I was very glad when I saw what Sara and Mary had chosen for us this month… though I have to admit the thought of using the oven in the middle of summer wasn´t particularly appealing, but it was a bread I hadn´t tried before and by someone who seems to be a legend between US bloggers: Julia Child.
No, we didn´t grow up watching Julia Child cook around here, we had our very own Doña Petrona, who seems to have had the same grandmotherly feel to her. You know, the type of books you go back to again and again. And that´s why I was interested in trying a recipe by Julia Child, someone as beloved and classic as that couldn´t steer me in the wrong direction.
But she could give directions, tons and tons of them, 8 pages in this recipe alone! But it´s the sort of recipe that´s good for someone who hasn´t made bread before and might be a little freaked out by the whole thing, so I won´t blame her for it.
The recipe itself was quite easy (but beware that you have to find a way to enjoy sticky hands if you are doing all the kneading by hand like me). Oh, and I did sort of make it twice since the first time when I was about to give the dough its first rise I realized the flour I was using had long passed its sell-by date, which meant quickly throwing it in the trash, and when I took out the trash the next night, I had a huge monster dough that had been happily fermenting away, yuck!
So anyways, while I waited for the (second and not rotten) dough to rise I turned to Peter Reinhart to find some photos of different bread shapes I could play with. And I settled for a baghette (which I can´t really call that since my cuts and the shape itself needs some work), an epi (sheaf of wheat), a tabatiere (pouch), and a dinner roll with a spiky top made with sharp scissors.
As for the veredict: the bread was delicious and the texture was quite impressive, so I´m planning on making it again during the winter. I served it quite simply with good olive oil, homegrown tomatoes and basil, and some smoked ham. Sometimes it doesn´t take expensive or exotic ingredients to create a remarkable meal, give me simple Mediterranean any day!