Bread and Baking — By Ben on 29 February 2008
Why Go Through the Trouble When You Can Buy It?

Because it is fun, because it is challenging and because you can always learn something new, even if you swear not to ever make it again.

That was the debate I had for this month’s DB’s challenge. I have been baking my own whole wheat bread for a couple of months now, but I use a very simple, no-knead, rise-only-twice method that has worked perfectly for me. And this month’s challenge was Julia Child’s French Bread (I didn’t know who she was until this month, please don’t kill me)

That’s why the 300-page long recipe I saw on the DB’s blog for French Bread scared me. I am a very visual person so after Mary and Sara’s first note (the first one of 30,000) I was completely lost. But I had to try it! Yes, I am a Daring Baker and I couldn’t just let this challenge go. So I enrolled the help of my friend Fabrice, a Frenchman living in the US, and went to work.

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That Sunday I woke up at 7:00 am to start the dough (the first rise lasts about 4 hours) Fabrice got here later that day, and some other friends joined, too. It was a party, the party of the French bread. But something went wrong in the process and the bread that should’ve looked puffy, inviting and edible ended up looking like this:

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What went wrong? Can you see where the problem is?

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Yes, I used the freaking wrong flour! I didn’t know there was unbleached WHITE whole wheat flour. Honest mistake. After that I was discouraged, tired and swore not to make that freaking bread again. But Lisa slapped me around the head. You still have 4 days, she said, put your DB’s apron on and conquered the bread. And that’s what I did, or tried to do.

Next Tuesday I got up at 6:30 to start my dough and many, many hours later this is what I got:

I am not sure if that is how it was supposed to look. But at least it was tasty and the whole house smelled like bread that day. Will I make this bread again? Maybe, but next time I won’t have to read the 10,000-page long recipe, I now know the basics of it and I will change it and adapt it to my way of doing things (simpler and easier). I am happy I conquered (or half-conquered at least) my second DB challenge. What is it in store for us next? We shall see, we shall see.

Get the recipe for French bread here

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(22) Readers Comments

  1. Your bread looks great, the color is lovely. Thanks for baking with us this month.

  2. ahahahahaaaaa! Thanks for that. :P

    Your 2nd bread does look delish.. love the color of it and it turned out much more poofier than mine did. Did Fabrice get to try the 2nd attempt?

    Way to go, sweets!

    xoxo

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