Happy Birthday, Julia!
Bonjour, everyone :^)
Susan of Wild Yeast posted an invitation to celebrate Julia Child on August 15th
(on what would have been Julia’s 100th birthday), by baking Pain Français, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2.
What a special way to honor Julia Child! – many thanks to Susan and her baking group, the Bread Baking Babes,
for extending the invitation to participate in this centenary celebration!
Susan has written a wonderful post to celebrate Julia - here is a link: Oh, Julia!
Here are the loaves I baked, to pay tribute to Ms. Child and her Pain Français.
Une rose pour Julia
I have a yellow rose bush outside, called the ‘Julia Child’ rose, named for (and perhaps by?) Ms. Child…
it blooms beautifully each year. I really love this rose and when I see the flowers, it makes me happy to think of Julia
and her lovely cooking!
Julia’s rose inspired me to try shaping Julia’s bread as pain français en forme de rose.
I loved the golden crust color of the pain français after baking…reminding me of the golden yellow color
of the rose itself :^)
a close-up of the ‘rose petals’
The idea for shaping the rose came from this post:
The dough was 63% hydration (quite a bit lower than the original recipe, thinking I would need a stiffer dough to make rose petals).
After rolling out, I brushed the dough with olive oil, prior to rolling up into a cylinder. I hoped the olive oil would prevent the petals from merging/sticking together.
The dough was cut in half lengthwise after it was rolled up, folding open as I cut to expose the cut side (facing up). The two pieces were twisted together, trying to keep the cut side facing up, then the twist coiled up to form the ‘rose’.
A picture of the twist, and the final shaping:
I had some extra dough from this batch so baked a small batard, decorated with another flower for Julia;
the stencil for this an imitation of the one used by MC,
for her beautiful pain de l’Abbaye Saint-Wandrille:
Admiring the decorative fleur-de-lys pattern, a symbol of la Belle France, on the cover of both volumes of
Mastering the Art of French Cooking – which inspired the stencilling on this boule:
For this bake, the dough was 71% hydration. I am not sure what the crumb is like – I froze this loaf – so hard to not to have a slice to taste after baking, considering the tantalizing aroma as this bread emerged from the oven!
La Couronne des Perles
I watched an episode of ‘Baking with Julia’ on pbs.org, where Julia and Steve Sullivan of Acme Bakery are making decorative French breads (a wonderful episode!).
One of the breads they made was la couronne, decorated with a ‘string of pearls’.
I thought a bread, dressed up with a string of pearls, was a most lady-like thing to bake in honor of Julia’s birthday!
After I baked this bread, I re-read the beginning of Ms. Child’s book, My Life in France, where she describes her first meal after arriving in the city of Rouen, enjoyed at the restaurant ‘La Couronne’:
“our first lunch together in France had been absolute perfection. It was the most exciting meal of my life…”
I loved that part of the book, where Julia writes about how she discovered her love of French cuisine!,
and was happy I’d baked a couronne, considering the name of that restaurant :^)
The first time I tried making la couronne, it was at 76% hydration; I held back a bit of water from the original formula,
as I was using a soft flour.
I didn’t hold back quite enough water, finding at 76% hydration the pearls flattened out when proofed upside down.
This second try was 71% hydration and this time, the pearls kept their shape during proofing.
Here is a picture of the crumb:
I was so happy baking these breads to honor Julia for her birthday, and to enjoy the pleasures brought by Julia’s fresh, crusty, aromatic pain français.
Joyeux anniversaire et merci beaucoup, Julia, for this bread and everything else that you taught and gave to us,
through your research and writing!
Happy baking everyone!
Submitted, with many thanks, to Susan @ YeastSpotting