The Daring Baker’s challenge for February was hosted by Breadchick Mary over at The Sour Dough and Sara over at I like to Cook. Drum roll please! It was Julia Child’s Pain Francais. (click here to see more photos of this challenge)

When I first read the recipe given to us by Breadchick and Sara, I was scared, very scared, 15 pages of instructions! WOW, this was going to be the mother of all challenges for me thus far. I was sure I was going to use this as one of my two I could bail on. Then I stared reading other comments from fellow DBs and I became inspired, should we say very inspired or just DAMN INSPIRED! I could not wait!

There was only one weekend in the entire month that I could do this and we were kind of busy – friend in from Hawaii, errands, dinner with friends – but, I knew I could make it work. So, Saturday rolled around and I did errands, worked, picked up the house, blah blah blah and dinner time hit! “Damn, I forgot the bread and now I had plans on Sunday with the friend!!!” But, I was confident that I could make it work ……

I got up early Sunday, started the lengthly process. So, far very good! The first rising was perfect and right on my tight schedule! Got it all ready for the next round of keeping warm and headed out for lunch and shopping with friend. It was hard to cut it short and fast because of a loaf of bread, so it ran a little late. Got home, still perfect! All was working out so well. I was very confident and very happy. Proceeded with the remaining steps and then molded the dough with my new pastry canvas and tucked it all in next to a warm heater and headed out to dinner! We had a fantastic dinner with friends but once dessert ended I started watching the clock and thinking about my perfect little breads at home. Again, I did not want to bolt over a pan of bread, so I held out as long as I could and finally told L. we had to leave. Then they started talking about after dinner drinks – NO!!! Thank god the host decided to kick us out since it was a school night!

Got home and all still looked perfect! I could not believe I had done it and still had a day of fun without sitting at home waiting for all the rising to take place. Now was time to unmold the beauties and get them ready to bake! Only 30 minutes until I could call it a wrap and head to bed!

Well, let’s just say – never be over confident when baking bread, especially this bread! They collapsed! They were flat baguettes! The color as beautiful! The texture was fantastic! The flavor was well, very french! But, something happened when I unmolded them – lost all their air, they were flat!

Moral to the story ….. Never be over confident until they come out of the oven! Was it a challenge – of course! Was it fun – definitely! Will, I make them again – on our next rainy weekend!!

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