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Rewarding Patience

French BreadPatience is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties. (Wikipedia)

We find our patience is tested in times of waiting. How do we react? Do we become frustrated? Do we quit? Do we persevere? We may consider ourselves patient if we do face many challenges. Impatience has not had an opportunity to show itself.

This month, the Daring Bakers were tested in the area of patience. We had to endure waiting without becoming annoyed or upset. Why? Because we baked bread. And not just any bread, but a very long, detailed Julia Child recipe for French Bread.

The first time I baked this, I faced it curiously. How would it rise in the humid Lima summer? What shapes will be best? My day was spent cleaning the kitchen from floor to ceiling as the dough rose, slowly, but surely. I really enjoyed how the dough felt, how easily it came together (kneading by hand, mind you!) and how simple the process was going. I had it in my mind to make the batard, an epi and a few small rolls. The batard wound up as a baguette, which would not fit in my oven. The epi lost its definition on the last rise, I adored the shape when I cut it, but after puffing it lost its charm. The rolls were long and narrow, so I cut those in half and they would up short and thin, bite-sized rolls. The bread was delicious but I wasn’t satisfied.

I decided to bake the same recipe again, still in time for challenge day. But, I outsmarted it this time!! In making the dough, I prepared it with half the yeast so it would take about twice the time to rise. Twice the time? Who would want that? Well, me of course!! The dough rose through the night when both the temperature and humidity are low and took a total of 9 hours to triple in size. Just as I got back from exercising, it was ready to deflate and then rise again.

Instead of attempting anything long and rolled out this time, I wanted round loaves. I found the forming of these easier than any of the other shapes I had tried the first time. They were lovely round mounds of dough that rose to perfection. They were turned over, slashed and brushed with olive oil.

Out of all the breads I have baked, I think this may be my favorite. I plan to play with other versions including other flours (whole wheat, quinoa) and herb additions. This was a delectable version of French Bread. Thank you Julia Child. And thank you to Mary and Sara, the Daring Baker hosts for this month’s challenge.

Now, I must check my calendar to see when I will bake again since one loaf is already gone! Below is my shortened and personal version of the detailed and informative original recipe.

Pain Francais / French Bread

Source: From Mastering the Art of French Cooking


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (for overnight rising, reduce to 1 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup (75ml) warm water, not over 100F/38C in a glass measure
  • 3 1/2 cups (490 gr) flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (12 gr) salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (280 – 300ml) tepid water @ 70 – 74F/21 – 23C


  1. Stir the yeast into the 1/3 cup of warm water and allow to stand for about 5 minutes. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. When yeast has liquefied, pour it into the flour mixture and add the rest of the water. Stir the liquids into the flour with a wooden spoon, pressing firmly to form a dough and making sure that all the bits of flour and unmassed pieces are gathered in. Turn dough out onto lightly floured kneading surface, scraping bowl clean. Dough will be soft and sticky. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough becomes elastic when stretched and is smooth and shiny on the surface. Use the fold and quarter turn method until the dough can be “thrown down” and folded up. Form into a ball and brush the outside with a light dusting of flour.
  3. Place in a bucket with measuring lines that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and place in a location that will maintain a 70F temperature. Dough must rise to 10 1/2 cups which will take about 3–4 hours (or overnight). When fully risen, the dough will be humped into a slight dome, showing that the yeast is still active; it will be light and spongy when pressed. There will usually be some big bubbly blisters on the surface, and if you are using a glass bowl you will see bubbles through the glass.
  4. Carefully dislodge the dough from inside of the bucket and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, scraping bowl clean. If dough seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour. Lightly flour the palms of your hands and flatten the dough firmly but not too roughly into a circle, deflating any gas bubbles by pinching them. Fold the right side over almost to the left side; fold the bottom almost to the top; fold the left side almost to the right side and fold the top almost to the bottom.
  5. Return the dough to the bucket with measuring lines. Cover and let rise again until it almost triples in size, but again until it is dome shaped and light and spongy when touched.
  6. Loosen dough all around inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Because of its two long rises, the dough will have much more body. If it seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle lightly with flour. Pat into an oval and make a clean cut to divide the dough in half. Fold each piece of dough in half and cover loosely with a sheet of plastic and let rest for 5 minutes before forming.
  7. Working with one portion of dough at a time, leaving the other portion covered by plastic, fold the left side over almost to the right side. Fold the right side almost to the left side, then turn the dough a quarter turn clockwise and repeat the movement 8 – 10 times. Turn the dough over in your hands and begin rotating it between the palms of your hands, tucking a bit of the dough under the ball as you rotate it. In a dozen turns you should have a neatly shaped ball with a little pucker of dough, underneath where all the edges have joined together. Place the dough pucker side up on a lightly floured piece of wax paper; seal the pucker by pinching with your fingers. Flour lightly, cover loosely and let rise to almost triple its size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450F about 30 minutes before estimated baking time. After unmolding upside down on the baking sheet, slash with an X. Brush the surface of both loaves with olive oil, and slide the baking sheet onto rack in upper third of preheated oven. Brush again about halfway through the baking time and turn the baking sheet around if needed.
  9. The bread should be done in about 25 minutes; the crust will be crisp, and the bread will make a hollow sound when thumped. Cool the bread on a wire rack for 2 to 3 hours.


96 Responses to “Rewarding Patience”

  1. Beautiful bread! Love the perfect cut marks on top. Great photos!

    Posted by Karen | February 29, 2008, 12:32 am
  2. Excellent results. Your patience really paid off.

    Posted by L Vanel | February 29, 2008, 1:27 am
  3. Fa-Bu-Lous!! Love how tender and springy it looks!! Great job again!

    Posted by Tartelette | February 29, 2008, 2:11 am
  4. ooh the bread looks lovely! I love the slashes! I think if I do it again I would make round loaves as these look so good. mmm my patience was certainly tested! ;o)

    Posted by bbaking | February 29, 2008, 3:40 am
  5. As I can see your French Bread loves the humid Lima summer. Well done!

    Posted by zorra | February 29, 2008, 3:45 am
  6. looks so inviting, crispy and fresh! gosh you are a great baker!

    Posted by Big Boys Oven | February 29, 2008, 4:19 am
  7. Hi Gretchen, What beautiful shaped loaves. I admire that you had the patience to do this twice – this is a full day exercise each time.

    Posted by Cakelaw | February 29, 2008, 4:43 am
  8. Lovely looking loaves! Patience really was a virtue with this challenge!

    Posted by culinography | February 29, 2008, 7:12 am
  9. Your loaf is a thing of beauty Gretchen. Kudos to you for making this recipe 2X. It makes a very delicious loaf that’s for sure but is very time consuming…sometimes great things come to those who wait as the saying goes:D

    Posted by Bellini Valli | February 29, 2008, 7:55 am
  10. Perfect slashes! And so brown and round and delectable-looking!

    Posted by Ann | February 29, 2008, 8:18 am
  11. You made it twice? Bravo to you. Your loaves are gorgeous!

    Posted by Veron | February 29, 2008, 9:01 am
  12. Yours look so beautiful! Wish mine had turned out that well. Third time’s the charm, right?!

    Posted by Ritsumei | February 29, 2008, 9:10 am
  13. Wonderful loaf. I can’t believe you did this 2 X! You are incredible!

    Posted by Judy @ No Fear Entertaining | February 29, 2008, 9:35 am
  14. Gorgeous bread, and I can’t believe you made it twice! Your round loaves are beautiful :)

    Posted by Nemmie | February 29, 2008, 10:06 am
  15. Love the slashes. It looks like it came from a bakery!

    Posted by Megan | February 29, 2008, 10:07 am
  16. Perfection Gretchen! Im thrilled you loved it, too. Fab job babe!

    Posted by slush | February 29, 2008, 10:25 am
  17. Your bread is picture perfect! I’m sure your first try still tasted delicious, but it looks like your second try turned out truly spectacular French Bread!

    Posted by Karina | February 29, 2008, 10:55 am
  18. Good for you on adapting things to your conditions, I wouldn’t know where to start!

    Posted by Brilynn | February 29, 2008, 11:01 am
  19. great job! Love the slashes on top.

    Posted by Mandy | February 29, 2008, 11:13 am
  20. Your patience was definitely rewarded! Your bread is beautiful and the slashes look perfect! I had fun baking with you last weekend!

    Posted by Andrea | February 29, 2008, 11:23 am
  21. Your bread is lovely. You are definitely a daring baker to play with the amount of yeast. I’m so glad it worked out so well. Way to go!

    Posted by Cookie baker Lynn | February 29, 2008, 11:28 am
  22. Absolutely gorgeous! I am in awe of your bread skills. How did you make such perfect slashes? Great job!-Clara

    Posted by CB | February 29, 2008, 11:39 am
  23. Beautiful Bread! I have always been afraid to try Julia Child’s recipe for French Bread, you make it look so easy! I’m printing this off to give it a go!Well done, Noelia!

    Posted by Rebecca | February 29, 2008, 11:59 am
  24. I’m also going to give it another go tomorrow, having picked up a baking stone so that I won’t have to use my cookie sheets. They’re wonderful for cookies, not so much for bread. This time, I’ll let everything rise for as long as it wants and not rush anything along.So that the epi keeps its shape, let it rise as a batard and then cut it into the epi on your peel, right before you put it into the oven :)

    Posted by Melissa | February 29, 2008, 12:29 pm
  25. What a lovely job you did! Really beautiful!x x x

    Posted by Gabi | February 29, 2008, 12:37 pm
  26. That is one BEAUTIFUL loaf of bread! Beats anything that I have seen in a commercial “bakery.”

    Posted by DocChuck | February 29, 2008, 12:45 pm
  27. beautiful boule!

    Posted by marye | February 29, 2008, 12:49 pm
  28. Well done! That is a beautiful boule!

    Posted by Merav | February 29, 2008, 12:51 pm
  29. Your bread looks absolutely perfect! I love the idea of cutting the yeast and allowing it to rise longer. I bet that helped it taste even better!

    Posted by Deborah | February 29, 2008, 12:53 pm
  30. You are daring AND clever – letting it rise over night is a great way to over come all the waiting, as well. I’d love to make this again; maybe I’ll wait until the summer when I can take advantage of overnight temperatures. Great idea!

    Posted by Annemarie | February 29, 2008, 12:54 pm
  31. Your bread is beautiful! I am salivating at the idea of your second try. The super long rising time probably made purely excellent tasting loaves!

    Posted by Mary | February 29, 2008, 2:09 pm
  32. Gorgeous loaves…everything looks perfect.

    Posted by Namratha | February 29, 2008, 2:17 pm
  33. Way to make short work of the first loaf! Homemade bread is addicting–even as you’re eating the first slice you’re dreaming of the second!

    Posted by Cakespy | February 29, 2008, 2:35 pm
  34. Good idea! Going for a double batch next time? :-)

    Posted by Quellia | February 29, 2008, 2:38 pm
  35. Wonderful job! Looks lovely!!

    Posted by Tarah | February 29, 2008, 3:28 pm
  36. Oh patience – don’t get me started on that! Lovely bread, Gretchen. Well done!

    Posted by Suzana | February 29, 2008, 3:30 pm
  37. Oh Gretchen! You did an excellent job! Bravo!

    Posted by Warda | February 29, 2008, 4:46 pm
  38. wow, good for you for doing this challenge twice! i love the idea of letting it rise overnight… waiting for it to rise otherwise felt like an eternity! your round loaves are beautiful!

    Posted by Jaime | February 29, 2008, 5:00 pm
  39. Perfect crumb — looks delicious!!

    Posted by Dana | February 29, 2008, 5:31 pm
  40. The texture looks perfect! Great job!

    Posted by Merav | February 29, 2008, 5:59 pm
  41. Absolutely gorgeous. Good for you for figuring out the yeast thing…I probably wouldn’t have thought of that :)j

    Posted by jasmine | February 29, 2008, 8:13 pm
  42. Delayed gratification so worth it! Your bread is beautiful!

    Posted by Half Baked | February 29, 2008, 8:23 pm
  43. Your bread looks perfect! Congratulations!

    Posted by Barbara Bakes | February 29, 2008, 9:24 pm
  44. Wonderful loaves. Each time gets easier doesn’t it. Love your slashes, I had a very difficult time with the slashing.

    Posted by MyKitchenInHalfCups | February 29, 2008, 9:27 pm
  45. Something in simplicity and patients. Your bread looks delicious.

    Posted by Dayna | February 29, 2008, 10:02 pm
  46. Gretchen, I have to say baking with you is always such a pleasure and a joy! I not only enjoy the results but always learn something when I bake with you.The breads are absolutely spot on! Julia would be proud.Thanks so much for joining Sara and I this month!

    Posted by Breadchick | February 29, 2008, 10:04 pm
  47. Lovely boules! Great trick there by using half the yeast to control rising time. Do you think it would work with doubling the yeast though? Kind of a silly question, I guess…

    Posted by marias23 | March 1, 2008, 12:26 am
  48. YAY! Finally some bread that looks like mine, although your rounds actually turned out round. Seems we had the same mentality when dealing in humid/hot places such as we live in, we let our loaves do their rising at night. I think it was for the best. And really, it’s not so terrible if you know when your bread is going to rise and wake up a few times at night to work on them. Congrats on such gorgeous work!

    Posted by leafy bombshell | March 1, 2008, 1:38 am
  49. Beautiful loaves, Gretchen! I’m impressed that you made it twice. Adjusting the amount of yeast is a very helpful tip. Letting it rise overnight would make me consider trying it again.

    Posted by StickyGooeyCreamyChewy | March 1, 2008, 3:57 am
  50. Your bread looks great and thanks for the shortened version; it will make it so much easier next time I make it!

    Posted by Pixie | March 1, 2008, 5:08 am
  51. lovelty bread. Well done

    Posted by Princess of the kitchen | March 1, 2008, 6:59 am
  52. beautiful bread and great slashes!

    Posted by Aamena | March 1, 2008, 7:04 am
  53. Your slashes are so so perfect! Man I wish mine were as good

    Posted by coco | March 1, 2008, 7:11 am
  54. Hi Gretchen…I love your loaves. You seem to have mastered the art perfectly. I agree that the rounds ones were the easiest & looked great too. My batard looked like a leg-o-mutton!!Amazed that you went through it twice…& have bookmarked yr own version for the future. Thanks for the comments on my loaf…really nice words! Cheers Deeba

    Posted by Passionate baker...& beyond | March 1, 2008, 7:51 am
  55. Hi Gretchen…I love your loaves. You seem to have mastered the art perfectly. I agree that the rounds ones were the easiest & looked great too. My batard looked like a leg-o-mutton!!Amazed that you went through it twice…& have bookmarked yr own version for the future. Thanks for the comments on my loaf…really nice words! Cheers Deeba

    Posted by Passionate baker...& beyond | March 1, 2008, 7:51 am
  56. what a cute little bread. good job!

    Posted by myriam | March 1, 2008, 8:07 am
  57. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! Loving yours, you have some fantastic recipes here.Your bread looks so good too! congrats.

    Posted by ruthEbabes | March 1, 2008, 8:19 am
  58. I wish I would have known that the round loafs were a little easier to make, I would have been all over that! Ha ha! Your’s look picture perfect, shape, slits and all!!

    Posted by Proud Italian Cook | March 1, 2008, 8:28 am
  59. Clever thinking to make use of cooler nights! Yes, the boules are easier to shape with a wet dough. Love the looks of your bread!

    Posted by Baking Soda | March 1, 2008, 8:58 am
  60. I admire your persistence and patience! I wanted to do an epi as well but chickened out. The bread in the photos looks perfect!

    Posted by Tracy | March 1, 2008, 9:02 am
  61. You did a beautiful job on your bread. Your loaves look simply delicious.Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

    Posted by Sheltie Girl | March 1, 2008, 9:17 am
  62. thanks for the warm welcome! your bread also looks fantastic!

    Posted by Mia | March 1, 2008, 10:20 am
  63. I love the round loaves – really, really lovely!

    Posted by Melanie | March 1, 2008, 10:37 am
  64. Rewarding patience, indeed!

    Posted by BrineS | March 1, 2008, 2:34 pm
  65. It sounds like a raging success!

    Posted by Emiline | March 1, 2008, 2:35 pm
  66. My gran always used to tell me that “Patience is a Virtue” and you used that to your advantage here! Lovely looking bread.

    Posted by Joy | March 1, 2008, 3:37 pm
  67. very nice!paz

    Posted by Paz | March 1, 2008, 4:51 pm
  68. Thank you so much for your comments on my site! Yes, I really enjoyed my first DB challenge, and am looking forward to many, many more. Your bread looks fantastic and your food photography is beautiful.Best,Julie(www.peanutbutterandjulie.com)

    Posted by PBJulie | March 1, 2008, 5:07 pm
  69. Great looking loaves! Very well done! Cheers,Rosa

    Posted by Rosa's Yummy Yums | March 1, 2008, 6:48 pm
  70. Great looking loaves! Very well done! Cheers,Rosa

    Posted by Rosa's Yummy Yums | March 1, 2008, 6:48 pm
  71. Great looking loaves! Very well done! Cheers,Rosa

    Posted by Rosa's Yummy Yums | March 1, 2008, 6:48 pm
  72. Great looking loaves! Very well done! Cheers,Rosa

    Posted by Rosa's Yummy Yums | March 1, 2008, 6:48 pm
  73. No doubt about it, baking good bread is definitely an exercise in patience. Looks great!

    Posted by Susan | March 1, 2008, 7:17 pm
  74. Great looking breaed. Well done and thanks for your comments too

    Posted by Princess of the kitchen | March 1, 2008, 8:14 pm
  75. Wow, what a lovely loaf! You did a spectacular job on this challenge.

    Posted by Hannah | March 1, 2008, 9:46 pm
  76. They look fantastic! Great job! I love the texture!

    Posted by Chez Denise et Laudalino | March 1, 2008, 11:44 pm
  77. I love the idea of cutting the yeast in half to make an overnight rise. I imagine it develops flavor, and it makes the timing a little easier. I thought this dough was really enjoyable to work with as well. Your round loaves look great!

    Posted by Bridget | March 2, 2008, 12:31 am
  78. Your bread looks great. I think I will try to make boules next time if I try it again.

    Posted by MamaB | March 2, 2008, 2:19 am
  79. Lovely!

    Posted by Sara | March 2, 2008, 2:28 am
  80. It is sooo true…patience is what you need for bread. Great job on the challenge.

    Posted by Peabody | March 2, 2008, 4:57 am
  81. mmm your bread looks awesome! especially in the last picture with all the butter and jam – yummm.

    Posted by Allison | March 2, 2008, 5:06 am
  82. oh, the bread looks lovely. I take the buttered slice.Ulrike from Küchenlatein

    Posted by ostwestwind | March 2, 2008, 7:05 am
  83. Brilliant move on the yeast! I bet the flavor developed better with the extra time too. I usually let it rise in the fridge if I have the chance (and nothing stinky already in there).

    Posted by Joel | March 2, 2008, 10:18 am
  84. I would have been afraid to just decide to use half the amount of yeast. That is so “Daring” of you. :)

    Posted by Jenny | March 2, 2008, 2:30 pm
  85. I love the way the top of your bread looks. I wish I was able to shape mine like that. Thanks for the welcome!

    Posted by Erin | March 2, 2008, 5:08 pm
  86. I’m very impressed with those cut marks. I know all too well how they can turn out quite badly. But, yours are perfect. Perfect!

    Posted by sher | March 3, 2008, 3:31 am
  87. your cuts are beautiful – and I love the reducing-yeast idea! Makes the whole thing less than an all-day affair.

    Posted by Claire | March 3, 2008, 8:34 am
  88. Gretchen, the crumb looks perfect…your patience has really paid off :-)

    Posted by sunita | March 3, 2008, 9:19 am
  89. Thank you so much for your lovely DB comment on my blog!Your bread is gorgeous! Wow! I’m thoroughly impressed that you baked it twice before – true dedication! (although I have to admit we thought it so scrumptious that I think I will be following your example and baking it again soon… :-)

    Posted by Astra Libris | March 3, 2008, 10:58 am
  90. Zorro could have done no better! Wonderful work!

    Posted by the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד | March 3, 2008, 11:24 pm
  91. Your bread looks gorgeous and I think I’ll do the half yeast thing. You really want this yummy bread earlier on in the day don’t you.

    Posted by african vanielje | March 4, 2008, 9:16 am
  92. your bread looks perfect. i think i may try to make this again using your suggestion of halving the yeast.

    Posted by The Frosted Bake Shop | March 4, 2008, 1:30 pm
  93. Great job!!!

    Posted by Madeleine | March 4, 2008, 3:52 pm
  94. You are truly a dedicated DB. Not only did you try the recipe a second time, but you actually used less yeast too. Amazing!

    Posted by Mary | March 4, 2008, 7:32 pm
  95. Gretchen, I love your slash marks and your perseverance! You really are the epitome of what it means to be a Daring Baker. Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

    Posted by Christina | March 6, 2008, 1:04 am


  1. [...] the Bread Baking Babes chose to make one of her longest recipes ever, Classic French Bread. I made this back a few years ago for a Daring Bakers challenge and truthfully, loved it! This time however, Julia would have taken a [...]

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