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Friday, February 29, 2008

Labor of L♥ve - French Bread ~ 麵包初接觸

Third time is a charm. Batard from batch #3.

Getting better; loaves from batch #4.

I would have never thought that I would be capable of baking bread from scratch! NEVER! It is the most rewarding baking experience I had so far! The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming! Thanks to Sara and Mary , my fellow Daring Bakers, they have chosen this bread as the February challenge =)

I am pretty sure most of you are familiar with the breads you see here because it is nothing but the classic French bread! This got to be the most popular and widely available among all breads! Don’t you agree with me?! I always pick up a baguette for lunch at the bakery near school and I would have never thought one day I would bake it myself ~__~ This particular French bread, is a recipe from the legendary Julia Child. The recipe is so wordy (13 pages!) that I was so dumb found by it, I didn’t have the guts to visit it again until a week before the post time >.<

When I first found out this month’s challenge, I was quite disturbed. I don’t understand that something made up of yeast, water, flour, and salt would take up so much time to make! A total of 8 hours! How am I going to squeeze into my somewhat hectic work/school schedule?! Well, I did manage to squeeze in not 8 hours, not 16 hours, but more like 48 hours! Yes, as you can foresee, a novice baker like me would never get this right the first time! This is my third batch! I almost broke down in tears when I finally got them to look “right”! It is a plus to me that they also taste right, crusty and soft just like the one at the bakery but taste way better because I bake it! If you would like to see the recipe that got me so work up then click here.

French bread is good with a lot of things, cheeses, dips, wines, you name it! The choices are endless. Personally, I like to spread a thick layer of brie and eat that as a quick bite before dinner since dinner is always late at around 8:30pm. It is good for grill cheese panini too! For brunch and small gathering, I brush it with olive oil and grill it to make bruschetta(pronounced brus-ket-ta) . Though I can somewhat say I have accomplished my first bread making challenge, I would just head over to the bakery if I crave it next time because I can’t go through another emotion roller coaster ride!

For the French Bread recipe, click here.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
makes 2 cups

1 large vine tomato
2tbs coarsely chopped basil
1tsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
some freshly grounded black pepper

1 baguette
Some extra-virgin olive oil for brushing

Dice the tomato and coarsely chop the basil. Combine olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl then add the diced tomato and basil to the dressing and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Slice the baguette, on the bias, into 3/4-inch slices. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil and place them on the panini grill until golden brown (for oven - place bread on baking sheet and place in oven instead) for approximately 2 minutes. Remove to a platter, spoon the tomato mixture onto the slices, Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.


  1. French bread with Brie... That's perfect! The bruschetta idea is also a really good one. Your bread looks amazing!

  2. Wow! 48 hours of dedication shows! Your breads are gorgeous and I love that you paired it with brie and used some for bruschetta :)

  3. French bread with Brie and the bruchetta was fantastic You did a perfect job and I love that you wouldn't quit until you got it right

    Thanks so much for baking with Sara and I

  4. Your bread looks fantastic! I wish I'd had time for more than one try at the recipe. :) And with Brie, too, yum...

  5. Venus,

    >>..more like 48 hours..
    @@~, wow, I feel the pain and suffering too ;P

    Your teamleaders were so generous XD, they should have chosen "Ficelle" or "Pain de siegle" as Feb homework instead. Then, you'll have the real fun :P hahaha...

    Anyway, your creation looks and tastes (should be) very.....♥Yummy♥ as usual ;)


  6. I can't believe how many times you made the recipe - they are looking great! Thanks for the bruschetta recipe too.

  7. You are so amazing, only you can pull it off like this.
    Breath taking photos and very very beautifully made bread ! you're a pro!!!!!!

  8. Baguette!! I can't believe that you made bread. Didn't you just say, and not too long ago, that you weren't ready to "plunge into the world of bread yet." hahaha... :P

    But congrats! This look so delicious. It makes me want to go buy some for breakfast tomorrow~ ^^

  9. Oh my gosh, the picture with the brie looks so good!

  10. 啦~啦啦~♥
    原來仲有咁多配料揀添;} are w♥nderful<3
    cheese.i l♥ve you so much<33
    Bruschetta.really delici♥us<333

  11. Oh gosh, you really rock! I think we do share the same interest especially on those inspiring chef! I would love to keep in touch!

  12. Welcome to the breading baking club, Vi!

    For some evil reason, french bread always fail on me T_T

  13. Dear Venus,

    WOW! your first bread look so great! I've never made french bread and I stop to make bread for days....I really want to taste one piece of your bread for my tea time, of course with my loved coffee ^__^
    You did a great job! 頑張ってね!


  14. kudos for making the bread so many times!!!! You are one dedicated Daring Baker. :) The bread is gorgeous.

  15. Hi all my fellow Daring Bakers~

    Thanks you for all your heart warming kind notes♥

    This French bread making experience has broadened my horizon with bread making and made me appreciates bread more. I want to thank Sara and Mary again for giving me the opportunity to bake this with all of you! I can’t wait to see next month’s challenge~

  16. R~

    Yup, bread making takes real dedication & determination! If one lacks one of the characteristics, one will never taste the fruit of success. I am still in shock that I pulled this thru! I guess I underestimated myself =)

    Ficelle?! Pain de siegle?! I might have to pull the white flag if they appear on my challenge list next ~.~

  17. Verano~

    5555….I was not ready but I was being pushed out of the comfort zone!

    Buy some for breakfast?! You are so capable of making your own! You are the super talented domestic goddess of the Lee household and have the will to endure hours of labor (look at your 土司)!

  18. 寧`♥ ~

  19. Hi Big Boy^^

    I saw your post on the Kumquat Compote by Hidemi Sugino. I am glad to find another person who found this pastry chef inspiring~ He is definitely one of the finest in the world of pastry!

    Come often. I already make myself a regular at your place. I love your macar♥♥ns

  20. Mayu ちゃん~

    I don’t blame you for taking a break from bread making because it can be draining and exhausting ~.~

    Yes, you’re right. This bread goes well with sweet butter and a cup of coffee. Yummy!


  21. Your bread turned out gorgeous! Great job! I love the bruschetta, so fresh and fragrant!

  22. "super talented domestic goddess of the Lee household" hahah...
    That's because there are only Turbo, Mia, Mitzi and Mr.Lee to compare to.. ^^"

    Nooooooo.... I hate bread.
    After viewing your tantalizing post, I actually thought of making the bread featured in Martha Stewart's magazine. So, I took some deep breath and gathered enough courage to start the process by making the starter. The starter's supposed to rest for 12 yrs, so I let it sit there. At first I was counting the hours, but then I totally forgot about it until 3 days later. -_-"

    Hence, no homemade baguette.

  23. stephanie.silva84@gmail.com12/07/2010 6:10 PM

    hi, i would really like to try that french bread recipe, but the link doesnt work, how can i get to that recipe? thanks!

  24. Hello Stephanie,

    the link works now or you can copy and paste the link into your browser's address bar:


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