Post #453 A Bready Julia Child-y Sorta Day

February 10, 2016 at 12:05 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #453 A Bready Julia Child-y Sorta Day

If any of you follow or liked or “friended” me on Facebook (and you’re welcome to do all that if you like, but if you decide to friend me, let me know where we know each other from) you’ll know that yesterday I spent the morning making bread.  I didn’t want the sandwich rolls I normally bake.  And the English Muffin Bread wasn’t exactly what I was after, either.  So I decided to make Julia Child’s Basic White Bread recipe.  It’s easy enough, although the stand mixer gets quite a workout.  And I posted on FB the finished result, two perfect loaves of white bread suitable for sandwiches, toast, or whatever else you wanted.


One loaf is already nearly gone.  It’s tasty.

I belong to several groups on FB.  Many of them are writers groups, but almost as many are food groups.  One was started recently by a FB friend and is called Food Interactive.  It’s a fun group of people who enjoy cooking, sharing, posting photos, laughing at themselves and each other, and sharing the ups and downs of life in their kitchens.  So I posted the picture there.

I got an immediate response.  Lots of likes and many comments.  One comment from the group’s leader was “I want to see the inside!”

It’s a long held truism among bread bakers that you must let the bread cool completely.  All the steam has to be released of the bread will be gummy when you slice it.  If you slice it.  There’s something about the aroma of freshly baked bread that starts a shark style feeding frenzy among humans.  So I held off for a little while, making sure the bread was cooled, then sliced it so everyone could see the “crumb”.  The crumb is the white inside part of the bread and you want it to be tight so there’s an “al dente” quality to it, but you also want it to be airy so there are small pockets to catch whatever you’re spreading on the bread.  Here’s how this batch turned out:

Bread 1

While waiting, I was working on final edits for the blog book, and fielding banter with other members of the group.  One lady asked for the recipe.

That was kind of daunting.  In Julia’s cookbook, it’s two pages long.  It’s not broken into steps, either.  It’s two pages of text broken up with very little white space.  It’s necessary to read the entire recipe to get a sense of what’s happening.  Then read each of the sections to know what you’re trying to accomplish next.  So I promised the lady I would scan the pages and post them to the group today since I was working yesterday.

One enterprising member of the group went to the internet and found something and posted it with the comment “Is this the recipe?”

Boom!  It was.  So now the group had the recipe and I didn’t have to scan or retype the detailed instructions.

Except I already had.

Bread Recipe 01

Bread Recipe 02

Trying to get a jump start on today.  So there we have it.  Julia’s White Bread recipe in two formats.  And it’s a tasty, easy loaf to make.  I’ve tried making just one loaf, but find it disappears too quickly.

Many people think there’s some mystique or magic to making bread but there really isn’t.  It’s mostly just a matter of having the right equipment, and having enough time because it does take time to make.  Most of the time is in the rising process.  Most good breads are risen twice.  This helps develop strong gluten strands to hold the shape of the bread, and it helps develop a richer flavor as the yeast develops and spread throughout the loaf.

I sometimes use a bread machine to get through the mixing stage and the first rising stage.  There are all kinds of short cuts and things, but I don’t use them too much (apart from the bread machine) because I think the quality and flavor suffer a little bit.  And I find that the bread machine tends to make a tougher loaf when I make the bread completely start to finish in it.

So, the two things to take away from this post are:  1) bread making is easy but a time hog (though you can do other things while it’s rising); and 2) check out Food Interactive on Facebook.  It’s a good group of people and lots of fun to hang out in.


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