When Bread is Pain

… When it’s French bread! Translations aside though, French bread should be anything but a pain, seeing as it’s one of the most simple loaves you can make. Flour, water, salt, yeast- Nothing to veganize, even! At least that’s what I thought when first attempting this most basic bread back in January. Wouldn’t you know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Especially when you run out for a “quick” grocery shopping, get distracted, and don’t return for six hours? (Hmm, can you see a pattern here…?) Having already shaped and set the dough off on its final rise, there was nothing more to do but bake them off, although I didn’t exactly get two picture-perfect baguettes as I hoped for. Instead, my oven ultimately gave birth to…

Conjoined twins. The crust was a gorgeous golden brown, the crumb was airy and chewy, but alas, these loaves would make a French baker blush. After such an experience, you can understand why I couldn’t control my laughter upon the announcement of this month’s Daring Baker Challenge- You guessed it, French bread!

This time, with Julia Child’s recipe spanning 8 pages in it’s original print to guide me, I simply couldn’t fail. Going for the traditional baguette shape again to make up for my previous mutants, it was certainly nothing new or innovative, but exciting all the same. The hardest part of completing this challenge was getting home and scraping together enough time between book signings and events to complete it!

No muss, no fuss, just a few things I might work on for next time. As you can see, I was a bit shy when it came to slashing the dough, so they weren’t quite deep enough… And then, there’s that tiny little step that I completely forgot. I know, it was an unforgivable, egregious error I made, skipping straight over the final rise… But you know what? The bread was so delicious, I didn’t even realize my oversight until a week later when I was uploading the photos!

A dense crumb, you say? Why yes, that does happen when you don’t let the darned bread rise before baking! I can’t really complain though, as it made incredible toast for a good number of breakfasts nonetheless.

One of these days, I’ll complete a challenge with flying colors, flawlessly executing it and achieving the ideal results. …Just not this month, that’s for sure!