Julia Child’s French Bread: Pan d’Epi

by Shawnda on February 29, 2008

in Bread

Pan d

The Daring Bakers, fresh off the Lemon Meringue Pie challenge, are ready to tackle bread. And not just any bread: Julia Child’s French Bread.

What can I say. I have a weakness for bread. The yeastier, the better. Nothing makes me feel more domestic than kneading a loaf of bread… with my stand mixer while I sit at the kitchen island flipping through a magazine. I call it “delegation.”

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Breadchick Mary of The Sour Dough and Sara of I Like to Cook are hosting this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. To get the full recipe, complete with modernized notes, click here.

The restrictions to the recipe were:

    - No additions to the dough itself but toppings are okay
    - One loaf must be completely plain – no toppings
    - Loaves must be free-form – no baguette pans and the like

Pan d

I opted for Pan d’Epi, breadstick-thin loaves shaped like an ear of wheat. My favorite part of a good french bread is the crust. With Pan d’Epi, you get a much higher crust-to-chewy-inside ratio.

The bread itself was delicious. A nice, thin, crispy crust on the outside; a light, chewy crumb on the inside. If you’re interested in shaping your own loaves like a wheat stalk, you can find a wonderful pictorial on forming the Pan d’Epi here.

1 Gigi February 29, 2008 at 12:28 am

I just watched the episode where Julia made the exact bread/shape you did last night! Your loaves are gorgeous!

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2 Lucy V February 29, 2008 at 1:25 am

Oh la la those epis look excellent! Really wonderful!

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3 Big Boys Oven February 29, 2008 at 2:47 am

Gosh I like the way you make your bread, like leaves! lovely and so classic. Mine was bad, really bad, it got burned! lol!

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4 Bev February 29, 2008 at 2:54 am

wow these are so pretty!

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5 Ruth E February 29, 2008 at 5:30 am

Love how you shaped your bread, it looks so pretty and yummy!

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6 Gretchen Noelle February 29, 2008 at 5:54 am

Beautiful, just beautiful. But I have to ask, did you cut the epi before the last rise? After? I tried one and it puffed into a zigzag. Nothing like yours! They are just gorgeous epis! Great job!!

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7 katia February 29, 2008 at 7:50 am

Lovely Pan d’epi! Wonderful job!

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8 foodiebride February 29, 2008 at 8:03 am

Thanks!

Gretchen – I cut the bread *right* before I put it in the oven.

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9 Amber February 29, 2008 at 8:35 am

They look beautiful!! What a fun shape to try. Congratulations on yet another successful challenge.

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10 dani February 29, 2008 at 10:10 am

If any of you haven’t read Julia Child’s My Life in France book, I recommend it. There’s a whole chapter on how she perfected her French bread.

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11 Beth G February 29, 2008 at 11:12 am

WOW- that looks FABULOUS!! You did a beautiful job :O)

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12 Jerry February 29, 2008 at 11:13 am

That is so beautiful! They look so professional!

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13 Sarah February 29, 2008 at 11:31 am

I am still trying to perfect bread recipes. I always seem to get a little heavy handed with the flour while kneading and my bread turns out dry. Your loaves look amazingly beautiful!

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14 i shot the chef February 29, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Oh My Gah! I think you win. Ok, well, if there was a contest, you would win. Those are some of the most beautiful Pan d’epi’s I’ve ever seen!

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15 laurie February 29, 2008 at 12:43 pm

brilliant job! your photos are stunning!

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16 Kate February 29, 2008 at 12:58 pm

I love pan d’epi – it’s the perfect way to serve dinner rolls!

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17 Amanda February 29, 2008 at 1:41 pm

This looks delicious! I wish I could work up the nerve to make my own bread!

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18 CB February 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Gorgeous little epis. Great job
-Clara

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19 Melanie February 29, 2008 at 2:48 pm

You are a true daring baker – going above and beyond the basic expectations of the recipe (like boring me). I absolutely adored your Pan d’Epi’s and really can’t wait to check out the tutorial. Thanks for including it. Your photos are brilliant.

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20 Jaime February 29, 2008 at 4:04 pm

i love the shape of your bread! i’m weird though and i don’t like the crust, so i wouldn’t really like the increased crust to crumb ratio ;)

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21 Katie B. February 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Stunning!! What a fantastic job!

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22 Michelle February 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Oh these are so perfect looking! Wonderful job!

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23 Kevin February 29, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Nice bread! I like the shapes.

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24 brilynn February 29, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I have a huge weakness for bread too, I gobbled up my loaves in a day and a half. Alone.

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25 mary March 1, 2008 at 6:54 am

Your bread really looks beautiful!

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26 breadchick March 1, 2008 at 10:00 am

Your epis are fantastic looking

Thanks for baking with Sara and I

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27 megan March 1, 2008 at 11:54 am

My next loaf I’m trying that shape! Beautiful!

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28 Joy March 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Wow! Your bread is so pretty, as is the rest of your site. Yum.

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29 Melissa L. March 1, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Shawnda, those look fantastic!! Well done! I’m grateful that you included a link to the post on how to shape those – I can’t wait to try it at home myself!

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30 JennyBakes March 1, 2008 at 10:22 pm

I don’t know if it is just the photo, but the epis look like baby stalks, and are so perfect! Nice job on this challenge.

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31 peabody March 2, 2008 at 2:48 am

Those turned out fabulous!

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32 Jessica March 2, 2008 at 9:17 am

You bread looks fantastic! That was one of the shapes I was tyring to go for but I didn’t cut deep enough the first time so it just sort of deflated. But yours looks amazing! Congrats!

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33 Sara March 2, 2008 at 11:12 am

Your bread is amazing! Thanks for sharing with us.

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34 Jenny March 2, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Those epi look wonderful! So beautifully golden!

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35 Deborah March 3, 2008 at 11:44 am

Lovely loaves!

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36 Tartelette March 5, 2008 at 6:29 pm

The epis turned out gorgeous! Is there anything you cannot do?:)

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37 chris March 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Great Job on this! (Lil’ behind in my DB list….)

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