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Bread Baking Babes: Robert May's French Bread (September 2014)

Robert May's French Bread

September 2014

This bread is adapted from Elizabeth David's (English Bread and Yeast Cookery) version of Robert May's 17th century recipe for how "To make French Bread the best way", first published 1660 in his cookbook and memoir, "The Accomplisht Cook, or, The Whole Art and Mystery of Cookery".

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

The recipe calls for frothy egg whites. Because it's a French recipe, I thought it was fitting to use our French whisk to froth the egg whites.

egg whites (BBB September 2014)egg whites (BBB September 2014)egg whites (BBB September 2014)egg whites (BBB September 2014)
egg whites (BBB September 2014)

To help me remember to add the salt, I like to measure it into the lid that will cover the rising dough.

salt (BBB September 2014)

Initially, I was planning to cover the loaf with a Fleur-de-lis pattern (commons.wikimedia.org: Fleur de Lis; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0). But it quickly became evident that we didn't have the right cutters. Instead, I rolled a small part of the dough into a disc and used one of these tiny cookie cutters to make a pattern.

Fleur-de-lis Frater5 Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike3.0tiny cookie cutters (BBB September 2014)
tiny cookie cutters (BBB September 2014)

After proofing the loaf, I was so pleased with the design that I decided to brush it with milk.

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

Then, because I can't leave well enough alone, I attempted to score the loaf using the tiny diamond shaped cutter.

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)
Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

To help with oven spring, I used the stainless steel bowl as a hat method for the first 10 minutes of baking. Not taking the milk wash into account, I didn't think it was necessary to grease the rim and insides of the bowl.... With a little wrestling and some kitchen sheers, I managed to keep most of the design intact. (The bread stuck to the edges tasted delicious - it was reminiscent of a chapati.)

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)
Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

The tiny diamond score was still visible - just -after baking!

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

How interesting that the peeled away sections did not really brown in the final 30 minutes of baking.

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)
Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

We loved how it looked when we turned the bread around. We couldn't wait to cut into the bread to hide the evidence of the peeled away design.

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

But, of course, we did wait. We left the bread to cool overnight and sliced it early the next morning.

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

It was wonderful.

Robert May's French Bread (BBB September 2014)

blog from OUR kitchen:
Stepping Back in Time to the 17th century (BBB September 2014) <<- includes recipe







BBB: Let's Get Baking Aloo Paratha . Assyrian Spinach Pies . Beaujolais Bread . Biscotti Picanti . Brioche and Gateau a la Creme . Brioche Flower . Broa . Brunkans Långa . caramelized onion bread . carrot bread . Challah . Chapatis . Chinese Steamed Flower Rolls . Chocolate Prune Rolls . Coccodrillo . Conchas (Mexican pan dulce) . Cornucopia . Cozonac (Romanian Festive Braid) . Crackers . Croissants and Pains au Chocolat . Cuban Bread . Dhakai Bakharkhani . Flaxseed Soaker Bread with Prunes . Fougasse . Dan's Garlic Bread . Easy Little Bread . Ensaimadas . Fantans . Filled Pane Bianco . Five-Grain Bread with Walnuts . Granary-style Bread . Hamburger Buns . Herbed Soda Bread . Holiday Apple Kuchen . Italian Knots . Julia Child's French Bread . Kaiser Rolls . Kouign Amann . Mary's Dark Onion Rye . Modern 'Lardy' Cake . Molasses Fennel Rye . Muesli Rolls . Naan . Nut Roll Coffee Cake . Oatmeal Twists . L'Otto di Merano . Panmarino . Pocketbook Rolls . Polenta Bread . Power Bread . Pretzel Croissants . Robert May's French Bread . Rewena paraoa . Rgaif . Rheinbrot . Royal Crown Tortano . Russian Rose . Soft Pretzels . St. Hildegard's Spelt Bread . Stollen . Streusel Potato Coffee Cake . Stromboli . Swedish Rye . Sweet Portuguese Bread . Tangzhong Bread . Taralli Pugliesi . Water-Proofed Bread (challah) . Whipped Spelt Bread . Whole-Wheat Pita . Wild Rice and Onion Bread . Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread





 
  
 
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Bread Baking Babes: Robert May's French Bread (September 2014)Robert May's French Bread (BBB)Robert May's French Bread (BBB)

Robert May's French Bread - 16 September 2014

 
  
 








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