Wow, this was an intimidating month for the Daring Bakers Challenge! When I first read the recipe--over 10 pages!--I sort of panicked. Yeast! And over 7 hours from start to finish! And lots of details to keep track of!
Then, I took a deep breath and thought, well, there are only four ingredients, how bad can it be? Julia's bread recipe includes only flour, water, yeast, and salt; it's what you do with them that makes it pretty amazing. Although the recipe has lots of complicated-seeming instructions on shaping, using a canvas (?) and some other stuff I wasn't sure about, I just sort of forged ahead and did what I could...although I didn't have the perfect kitchen setup, I think everything went very well. Maybe next time I will try misting the bread in the oven or using a baking stone. Or even just some parchment paper to bake it on. ;) Even without the fancy stuff, I was very happy with how things turned out.
I made the rolls option so that I could sneak one right out of the oven before they cooled--after all, to me the whole point of making bread at home is that you get it warm! The recipe says they're best cooled, but I have to say I liked them even better just out of the oven! I sliced a roll in half, stuffed some dark chocolate in there...heaven! I also enjoyed them toasted with butter and jam...equally heavenly!
The best part of this recipe was that it totally got me over my fear of yeast! After an eight-hour process of rising, punching down, shaping, etc., I'm no longer so intimidated by recipes with just one 1-1/2 hour rise! That's part of the reason for so few posts lately--I've been baking bread and I didn't want to put it up before this post...but never fear, I'll get my latest bread-baking efforts up soon. Yay for yeast!
Make sure to check out the rest of the bread here. And the recipe is here.