Monday, February 25, 2008

Bake it like a Polaroid picture, sugar

Julia, Julia, Julia.

Your recipe for French Bread managed to make even me look good!

As my first post for the Daring Bakers, I was scared to death when I learned the recipe. I would have to KNEAD? Twice? I would have to rely on humidity and warmth to make sure my bread rose? (My apartment is usually freezing).

Although it took an entire day to make the bread and I gained a new burn on my arm, the bread was delish. I might say that the frozen, reheated bread was even crispier on the outside and moist on the inside.

Boules were my choice, as those are my favorite at the local market. I had fun shaping the bread, and it was a lesson in patience to wit for the bread to rise and rise again. Watching the round ball shape into a neat, firm top and seeing the end result was a fun experiment.

My only complaint was that there were many extra things to buy (and as a grad student they weren't in my blog budget). I made a few exceptions that were adaptable--no quarry tiles or pizza stones for me (but Julia was all about ingenuity, right?). I took a cue from the no knead bread and used my cast iron as a preheated stone... it worked quite well. I didn't have a spritzer, (well, I did, but it has housed bleach). As a result, every once in a while I would open the door and flick water on the loaves with my hands. I tried slicing the top of the ready-to-bake bread with a knife as I didn't have a razor on hand, but it didn't work. Don't do that!

I added fresh herbs (rosemary & thyme) plus a little salt and pepper to one boule.

This is totally worth trying at least once, though I guarantee that I will be spending my time on no-knead from now on.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on a very successful first challenge! Your loaves look lovely!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Beautiful loaves! I have no yet tried adding fresh herbs to the top, but yours looks gorgeous! Congratulations on completing your first DB challenge! great job!

L Vanel said...

The bread looks like it tasted divine. Really beautiful.


Nicely done! It was my first challenge, too. Pretty intense, huh?

Jenny said...

Looks wonderful! How did you combat the cold kitchen? (Mine always is too, so I did the rising/proofing in my oven with the light on, and that worked great).

breadchick said...

Congrats on your first challenge.

Thanks for baking with Sara and I

Lunch Buckets said...

Beatifimous! Good work :)

lunettes said...

Jenny: I ended up heating my oven for a few minutes at 300 (not totally preheated) and then letting it cool for maybe two or three minutes before sticking the dough in. My oven is cheap and doesn't have a light.

The alternative was turning on the dryer and quickly sticking the dough in, but I decided against that. I like to keep my clothes and food separate as much as possible.

Deborah said...

The fresh herbs on top sound like a great idea. Wonderful job on your first challenge!