>> Friday, February 29, 2008
I have had my eye on this group called The Daring Bakers for a while now. I first spotted them on another blog just before the holiday season was approaching. I knew because of all the baking I would be doing for Christmas there was no way I would be able to fit a baking challenge in for at least a couple of months. Well January rolled around and I finally got brave enough to do it, to become a Daring Baker. But since January was half over I would have to wait until February's challenge. No problem, I thought to myself. This would give me a bit more time to wonder if I would measure up to all the other amazing Daring Bakers and their beautiful creations. So, along comes February, and with it comes my first Daring Baker challenge. At this point I am very excited to get my first challenge but also a bit hesitant. After all, these are DARING Bakers!! So I opened up the email and there it is: Julia Child's French Bread recipe, all 16 pages of it. A 16 page recipe. My very first challenge. What have I gotten myself into here?
I do own a Julia Child's Cookbook. And let me tell you the recipes in that book are amazing. The crostatas, and the tortes, and the beignets, all amazing. Have I tackled any of these recipes yet? Well, not exactly although I do pull it off the shelf every now and then just to admire, in the hopes that one of these days I will dive right in.
I can remember watching Julia as a kid. The first cooking show I ever saw. She was kind of kooky with her slurred words I always had such a hard time understanding. I think I always chalked it up to too much wine. And boy could she do it all, souffle, flambe, even pick up a chicken she had dropped on the floor and continued on like nothing had happened. You gotta love Julia, she was a real hoot.
The rules of the DB's are pretty simple. Someone picks a recipe and we all follow it pretty much to a T (unless otherwise noted). And then at the end of the month we all post our finished products on our blogs to share with the world, or at least the blogosphere world.
Needless to say I put off making the bread, not only because I was a bit intimidated by the whole process, but also because you needed a good 10 hours from start to finish.
But finally a weekend rolled around where I could devote most of my day to baking bread. So I rolled up my sleeves and I did it. I measured and mixed and took temperatures and kneaded and rose and punched and rose some more, I shaped and I baked and I tried to turn my oven into a brick oven. I learned a lot along the way. But the most important thing I learned is to not take this whole DB thing so seriously. After all, I chose to become part of this amazing group of people because I enjoy baking, and hopefully along the way I would expand my baking horizons. There is no written test at the end, no critical judges (other than myself). Just a wonderful feeling of accomplishment for baking a recipe that I probably would have never tackled on my own and the best darn french bread I have ever tasted. I think Julia would have been proud. After all, all ya gotta do is pick the chicken up off the floor and keep on cooking. Thanks Julia, the original DB, for not taking yourself too seriously.
If you want to check out the other wonderful amazingly talented DB's you can find them here.
If you think you want to give this bread making thing a shot yourself you can find the recipe here.