This is an older piece I did after the passing of Julia Child.

Since the recent passing of Julia Child there has been much discussion of her French bread recipe. Here is my first attempt.

Three loaves of bread

It's a direct method dough, but it uses long fermentation and proofing. It comes close to a preferment.

Bread starter rising

On the left is the just mixed dough. On the right is after the second rise. The blue line is where the first rise got to. The first rise was just over 3 hours. The second was about 2. As printed, the dough was 87% hydrated. I thought this a tad extreme, even for a baguette. I brought it down to 64%.

Three rolls of dough rising

Before and after a 2 1/2 hour proof.

Three rolls of dough on baking sheet

Flipped, scored and ready to bake. The dough was reasonable light and started to expand when cut.

Loaf of French bread cut in half

I think I may have pulled them a bit soon. They were nice and brown and light.

But the crust was not quite as crisp as I want it.

The crumb opened nicely, but I think next time I'm going to tweak the hydration back up a bit.