French Bread

Most people have heard of Julia Child, and most foodies think of her fondly. What I am most fond about her was her ability to make mistakes on camera, deal with it, and move on. Now a days the ol’ Food Network would never show someone dropping a piece of meat on the ground, picking it up, dusting it off and using it. The horror. I mean if I drop a $50 beef tenderloin on the floor at home, I am going to throw it out, right? Not.

I’m quite fed up with the Food Network and their on going quest to provide less and less actual cooking on the network. They seemed to be more concerned with making sure Rachel Ray has highlights in her hair and Giada’s boobs are peaking out at every possible moment. And the thing that irks me the most is that everything is “perfect, just perfect” to quote Ina Garten. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Barefoot Contessa, but really, how can every fricken thing she makes be perfect? I experiment in the kitchen a lot. Sometimes what I make turns out like crap. Now granted, they probably aren’t going to put the crap recipe on their show, but you can’t tell me her soup doesn’t need more seasoning every now and again?

So when this month’s recipe was chosen, I was happy to see Julia Child’s name attached. I knew it would be a long one, but one that would no doubt please, and it did just that. I am giving you the recipe, just a link. It’s a LONG one. But don’t let that scare you. If you just break it down step by step, you will have no problems making this bread. Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough) & Sara (I Like to Cook) were the co-hostesses for this month’s Daring Baker Challenge and what a lovely one it was.
This makes for a surprisingly flavorful bread, though it could have helped that I used fresh yeast.
Mine were made into one loaf and then several little mini batards to go with my beef barley soup.
If you’ve got the time, you should give this bread a go.
To see what the hundreds and hundreds of other Daring Bakers did, go here.
Bon Appetit!


  1. Simply beautiful. And I wholeheartedly agree. The screw ups are the posts I enjoy the most on blogs, because it makes me feel more human for all the mess-ups I have in my kitchen.

  2. They look perfect, just the way they should. I envy your slash action!

  3. Wow…I thought I did ALRIGHT on the challenge until I saw your bread. It really looks absolutely perfect. Definitely incentive to try it again and make it work!

  4. Here, here, Peabody! Right ON! I can’t deal with Giada’s boobs. Ever. As for keeping the cooking real and being honest about mistakes — that’s what I’m all about. It’s what’s fun about it even if it does really get me going sometimes. Your bread is spectacularly beautiful. The color, the interior. Beautiful.

  5. Perfect bread!! I’m starting to think mine didn’t turn out as well as I thought it did after seeing so many great loaves. I might have to give this a try again tomorrow!!

  6. beautiful! and i totally agree w/you about the FN… i can’t stand all the boob shots they seem to be getting lately!

  7. It’s a beautiful thing Peabody. Did I really expect anything else?!

  8. Your batards look really beautiful! I love their wonderful golden color and tempting crust! Very well done!



  9. Your bread looks perfect! (Couldn’t resist) and I’ll bet you didn’t even drop it on the floor. I agree, that was one of the treasures of Julia’ show…she just kept cooking and made cake rolls out of fallen souffle’.
    Your crust is particularly appealing. Where’s the butter?

  10. So gorgeous! I only hope with practice I can make bread that looks this awesome!! You rock!

  11. I can’t think of anything original to say because I am too busy having serious loaf envy! Your bread looks perfect and incredible!

  12. Your bread is bakery worthy! It is sooooooo good looking. The crust, the holes…wow. Good job!

  13. You’ve got some hardcore slashing skills there, Peabody! Beautiful!

  14. MMMMM-the bread looks divine! Im jealous, and am gonna try the recipe someday. I agree with you about Food Network- it’s like the Stepford Wives of cooking.

  15. Whoa! I’m shocked! You mean, not everything you make turns out perfectly? So far, everything I’ve seen has been gorgeous, including Julia’s bread. I’ll be having some of mine with black bean soup tonight.

  16. Your bread looks so good. It is perfectly golden brown.

  17. Your bread looks great! If you dropped it on the floor, I’d certainly still eat it!

  18. Amen re: Food Network…but we aren’t in their demographic, are we?

    Gorgeous photos, love the second one in particular.

  19. Your bread looks so perfect inside – look at those huge air pockets!

  20. Beautiful bread!!

  21. Peabody

  22. Perfect looking bread–you should be french. Oui, Oui.

  23. This looks great! I love the second picture with the airiness of the bread.

  24. Now why didn’t I think of that? Pairing it with beef barley soup is so perfect!!!

    But anyway, I totally sympathize with you on the deterioration of Food Network. I used to love watching it when there was actual cooking going on, but now I stick to PBS cooking shows like America’s Test Kitchen and Ming Tsai’s show. Hmmm, I wonder whether Jacques Pepin’s show is still on…

  25. I agree whole heartedly with you about the Food Network, but I’m afraid that you loaves look perfect, just perfect. Really well done!

  26. Your bread looks wonderful. I love how well your slashing effect on top turned out. It looks lovely and crusty.

  27. that crust looks simply to die for. Wow! Well done!

  28. ooo! you pictures are lovely as always, great looking bread, lovely colour :)

  29. Hear, hear — I agree 100% about the Food Network. The best cooking shows on television have always been on public television stations, and still are. There’s always more to cooking than just food, and if you listen to Julia’s old shows, or to Lidia Bastianich or Jacques Pepin, you learn about context and culture and the why and how of food. That’s what helps you become a good cook, or a better baker.

  30. I have to agree with you about the Food Network. I’ve taken to just going online and printing off the recipes that look interesting rather than suffer through some of the programming. I do enjoy Iron Chef however. I also agree with Lydia – the older shows are much more informative.
    By the way, great gorgeous beautiful pictures of the bread!!

  31. I find myself watching less and less FN, too. Sad, really.

    Your bread looks beautiful, Peabody! So nicely shaped!

  32. My mouth is filling up with saliva. This is gorgeous bread I wish I could reach through my screen and grab some!

  33. rockstarpup says:

    looks really tasty! I’m reading Julie and Julia right now, so the Julia Child recipe made me smile.

  34. If I didn’t know you so well, I’d swear you bought those at a bakery! :-) Beautiful, just beautiful.

  35. wow! Your bread came out beautiful! Nice job!

  36. so lovely and so desireable! my eyes are drooloing with amaze!

  37. Your bread is absolutely beautiful! I’m so jealous. I also have to tell you that your blog was the catalyst that started my food blog obsession. I hope you are happy with yourself, my productivity at work has dropped drastically all because of you! :)

  38. I love the little blisters I can see in the crust, it must have been so very crunchy, perfect.

  39. Your photos of your bread are absolutely beautiful! Your such a talented lady anyways and I always am printing some recipe that you have posted because they look delicious! I know your bread tasted just as perfect as it looks. . .Great job!

  40. We’ve come to expect nothing less than perfection from you, but somehow you’ve gone even further!

  41. Your bread looks wonderful (thought I better not say perfect :) ha ha). Well done.

  42. As always your bread looks wonderful. Your pictures truly are inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

  43. Peabody, your bread is just stunning!! I would really like to bite into that golden crispy beautiful crust. May I? :)

  44. Straight out of the books – your batards are absolutely picture perfect! The texture inside looks wonderfully airy and I can only imagine the delicious taste!

  45. Wow your breads look absolutely gorgeous, really!! Some bakers here in France could learn from you! Great job!

  46. I am even more disappointed by the number of actual chefs who have been let go. God forbid we learn how to cook from people who make their living doing it – personally, Mario doesn’t need cleavage or perfect hair to get me excited about what he’s making. Or he didn’t. He’s gone too now. *sigh*

    Anyway, your bread looks amazing. Look at those air pockets!!

  47. Your bread turned out amazingly beautiful. Way to go!

    I don’t watch the food network. I just get my food instruction from tuning in to my favorite bloggers, you being at the head of the list.

  48. Beautiful! Your loaves look like the ones I picked up at Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square in College – the loaves I tore off pieces and dipped in cream of broccoli soup. mmmm – YUM!

    I hear ya about Food Network. I think that’s why i love Paula Dean so, she cracks on herself and her cooking all the time. You know she’s gotta be a trip to hang with.

  49. That crust! The lovely little ridge that would crackle and crunch as I ate it. Your bread looks amazing and you know that Julia would be so happy to see it. Great pictures!

  50. Great Bread, Great pics, Great Writeup – Peabody, you never fail to impress….

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