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Julia Child’s French Bread: the Ultimate in Daring


And you thought the Yule Log was a challenge. Sure, Dellie and I found ourselves cleaning the kitchenaid every five minutes, rolling a delicate cake around itself, and spreading intense buttercream frosting to look like bark — but judging by this month’s challenge, the yule log was a mere warm-up.


Julia Child’s French bread is a classic recipe, written in Julia’s whimsical yet meticulous style, that purports to produce the most perfect, flavorful French bread around. Indeed, having tasted my scrumptious loaves, I know I never need to buy a baguette again. Unless I don’t happen to have 12 HOURS ON MY HANDS to make my own. Yep, you heard it here first — I woke up at 7:30 to start the dough, and my loaves didn’t emerge from the oven until after 8pm. Now I know some really talented folks finished their bread in a shorter time, but what can I say? I’m a flippin’ turtle.


Now look here: 12 hours is no five minutes. But Julia deserves 12 hours with each of us, wouldn’t you say? And now that I’ve undergone trial by baguette fire, I feel well-equipped to make the best freakin’ loaf of French bread that’s ever passed my lips. On the daring bakers blog, I told other DBers that Julia’s recipe produces a better product than Pain Polaine, the world-renowned Parisian boulangerie. I meant it: this bread has a crustier exterior, more bubble-filled innards, and an more complex overall flavor than any of the (delicious) baguettes, batards, boules, and ficelles I had in Paris.


I should mention that her recipe produces a loaf that, to me, was delightfully salty; D found it a bit too much so. Feel free to adjust the salt to your taste. Any which way, Julia’s French bread recipe is a force to be reckoned with, an institution in French baking with good reason. If you happen to have 12 hours on your hands, Julia and I both would consider making this recipe to be time well spent.


Now let me warn you: this recipe is NOT short. It’s so long that I’m afraid it’ll break this lil’ blog, so instead of posting it here, I’m linking to Mary’s blog, where you can find the whole megillah. Cool?


Just a couple more photos, because I can’t resist:



Happy Friday, and Happy (daring) baking!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Elle February 29, 2008,

    That looks fantastic! Great job! i can almost taste it…

  • Katie B. February 29, 2008,

    Your loaves look amazing!! Great job!!! (Great photos, too – I want to reach through and grab a slice!!)

  • Sara February 29, 2008,

    Your loaves look amazing! Don’t worry, mine took all day too (and they aren’t quite as beautiful as yours, either!). It was so exhausting but SO delicious! I’m posting later tonight.

  • Michelle February 29, 2008,

    All of these bread posts are making me wish I had 12 hours to hang around the house tomorrow and make some bread!

    Drool-worthy photos!

  • Ulrike aka ostwestwind March 1, 2008,

    Your loaves look great, I can smell and taste it!

  • Lucy V March 1, 2008,

    Excellent looking bread!

  • breadchick March 1, 2008,

    And what a compliment to Julia and the recipe! Your pain looks perfect and fantastic. I too adjust the salt when I bake them.

    Thanks so much for baking with Sara and I!

  • Jenny March 1, 2008,

    I also found it a bit salty, but I always make the recipe as written the first time. I wonder how much to cut back on it, because doesn’t the yeast need it? Hmm.

  • peabody March 2, 2008,

    You made yourself some gorgeous looking bread!

  • mmmmhhmhmmhmh !! yumm yumm yumm !!!!
    Your bread looks great ! congratulations 🙂

  • Deborah March 2, 2008,

    Your bread is absolutely gorgeous!