Daring Baker’s Challenge: Julia Child’s French Bread


Some readers might remember my super wonderful Xmas gift which freed me from the confines of a toaster oven. Well, since then I’ve not only been making muffins by more than the 1/2 dozen, I’ve finally done what I’ve been meaning to do for ages and that’s to join the Daring Bakers.

Having to wait out those fantastic looking meringue pies from last month, I was delighted at this month’s announcement: Classic, Julia Child French Bread.

Nothing fancy, no additions. I honestly just wanted to bake it and bask in it’s golden crisp glory. Basic and beautiful like newborn babies, Natalie Portman without make-up or the last of a summer’s day when the sun sinks into a lake in the Northhumberland Highlands. Four simple ingredients which together, have nourished billions. Yeasty, chewy and crisp, with a crust that can leave a scar if not treated with the respect it deserves.

I’ve made bread before, but this being my first go at a Daring Baker’s challenge, I certainly took it very seriously. I in no way wanted to botch or bastardize the instructions handed down by The Julia Child, and it was so worth it.
I mixed and waited and timed and pinched. I stretched, weighed down, flipped and scored, but most of all, I took my time, the bread’s time and it was so, so worth it.

Sometimes simple is perfect.

You can get the detailed instructions from one of this month’s leaders, i like to cook.

Really, go bake some now….

HHDH: It’s Cheeseless Pizza


Who doesn’t like pizza? I am yet to meet a single soul who would turn down a slice….
Except when it was going to be me with the notion of no cheese.

I was always of the mindset that pizza had but one basic construction – a crust (perfect blend of thin and chewy ), sauce (very important) and cheese. – Everything on top of that is really up to an individuals discretion and craving.

That was until I had a bite of my first “real European” pizza experience. Being 15 and at the height of my pizza connesseur training, I was in the south of France on exchange. My host mother would pack my lunches complete with a little Mom note, a chocolate and something often mysterious to try; there was infrequent PB&J in Provence. While out in the countryside, our group was left to remark on the construction of Romanesque Aqueducts. Removed from any civilization able to spare me of my brown bag filled with cold and cheeseless pizza with peppers and black olives (with pits!) Starving and only armed with my Orangina, I dug in and discovered a new, old, delicious world of pizza. From that moment, my eyes were opened, my pallet was cleansed and my nose had been lifted to new a pizza snob height never known before; and I was yet to arrive in Italy!

Flashing forward 15 some odd years, when trying to capture the best vegan version, I knew that one of those important and very expected elements – cheese, would be missing. Making up for the lack of gooey dairy was actually easy and created a more flavourful pizza than I’d usually eat. The secret of a good crust is always important and the hint for vegan pizza is just to pre-bake the crust a little longer to insure the crispness and then you’re free to go to town on virtually any topping you could imagine.

Pizza for breakfast? Check out 80 Breakfasts, who is hosting HHDH. I’m sure it will be quite the round-up.
Continue reading HHDH: It’s Cheeseless Pizza