Jodie and Julia and Ccelli and Bread

So last night at about 2am … Ccelli says “Have you thought about making a nice baguette”? I know how this conversation goes … thats Ccelli’s pillow talk. His wish list of treats he would like to eat. It’s one of the things I love about him. As Rich Quick says, “He’s the skinniest fat guy I know”.

But the truth is, I hadn’t thought about a French Baguette. Taking on any kind of French Food is a daunting task.

So I called on the master of making French Cuisine understandable, Julia Childs. She had this knack of making complicated dishes seem like you are making mac and cheese. I took to google to see what I could find about the art of French bread. By the time I knew it, it was 4am. The task seemed overwhelming, but I made the decision … tomorrow we will have baguettes!!!

The secret with French Bread is not the ingredients … there is only four: flour, salt, yeast, water.

The true measure of a great French bread is in prepping the dough and having the right oven.

You actually make a “starter dough” when making French bread:
French-Bread-2

now wait …

keep waiting …

still waiting …

3 hours later …

You add the remaining flour and knead it for about 10 mins (btw I HATE kneading but I refuse to use a bread machine so I have no choice but its a pain and Im looking for the proper way to do it.)
French-Bread-3
and we wait again …

still waiting …

and hour later …

The dough will have doubled in size:
French-Bread-4

Now we knead again and then cut it into 3 sections. Roll each section into what will be the actual baguette:
French-Bread-5

and we wait …

a half hour later …

meanwhile get the oven hot! 450 degrees hot … if you have baking stone put it in there to heat up as well.

The seemingly innocent baguettes are annoying me now but they are larger:
French-Bread-6

Finally time to go in to the oven. The oven must be at the right temperature. The bread will be put in the center rack. You also have to put a bowl of water in the bottom rack to create steam in the oven. After 15 mins take out the water bowl and continue to cook for about 10 mins more.

Now let me share my tragedy with you. Prior to making the bread I had baked a coffee cake for the boys. Im a total fire bug so it is pure habit that I automatically turn the stove off as soon as I pull something out of the oven. I said to myself 10 times “Don’t turn the stove off but put it up to 450 degrees”. So I was all set. Put my water bowl in the oven, then put the bread in, set the timer for 15 mins. Finally! We will have baguettes!!!

The buzzer rang and I opened the door to remove the water bowl and the water was not hot. I looked at the oven dial and it said off. I almost screamed! The bread had just been sitting in a warm oven. I was panic stricken. Almost 24 hours worth of work down the drain.

Luckily I was able to salvage it with some quick thinking. The result was worth it. 3 delicious loafs of pure French heaven. Julia Childs would have been proud if I would have used her recipe but like I said it seemed to hard. But seeing Ccelli’s face when he asked to take a loaf to the store was all I needed! Then hearing him say, “You know what would really be good? French Bread Pizza.”

Here was the finished product:
French-Bread-7

Here’s the recipe I used …
In all honesty though, I think next time I will try another one. This was good but it wasn’t perfect.

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