3rd Daring Bakers Challenge – Julia Child’s French Bread

29 February, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Posted in » Daring Bakers, » Fresh Breads & Buns | 11 Comments
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It’s been sometime since I have baked any breads… and I had a strong feeling that this month challenge will be on breads and boy how right could I get ! I was stressed out when I saw this month’s DB Challenge recipe… it was like 11 – 12 pages long!!! Really can faint! I have to read it a few times, dig out all my bread books to research on the technics, and then think of how to do it before I can get myself started on it….

But thanks to our sweet hosts for this month, Breadchick Mary of The Sour Dough and Sara of I Like to Cook, I was able to have a go at this lovely Julia Child’s French Bread, which again I have never done before… Since young, I have been very fond of French Bread and never would I have thought of myself baking it until now…

The recipe is actually very simple, just Yeast, Water (warm & tepid), Salt and of course All-Purpose Flour. So how difficult can this be right? Just add all the ingredients together and mix lah…. if it’s really so simple, the recipe will not be so long and I would not have been so stressed… Yes, the ingredients are very basic… but the steps/technics are not…. I never known that making French Bread could be sooooo tedious!! And the waiting time for the dough to raise and to be totally cool down after baking is really long…. the total time stated from start to end for this recipe is 7 – 9 hours…

We are given the options to make the bread into several shapes and size shown below:breadshapes.jpg

I  have chosen to make mine into tire-bouchons for easy consumption and save the hassle of cutting the bread. It is required to make 1 loaf of plain bread without any toppings, as for the rest of the remaining loaves, I have added roasted white sesame seeds, shredded pasley, chopped garlic and powder cheddar cheese respectively on the top for different type of savoury flavours…

All is well until the first raise… it was suppose to raise up to about triple the original size… but after 3 hours plus, it’s still at it’s doubled size… so I just went ahead with the next step… the second raise & the final proving seems ok…

This is how it looks like after I took it out from the oven, it’s looks quite deciving from the outside…
french_bread_0007.jpg

but inside…. =( 
french_bread_0016.jpg

My bread crust turns out to be crispy…. but it’s too hard… and the inside is quite dense… unlike those I bought from those bread shops… =(

Nevertheless, hubby says the taste is not bad… but the crust too hard… For me, I think the yeast smell is too strong, dunno why…

Even though it did not turn out quite well for me, I would say this month is a very good challenge for me… all thanks to the hosts Breadchick Mary and Sara for coming up with such a wonderful recipe.

I would definitely try to make french bread again… but most likely not with this recipe… it’s too tedious. I will try using my other Bread Books for this.

You can read how the rest of my fellow Daring Bakers did here.

P.S. I’m not going to post the recipe for this month as it’s too long, however you can get the recipe here.

Milk Loaf

21 November, 2007 at 7:20 pm | Posted in » Fresh Breads & Buns, » Recipes | 2 Comments
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Have been down with dehydration these past few dayz and feeling kinda of restless after all the resting & medicines. Feeling better today, I make an attempt to make a Milk Loaf.

Milk Loaf 

Using the recipe I saw from Happy Home Baking and with the bread making technique from the book ‘Bread’ by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno, the outcome was wonderful!! The crust is crispy, the inside is nice, soft and fluffy. It has a very very nice aroma too !The book says to apply steam to the oven when baking breads so as to achieve a crisp, crusty exterior. There are 3 methods to do so: using a sprayer, using ice cubes or using ceramic tiles. I have neither the sprayer nor ceramic tiles, so I used the ice cubes method. To apply steam with ice cubes is very simple, just place a wide tray or dish filled with ice cubes on the bottom rack or the floor of the oven while the oven preheats, then place the loaf in the oven before all the ice cubes melts. When the ice cubes have all melted, carefully remove the tray or dish from the oven.

Before rising
Dough before rising…

After rising
Dough after rising… look at the doubled up size

Roll out
1st & 2nd Roll out…

Final proving
Final proving & into the oven !

Finally! Yeah!
Finally… Yummy !


Ingredients:

143g fresh milk (I used full milk)
35g egg
25g caster sugar
5g salt
250g bread flour
4g Instant yeast
38g butter (unsalted, if using salted then reduce the salt)

Method:

1. Place milk, egg, followed by caster sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast into the pan of the bread machine. Set to Dough function. Add in the butter after 8 ~ 10 mins into the kneading cycle. Continue to let the bread machine do the kneading. Stop the machine after the kneading cycle. Re-start the machine and let the dough knead for another 10mins before stopping the machine.

2. Remove dough from the bread pan, let it proof in room temperature in a mixing bowl, covered with cling wrap. Let proof for 60mins.

3. Remove dough and punch out the gas. Divide dough into 3 equal portion. Roll and shape into balls. Let the doughs rest and relax for 15 mins. (this ‘relaxing’ time is needed so that the dough will be easier to roll out and shaped).

4. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one dough and roll out into a longish shape. Roll up the dough swiss-roll style. Do the same for the two remaining doughs.

5. Flatten the rolled-up dough and roll out again into a long rectangular shape. Roll up tightly, and make as many rolls you can, swiss-roll style for the second time. Do the same for the two remaining doughs.

6. Place doughs in lightly greased bread tin/pan. Let the doughs proof for the second time, until it fills up 80% of the tin/pan. Cover with cling wrap.

7. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180 ~ 190 deg C for 30 to 35mins.

8. Unmould the bread immediately when removed from the oven. Let cool completely before slicing.

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