About a week ago, on one of my favorite food blogs, I came across a culinary challenge I couldn’t resist: a French bread recipe from Julia Child. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea, but once the idea was in my head, I couldn’t shake it. So with an overly optimistic heart and my beloved Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (I nicknamed her Big Red…yes, I’ve named my stand mixer), I pulled out the recipe and put on my apron.
It started out easy enough, especially since I gathered all of my ingredients together before tackling the instructions (this culinary practice is called mise en place). It also helped to have a stand mixer with 525 watts of power (now you see why I named her Big Red). I made it through to the first rise without any real issues and I was quite pleased with myself. The dough was fantastic looking and I had really taken my time to follow the instructions precisely. It was almost therapeutic. I even made it through the second rise without any big hiccups…but by this time, I had been working on the bread for almost 7 hours!
Now I am not the most patient of people, nor am I one to stand still for very long, so 7 hours is a HUGE commitment. This wasn’t a recipe, this was a relationship…and a needy one at that! But I was bound and determined to finish the recipe, especially since my dough still looked so very wonderful. I had actually developed a crush on it, so I wasn’t going to let it down! By the time I got to the forming of the dough, I chose to do two nice sized baguettes, but opted to skip the instructions to create a home bread oven. I happened to have a French bread pan, so I carefully placed my loaves into the pan and placed them in the oven. When the smell of fresh bread filled my small basement apartment, I realized all the work was worth it. The recipe explicitly says not to tear into the warm bread right out of the oven, but I couldn’t resist! Since I had two loaves, I figured I would be naughty with one of them and tear into it. As soon as I popped a piece into my mouth, I knew all the hours I placed into this bread were well spent. It was hands down one of the best loaves of bread I have ever tasted. Slathered with some wonderful, homemade butter from my CSA, I sat there in my kitchen savoring every little bit of this needy, needy little loaf.