let's break bread

i don't know why i am on such a martha kick. it all started back in october. i was flying out from newark to geneva again for work with the international centre for migration and health. because mr. mimi was dropping me off, that meant i was going to get to the airport a ridonkously 3 hours early. being on time, for me, means getting there at the start of boarding, hehe. anyhoo, so i had forever time to kill, much more than usual. i wandered to the bookstore and bought a bunch of magazines, including martha. and since then ... i have been hooked!

folding in thirds

this month's living issue had a beautiful article on baking bread. if there is one thing about me, it's very clear that i am not a candidate for the atkins diet. i LOVE french baguettes and ciabattas and foccacia and all things doughy and yummy. i figured, if i'm going to keep eating bread, why not start making my own? at least i will feel a *little* less guilty ... maybe ... and so i was inspired.

rolled out
the bread making today was a combo of the recipe from this month's living issue and the baking handbook, p. 312. i mainly followed the book, especially for ratios, but i did reference the magazine for some of the folding techniques and rising times.

the verdict? well, for my first attempt, i am pleased. the texture is perfect: crunchy crust and chewy inside, with lots of air pockets. the taste is good, but i made a mistake. the recipe called for coarse salt. i used fine salt, but the same measurements. so it tasted more like a pretzel than a french baguette. which, in itself, is not entirely terrible, but wasn't what i wished for. next time i know ... reduce the salt or buy some coarse for baking!


crunchy + chewy = delicious!


also, if anyone happ
ens to be reading this ... if you know why my bread didn't brown on the bottom please let me know? i baked it on a parchment sheet on a baking stone. i did have a skillet of water for steam. as you see, the top browned nicely to a crunch, but the bottom remained soft. any ideas?

even though french bread is not technical, it is time-consuming for the rising and resting. this is definitely a project for only a lazy sunday, but i will definitely be doing it again!

note: because the recipe is long, i am not re-typing it here, but if you're interested let me know and i'll send your way!


  1. I don't know why your bottoms didn't brown - I haven't yet gotten to the comments on the DB blog, so I hope someone helped you. =)

    I am VERY interested in the recipe though.. if you wouldn't mind? =)

    You can e-mail me at lamiacucina@adelphia.net I would be so appreciative! They look SO GOOD!


    PS - You can talk about whatever you want on the DB blog.. doesn't have to be only baking/cooking. :D

  2. just sent to you, let me know if you didn't get it!

  3. your boule looks breathtakingly delicious! One thought one the browning dilemma -- maybe try baking them on a dark baking sheet? that's what I usually do and my bottoms always brown nicely. I've never tried baking bread on a stone, so I can't tell whether that would be the problem. These look great though -- just delicious!

  4. i don't use non-stick, so i only have the regular aluminum sheets. but i am going to try again this weekend (i may be a procastinator, but i am persistent!) and we'll see what happens. as my tops got brown, i'm going to try to heat the stone longer before baking, and hopefully that will take care of the bottom. ymm, i'm hungry just thinking about it!!

  5. The baking stone takes some time to heat and brown the bottom. If it wasn't hot, then the bottoms could turn out light.