Tuesday, 7 February 2012

White Loaves : 'TWD : Baking With Julia'

Today's post is different from my regular ones. For starters, it's my first post for "Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia". What's that, you ask?? Well, its an online community of food bloggers that will bake the same recipe on a tuesday, every two weeks. It will be a recipe from culinary grande-dame Julia Child's baking bible, "Baking with Julia", randomly chosen by a member of the group. Last time I checked, the group had over 350 blogs participating.

The book has a reputation of being quite demanding and technical, putting it quite at odds with the recipes I usually post on this blog. However, this was something I decided to take up to somewhere push myself as a baker and attempt those recipes that "you-look-at-but-never-do-try-out"!! Out of copyright considerations, the recipe for the day will only be posted by the blogger who is hosting the recipe for the fortnight. Hence, many a times, the post will be anecdotal in nature with me describing my tryst with the recipe.

The first recipe for Tueday, February 7th was "White Loaves" (hosted by Laurie & Jules).


I must admit, I silently groaned when I saw the recipe that had been chosen. Yeast and I have never really been friends! And it's not due to lack of effort on my part. I have tried and tried but the yeast would just NOT yield. And then to make things worse, I realised I did not have a bread-loaf pan to bake the loaves in!! I panicked and almost chickened out!! But then reasoned that if there was ever a time to bake a bread, it was NOW and with this recipe!

To make matters interesting, not a single baking equipment shop that I went to had the bread-load pan that I needed. I finally compromised and bought a glass loaf tin and hoped it would do the job!! Before you roll your eyes, I must tell you also about the packet of yeast I bought. Most of the time, it is really tough to buy decent yeast of any variety in India and I decided to put my faith in a tiny packet of yeast that I found in my local neighbourhood store. It had dodgy instructions at the back and kept mis-spelling the words recipe as "receips" and bowl as "below"!! Now, you may go ahead and roll your eyes. But,I insist, please do READ on!!

I read the recipe thrice and decided to make only one loaf. Faith in myself and yeast was so low that I could not get myself to use the 7 cups(!!) of flour that the recipe required to make 2 loaves. With immense trepidation I set out with the recipe and followed it step-by-step. Ideally, the recipe requires a heavy-duty mixer. But, of course, I didn't have one and thought my little hand-mixer with a dough hook would do. It did NOT and I had to knead the dough for most of the time. The story of my forearms I'll leave for another day!!


Call it beginners luck, the stars being in the right place, the strength of my forearms (?) or the beauty of this recipe but that little dodgy packet of yeast performed beyond expectations!! The dough on first rise more than  doubled in size and after that everything was a breeze!! Maybe, fortune does favour the foolish, at times!!

More than 3 hours after I started, my kitchen smelt beautiful and I was in possession of a beautiful, golden loaf of bread!! My limited vocabulary of food cannot do justice to the taste of this loaf. It was, simply put, delicious!! It was soft, airy and you could eat it all by itself!! I put a blob of butter on some hot toasted slices, saw it melt and then took a bite.. sublime!!

Would I recommend this recipe, my answer would be an honest yes and no, depending on how comfortable  you are with baking!! If you are new to it, I'd hold off on this recipe for a bit and wait until you are more comfortable with baking recipes and equipment. However, this is a must-try for the enthusiastic baker who wants to try something beyond the usual cookies, brownies and pound cakes. If there is a recipe for a white loaf you want to try, let it be this one!!!
I won't be posting the recipe for the "White loaves" due to copyright considerations, as I explained before. You will find it on the blogs of the hosts of the recipe - Laurie & Jules. Alternately, you can e-mail me at bakerindisguise@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to share the recipe with you!!

24 comments:

  1. Oh the joy of baking bread. Welcome to the club. I love baking bread. It is easy...less calories and you can try many different kinds.

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    1. Oh Vamsee.. i was like a little school girl..when the dough rose on its first rise.. i couldnt take my eyes off it!! :) with my new-found courage i hope to tackle multi-grain bread next!!!

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  2. Love the way they look, I'm guessing that they even tasted better :)

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    1. It did Mireia!! :)) in the age of cereal and muesli..i had almost forgotten about a good slice of bread!! this recipe brought it back..it was brilliant..u could eat it all by itself!!

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  3. The baked loaf looks absolutely yummy. Read the recipe on Jules blog http://someonekitchen.blogspot.com/ and she seemed to have added cinnamon, which sounded yummy too. I am going to go through some of Julia Child's Youtube videos before figuring out what I want to bake today. Thanks for sharing this :) & good luck with your endeavor to be a part of "Tuesdays with Dorie" :)

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    1. I know.. i read about the cinnamon swirl... next time next time!!! :) just check it out gauri.. with your blog ..you can still participate and join "Tuesdays with Dorie"..i think u'll enjoy it!!

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  4. I want my flat to smell of bread all the time! Great job, they look fab! ;)

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  5. Thanks Liam!! Not only did the kitchen smell fab...it tasted even better!!!

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  6. absolutely delish! you've brought white bread back in from the cold of unhealthy carbs its been relegated to nowadays! :)

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    1. Tell me all about it..this loaf put to rest all the bad press the white loaf of bread has been getting!!! it was that delicious!! :)

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  7. I love that so many of us conquered our fear of yeast bread together this week! I love the texture of your bread! Perhaps next time I'll use a glass pan myself. Brilliant job!

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    1. Thank you!! It was amazing ..now we can try some healthier varieties of bread..whole wheat, multi grain!!

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  8. Great texture on the bread - the loaf looks like it turned out perfectly. My kitchenaid was not happy with being asked to do the extra work so my upper arms took the beating, and are not the better for it. Looking forward to baking with you!

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    1. Like I said Christy..the taste of the bread almost..i repeat almost ...made up for the state of our arms!! :)) Look forward to the future recipes!!

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  9. Great work! Glad this recipe came out so well for you - especially since you had to do it all by hand. Great work.

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    1. Thanks Cher!!! It was tiring but all worth it!! :))

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  10. Gorgeous! And good for you for sticking with it! If you need a yeast source in the US, let me know. I'm happy to send out a few packets!

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    1. Thank you Jules.. and all thanks to you ..we took up this recipe, conquered our fear of yeast..and felt a little more accomplished in life!!! :)) I'll keep in mind the offer on the yeast.. but for now after the success of this loaf.. maybe I should keep the faith with my little dodgy packet of yeast ..for now atleast!!!:)

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  11. I can imagine how wonderful your house smelled when your lovely loaf was baking. I'll look forward to more TWD posts.

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    1. Thanks Barbara..it even tasted awesome!!! :)

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  12. I love the stories of perseverance I've been finding amongst the links for this recipe. Sticking with it yielded you some lovely loaves of bread!

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    1. Thank you Teresa!! That was the beauty of the recipe.. you followed it step by step and it turned out as promised!!!

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  13. Finally !!!! Tried it & loved it :) http://food-o-mania.blogspot.it/2012/06/white-loaf-of-bread.html.
    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

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  14. Awesome Gauri!! heading over to see it... its an amazing recipe!! Let me know if you want any of the other Julia Child recipes!!

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