipe from UK based books or South African magazine.
Keeping on baking.

Jenny said...

How did they taste? They still look tasty to me. Nice job on your second challenge! One thing I've learned from going through so many of these challenges is that you might not do everything perfect, but trying is the thing. :)

breadchick said...

You had good Daring Baker stick to it! Glad you stuck with it and your bread looks pretty good

Thanks for baking with Sara and I

Molly Loves Paris said...

Well I think you have fine looking loaves of bread. But it is possible that maybe your oven isn't as hot as you think it is. And I have found that putting just a little sugar in something really makes a difference in how it browns. For example, crepes or pancakes. And bread can be the same.

Mindy said...

you know- as you said- perhaps you could try again- 3rd times the charm...I would really like to try again to- by some great cosmic accident, it mostly worked for me the second time round--but oh--that perfectly risen, air-pocketed French Bread dough is truly elusive...

Onto the next...

zorra said...

You are real DB!

Baking Soda said...

I think you've done a great job, going back to square one and do it all again is the right spirit! Kudos!

Deborah said...

I sometimes run into problems when I try to half recipes. I almost did on this because it is a lot of bread for just 2 of us, but I ended up going with the full recipe. I'm glad you gave it a great try (2 times) - you are definitely a Daring Baker!!

Bellini Valli said...

If you had fun baking the bread that is all that really counts. I'm sure it tasted wonderfully. I baked baguettes just so that I could eat one fresh from the oven. See you in the next challenge:D

kellypea said...

You are being way too hard on yourself. I believe your bread turned out quite nicely, and did rise in a manageable amount of time, which is GREAT! It tasted so good, didn't it? And you went at it again. You have my respect for doing that. What persistence!

Joy said...

Third time lucky?! I think you were a proper DBer to even try twice!

chou said...

If you do make it a third time, drop the second rise and skip to shaping; that may help. I second what everyone said--way to make it twice! :)

Hannah said...

You seriously don't think that this was a successful attempt?? Your loaves look wonderful to me- Don't be so hard on yourself! :)

bbaking said...

lovely bread, the slashes are brilliant!

Eva said...

I think, too, that you're one daring baker! And you can be really proud of your slashing - mine didn't work out at all which luckily got covered up with all that flour..;-)

Cakelaw said...

Hi Aparna, Your bread looks fine - the crust is supposed to be hard. Good on you for having the daring to do this twice - I couldn't have done it again!!

Miss Ifi said...

Your loaves look really good, you are just too hard on yourself. I am glad that you decided making it twice in order to improve.. you definitely are a DARING Baker! Congratulations on your bread. And thanks for visiting my blog, the bread is now posted.

SweetDesigns said...

awe, they don't look that bad at all. You gave it good Determination and thats what matters!! I think they look pretty good!! slice and butter me up a slice!

Divya Vikram said...

Hi Aparna..Great job..the bread looks delicious..
Look at my blog for a surprise..

DawnsRecipes said...

Great effort making the bread twice! I think your loaves are lovely, a far cry better than I've seen in some of the restaurants around here.

Brilynn said...

My loaves were pale too. Good for you for trying twice!

sunita said...

Aparna, the bread looks great to me...your trying twice, itself is an achievement...so cheer up...to dare is the main thing.

btw, just wanted to let you know that I have not received the mail you mentioned...I've even checked my spam folder.

Rina said...

Hymmmm!!! love this French Bread aparna!!! Thanx for sharing.

The Frosted Bake Shop said...

a crusty bread with a soft inside that tastes great. i would call that a success!

JennB said...

At least you tried, and it looks great. Bread isn't my thing, either, but it was nice to be challenged, really and truly. I hope India is warmer than Vermont, USA right now!

farida said...

I will love your bread:) It's ok if it doesn't turn well the first time. I am sure you'll do great the next time! Your blog is nice. I will come back! And hey, thanks for stopping by azcookbook.com!

Aparna said...

Thanks for for all your comments and encouragement. Maybe I have been seeing my bread differently.
But all this has made me decide that I will definitely give baking this bread one more go when I have the time to spare.