bread · French recipe · leftovers

French Bread

Robert Doisneau

This post has been waiting to be published since January (just like these two boys from that Doisneau’s album), and meanwhile all the French bread is gone for good, of course. But I can still share it with you, it’s one of the advantages of the digital era (although nothing can replace or reproduce the aroma, the taste and the joy of baking yet and thanks God). We’ve been eating more Greek dishes recently and I already forgot what I wanted to tell you about France in the connection to the bread recipes… Anyway, here is a photo of some concert paraphernalia I found while rummaging my never-ending papers (I’m concerned how many trees I ruined in my life, maybe it’s time to digitalize everything… except for the books, please!):

David Gilmour in Paris

This is how I first got to France – via my craze over everything Pink Floyd. When I found out about the 2006 tour, I just couldn’t miss the chance to listen to David Gilmour and my Mother found me a coach trip to Paris (with 4 more cities in Europe on the way) which was a complete match – the three days we were supposed to spend in Paris included the dates of the concerts (I went to both venues and the French fans were shouting ‘davId gilmOr, davId gilmOr!). I invested all the money I got from private lessons of English I was giving while studying at the University, to make this dream happen. It was my first time in Europe alone, so to say, and I enjoyed France as much as I enjoyed the concerts (but obviously not the fellow tourists, aaahr, those coach trips!). It was already 7 years ago when I first discovered this country, who would believe that!

Besides, I’ve been watching Julia Child’s programs recently and had a lot of fun, she’s amazing 😉 And all those kitchen utensils and gadgets she’s using or testing, a Soviet housewife could just dream about them, well, if she had imagination. But I did the following recipe before watching the series, I chose it just because I was searching for something different for our ‘breakfast bread’:

Julia Child’s French Bread from cindystarblog.blogspot.com will make three salty baguettes that you should eat as soon as possible (and you will – but even if you don’t – there’s still a way to solve this problem, see below).

The only change in the ingredients I made was to add just a lil bit of whole wheat flour. My baguettes resembled more of a baton (a wider and shorter shape of Russian white bread) but the slices were tiny. My advice would be to add a bit less salt and… eat the baguettes quickly as they get way too crrrusty if you keep they longer than 2 days.

Julia Child's French Bread

But all in all, very nice with cheese in the morning, crusty and soft inside, with small air holes inside.

Julia Child's French Bread

…and if you do linger with the bread and it gets eventually stale (shame on you!) before you manage to eat it, try this great way to use your leftover bread:

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread from www.browneyedbaker.com will help you give a second life to your bread and what life, mmm!

I used this recipe twice already and it works for any bread (even for a flatter one, see below)! My first variant was with less butter, onion instead of scallion (I heated it up with butter in the microwave first), suluguni + Adygea cheeses instead of the original Cheddar and Monterey Jack (and it worked out fine). I stuffed the soft feta-like Adygea cheese into the bread and finished it with the salty rubbery suluguni. My second variant was with spring onion and just suluguni. I guess you can use the recipe as a sort of scheme and then just throw in whatever thing you would like to see on and inside your hot bread.

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

I made this for dinner, so it was already dark to make any decent photos – for these you can refer to the original recipe. My Mom said the aroma of the mingled baked garlic, onion and cheese reminded her of the streets in the old part of Strasbourg with their small cafes (well, sure! what else should they do with their amount of baguettes?). Actually, I think the tartine thing they bake in that cafe I wrote about, is pretty much the same thing, they just cut the bread in wedges and put oil instead of butter, I suppose. Anyway, this is a great recipe to add to my leftovers treasure-box!

Julia Child's French Bread

And then after the baguettes were gone in such a tasty way, I did another French bread – a flat one this time, from the south of France:

Fougasse

{of course dill is there just for decoration 😉 }

Fougasse from bourbonnatrixcooks.blogspot.com will make crusty flat bread – and while you make it the aroma will take you somewhere … closer to the south =)

I somehow made 2 of the fougasses rather thick but the last one which did not fit on the sheet and went into the oven alone was, I suppose, comme il faut. Here the slices are from a thicker fougasse and the thinner is in the background:

Fougasse

The ingredients were pretty much the same, I just added some oat flour to get a more hmmm rustic result, I guess, and as for the herb+oil mixture, I just rubbed the surface of the dough with olive oil and then sprinkled some Herbes de Provence + sea salt (no pepper) on top. I did not use shears to cut the holes, I managed to do it with a knife.

Fougasse

I – ironically – really liked the crumb of those two thicker versions, it was soft and delicious (the oat flour?). We ended up with a surplus of white bread when I baked this fougasse, so I used one to make the pull-apart bread, yes, I somehow cut its surface and even stuffed in some cheese 😉

Fougasse

You would love the aroma coming from your oven when these are baking! And if you’re not afraid of spoiling the authenticity, make you fougasse not very thin and be careful with the baking time, not to burn it. And of course, you can try various herbs (you see, I cheated a bit and used mixed herbs) – I suppose just plain basil or oregano would be lovely (and the recipe yields at least 2 fougasses, so you have a chance to use both).

Now there’s a Greek post slowly making its way to the finish, I mean, to being published. I’m in a rather ‘shattered’ state of mind (and disposition) now, already a month since we returned from France and Italy (and most of my cards sent from there never arrived, ahhhhr!), longing for a new journey and for coziness & warmth at the same time. And also still looking forward to a job, oh yeah 😉

G.

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