daring bakers feb 2008: julia child’s french bread


I was excited to see that this month’s Daring Baker hosts, Mary and Sara, chose Julia Child’s french bread recipe. I’d heard of this recipe before and wanted to try it, but I didn’t want to buy the book it’s in, so this worked out great for me. The recipe is really long, and it sounds like that intimidated a few Daring Bakers. However, much of that length is because Julia’s writing style is so personal and friendly, and she gives a lot of detail. I really enjoyed making my way through her recipe. This is a quote I particularly liked, which also sums up my philosophy toward homemade bread: “It will turn into bread in the oven whatever happens, but you will have an easier time and a better loaf if you aim for ideal conditions.” Homemade bread is good even if you screw it up.


While I’m not a bread novice, I picked up a few tips from this recipe. One is to let the dough rise seam-side up and then flip it over before baking. This way the dough on top in the oven has no hardened crust that might impede the oven-rise. I also like the idea of using water to estimate what level the dough should rise to in its bowl.

All in all, this was great bread (although most of it is still in my overly stocked freezer). I have some other French bread recipes that I like at least as much, that have the added advantage of providing the baker with some more freedom in the timing. Probably the biggest difficulty of this recipe is finding the time to do it all in one day.


I made myself a tasty little sandwich with one of my mini-loaves, and now I’m trying to think of a great accompaniment to the baguette. I hear Julia Child’s coq au vin is amazing, and I do have the cookbook with that recipe. Although I hear that recipe is quite a project as well!

You can find the whole recipe here, and be sure to check out the rest of the Daring Bakers‘ bread!



  1. rossdibi says:

    HI, I’m one of the intimidated and with flu Daring Baker.
    Brava! A very good looking bread and I can image the taste and parfume from here in Rome.

  2. Your bread looks wonderful! I also liked the tip about marking the rising point on the bowl. Congratulations on a successful challenge.

  3. Yours look fab! Hi, right back at ‘cha!

  4. Looks yummy!

  5. Hey your bread looks wonderful! What fun this is! 🙂

  6. I love that quotation too – Julia is so practical!

    I have a loaf in my freezer, and we should compare notes when we decide on the perfect food to serve with our bread.

  7. well it looks perfect ! well done !!!!!
    I wished I succeded as you did 🙂 congratulations

  8. Such a lovely bread you had baked, I salute you!

  9. Wonderful job!! It’s always good when a recipe teaches us something – whether and expert or amateur, and that is what the Daring Bakers are all about!!

  10. It was great to hear some of the things you learned through this process. It is a reality that there is a lot to learn by completing these recipes. I like the things you have here on your site. Great job!

  11. I’m one of the few people on this planet not familiar with Julia (those europeans y’know ;-P) but like you I loved her remarks on this recipe.
    Great breads!

  12. That’s an impressive haul of dough you’ve got there! Great looking bread.

  13. Wonderful bread and love the way the bread formed “Hi” at the end of your post

    Thanks so much for baking with Sara and I

  14. great job on the challenge! i didn’t notice at first your last image was forming anything…until i saw your “heehee” underneath it! 😀

    both your crust and crumb look amazing!

  15. What a great variety of bread shapes you made. Job well done.

  16. Fantastic! Love the pictures.

  17. Beautiful looking loaves! I like the quote you choose to, bread IS good, but if you’re going to make the effort you might as well try to make it as good as you can… Great job!