Daring Bakers – French Bread

Hooray, the hostesses of this month’s Daring Baker Challenge – Mary from The Sour Dough and Sara from I like to cook – have chosen a bread recipe for the challenge. A detailed and long French Bread recipe of Julia Child. Some of the DB buddies were scared of this mammoth text. Not me, on the contrary it boosted me up! ;-)

This is my first challenge without any difficulties. No separated butter or weepy pie, so I can’t tell you an amusing story. ;-) Okay one thing, the slashing always causes nightmares and I tried to form a batard without success. So I did go for the baguettes, of course „free from“ as requested.

Daring Bakers - French Bread

Below you find the „short“ version of the recipe with my variations in parenthesis . The original recipe can be found on Mary’s Blog. Thank you Mary and Sara for this great challenge. We love the bread, and I will definitively do it again.

Pain Français – French Bread
makes 3 baguettes

Daring Bakers - French Bread

20 g fresh yeast or 1 package dry active yeast (fresh yeast)
75 ml warm water, not over 100 degrees F/38C (75 g)
490 g all purpose flour (500 g)
12 g salt
280 – 300 ml Tepid water @ 70 – 74 degrees/21 – 23C (250 g)

Stir the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water and let liquefy completely while measuring flour into mixing bowl. When yeast has liquefied, pour it into the flour along with the salt and the rest of the water.

Mix the dough on a low speed (Bosch MUM 8 speed 1.5 for 4 minutes) until all the bits of flour and loose chunks of dough have formed a solid dough ball.

Daring Bakers - French Bread
I love my mixer. ;-)

Dough will be soft and sticky. Let the dough rest for 2 – 3 minutes.

Knead the dough for 7 minutes (Bosch MUM 8 speed 2).

Let dough rest for 3 – 4 minutes. Knead by hand for a minute. The surface should now look smooth; the dough will be less sticky but will still remain soft. It is now ready for its first rise.

First Rising – pointage premier temps 3-5 hours at around 70 degrees – (I let it rise 3 hours)

Deflating and Second Rising – rupture; pointage deuxieme temps 1 1/2 to 2 hours at around 70 degrees (I let it rise for 1 1/2 hours)
Flatten the dough firmly but not too roughly into a circle, deflating any gas bubbles by pinching them.

Daring Bakers - French Bread
Dough with a HUGE bubble!

Lift a corner of the near side and flip it down on the far side. Do the same with the left side, then the right side. Finally, lift the near side and tuck it just under the edge of the far side. The mass of dough will look like a rounded cushion.

Slip the sides of your hands under the dough and return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise again, this time to not quite triple.

Cutting and resting dough before forming loaves Loosen dough all around inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

Divide the dough into: 3 equal pieces for long loaves (baguettes or batards)

Daring Bakers - French Bread

Cover loosely with a sheet of plastic and let rest for 5 minutes before forming.

Forming the loaves – la tourne; la mise en forme des patons
Place the shaped pieces of dough, sealed side up, at the flour rubbed canvas. After all the pieces of dough are in place, brace the two sides of the canvas with long rolling pins, baking sheets or books, if the dough seems very soft and wants to spread out. Cover the dough loosely with flour rubbed dish towel or canvas, and a sheet of plastic.

Final Rise – l’appret – 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours at around 70 degrees (I let it rise for 2 hours)

Daring Bakers - French Bread
Baguettes after 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 C about 30 minutes before estimated baking time. Unmold and slash the bread and bake for 25 minutes.

Daring Bakers - French Bread
That’s how it looks inside. Just perfect!

Merci Julia!

More entries and recipes in English.

Daring Bakers
Visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see more French Bread.

November 2007 Challenge – Tender Potatoe Bread
December 2007 Challenge – Yule Log
January 2008 Challenge – Lemon Meringue Pie


59 Gedanken zu „Daring Bakers – French Bread

  1. Well, one would never know that slashing was a nightmare for you (for me too) by the photos. Those loaves look perfect — crusty outside and light inside.

  2. You did a wonderful job on your bread. I so glad that you didn’t have any challenges with this recipe, it’s so nice to have some turn out like they are meant to turn out. Great pictures!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  3. Great going Zorra, they look perfect!! And the instructions didn’t intimidate you….woww…I was almost gonna faint when I read it for the first time :D

  4. Einfach perfekt! Im Gegensatz zu mir hast Du das Slashing doch sehr gut hingekriegt (ich fand es bei diesem Teig noch schwieriger als sonst). Irgendwie ist die Krume bei mir auch immer kleiner strukturiert – was meinst Du, haette ich den Teig laenger gehen lassen muessen oder haette er noch feuchter sein sollen? Die grossen Loecher am Rand kommen bei mir wohl eher davon, dass ich die Naht nicht genug festgedrueckt hab, kam bisschen Mehl dazwischen.

  5. Dear Zorra, I love your beautiful step-by-step, taking us through the laboriously loving process that is baking bread :)

    And I must agree with you that your French bread came out just perfect!

  6. Zorra,

    I am so glad you enjoyed the challenge. When Sara and I picked it, I mentioned to her that you, Ulrike both would be quite thrilled to have a challenge that would be fun but didn’t involve overly sweet things ;-)

    Thanks so much for baking with Sara and I!

  7. Hi Zorra…I was one of the ’scared ‚ ones…add panicky to that with yeastophobia thrown in!! Your loaves are beautiful…& am SO GLAD you’ve enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenge too, but maybe after they were done!! LOVE the enthusiasm & the pictures…Cheers (BTW, have done something for IWD; will hopefully post it ina day or 2) Deeba

  8. hui.. hier ist ja richt was los gewesen :-) ich hab mir bei andern blogs die anderen french breads angeschaut und deines gefällt mir am besten. super gemacht :-)

  9. I think your slashing looks great! What a success to have this be your first DB challenge that went perfectly – that takes some skill (and some good yeast!).

  10. They look just *perfect*!! I love the open crumb shown in the last picture. I think the baguettes turned out superb!!!! Very nicely done!

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