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SethG

"Baking With Julia" by Julia Child (2004)

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I've recently been involved in an informal little group in the cooking forum devoted to trying out the same recipes at our own locations and reporting to each other on our progress. Through this group, I've had occasion to bake my first loaf of bread and make my first puff pastry. Neither of these efforts was a complete success, but my halting first steps into the world of baking have made me realize that I love the feel of dough, the smell of yeast, and the sound of the mixer.

I want to make a lot of bread and pastry. Anyone else want to do it with me?

I have several books that are relevant to such a project. I own Torres' Dessert Circus, and Payard's Simply Sensational Desserts. I also own Child's Mastering the Art (vol. 1) and Child/Pepin's Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, both of which contain dessert recipes, and Kamman's New Making of A Chef, which contains a bunch of souffles and probably other dessert stuff besides.

But the book I just acquired that has really motivated me to get started is Baking With Julia. I've read very good things about the book, and when it arrived yesterday, I flipped through it and found myself drooling over the prospect of making the delights contained within: country bread, challah, croissants, savory tarts (in which I have a little more experience), sweet desserts and cakes, and what seems like a thousand other delights.

Furthermore (I'll drone on just a little longer), I've ordered Jackal10's sourdough starter and I plan to make his sourdough recipe as my first project. And I want to work in somewhere an attempt at Jeffrey Steingarten's recipe for Pane Genzanese, which he describes as the best bread he's ever baked (It Must Have Been Something I Ate, page 311).

I'd like to make something every two weeks or so. It doesn't have to be that often, though. And people could drift in and out of the group. It can be completely informal. But we could report to each other in real time; ask each other questions as we're baking; learn a lot from each other and from more experienced members of this board, if they're interested in throwing in their two cents. (It seems like we've got a lot of professional bakers around these parts.)

You may say I'm a dreamer. But (I hope) I'm not the only one.

What do you think? I'm open to other plans, other books.

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I'd love to jump in from time to time. Things will be a little crazy around here until we move at the end of Feb, so I can't promise I would be able to do every project. But it sounds like fun, and I've been meaning to get Baking With Julia for a couple of years. :smile:

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Very Julie/Julia to cook your way through the book. Very ambitious project, in any case.

I'll be content to watch (and cheer) from the sidelines. More flour-power to you.

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I would love to join in. I will RUN out and pick up a copy of Baking w/ Julia - Should have it by this weekend.

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Very Julie/Julia to cook your way through the book. Very ambitious project, in any case.

Just to be clear, I wasn't thinking we'd be very rigorous about doing every recipe, or doing them in any particular order a la Julie Powell. We don't have to be any more ambitious than we want to be!

But it's nice if we all have a common book or recipe we can refer to.

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I'm in. I need the little bit of motivation to bake more regularly. The Atkins people at work will just have to suffer.

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I'm in. Though I will most likely stay away from most of the sweet stuff. I did the sourdough bread from Jackal10s class and it has changed my life! :smile:

I even used the starter to make Dan Lepard's Focaccia with very tasty (though a bit surprising) results. If we decide Julia's book is it, I'll pick up a copy.

Sounds like it would be fun.

Msk

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Baking with Julia has never steered me wrong. The challah recipe is my fave. Yum!

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Hi Everyone,

I have referred to Baking with Julia for a long time, since the book came out. One of the best recipes is the vanilla Genoise Cake, fabulous.

I would love to join you but I have no one to bake for and I do not want to change my girlish figure - I am the one who is still looking for a pastry or computer job! Have fun and let us know how you are all doing.

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Me too please!

Everything I've tried in BwithJ has been terrific but finding the time to experiment more has been tough. This is just the sort of push I need.

When do we start???????

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Be sure to try the Chocolate Ruffle Cake. I've done it a couple of times and it's divine. The pound cake is a hit too!

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I think that this is a FABOULUS idea!! I bought the Baking with Julia book because I heard so much about it here. I agree with JFLinLA, the challah recipe is awesome....I make that about once a week now. I've also made the sweet rolls that were made from a brioche too......they were also very good.

Rhea_S, I 100% agree that the Atkins people should suffer......it's they're choice! Flour POWER!

Want to pick out a few recipes from each chapter? And make weekly assignments? Will you take an excuse like "My husband ate my homework?".....

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I'd love to join in, too! It'd be great to get feedback from each other and see how much progress we're making.

Thank you for such a great idea, Seth!

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I'm pleased at the response, especially from so many members, new and old, with whom I've yet to be acquainted!

Seems like a pretty strong Baking With Julia consensus. For anyone reading this who doesn't yet have the book, one of the things that's nice about the book is that the recipes came from dozens of different experts-- many of whom are famous bakers and/or teachers/writers on their own.

I'm reconsidering my idea above that I'd like to start with sourdough. I assume that not everyone has easy access to starter, so maybe I should just do that on my own or save it for later with a group.

How about challah? We've had a couple endorsements of the recipe already. I've always wanted to make it, and it is in the chapter containing the easiest breads. Seems like a nice place to start. As to when, I'm open to whatever. Maybe not this weekend, but next? I don't want to scare anybody off with my enthusiasm!

Again, these are just ideas. I'd welcome any others. If many of you have made challah and want to start with something different, or more challenging, I'd like to hear it.

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I might join in on occasion. Maybe even for the attempt at challah. Make sure to make the recipe for the chocolate chunk cookies with coffee and dried apricots. I normally make it as bar cookies and they're really quite rich.

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Seth - I vote Challah bread next weekend. That gives me enough time to get the book here. Ooh, Ooh Challah on Saturday and French toast for breakfast Sunday! I am sooo in! :rolleyes:


Edited by EllenC (log)

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Challah next weekend works for me.

I have a wedding this weekend, the kind where we have something to attend every night.

Msk

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I think I've made the challah recipe before, but I have no problems making it again. I have lots of eggs, flour and butter from all the holiday sales. Plus, my friends love sweet, rich breads.

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I am relatively new to this forum, but so far it has been very interesting reading. This sounds interesting, I am in! Challah sounds great. I have recently been baking more, especially after the pastry course that I recently finished, but would like to do more breads.

Mike

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So at least six or seven of us plan to bake challah next weekend, all thanks to eGullet. If that's not a mitzvah,* I don't know what is!

Never mind that I'll make mine on Saturday, most likely. I don't consider it work.

*Mitzvah=good deed/blessing

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I took a look at the recipe this afternoon. It's got milk in it, so I don't think I will be joining you. I need a pareve challah for use on Friday night.

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I'm in for the challah too! So basically, we make the challah next Saturday, then come back and post our results and try to help each other out?

Oooh...let's do brioche next, for an excuse to make the sticky buns. Yum!

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I'm in for the challah too! So basically, we make the challah next Saturday, then come back and post our results and try to help each other out?

Oooh...let's do brioche next, for an excuse to make the sticky buns. Yum!

Yeah, something like that. And if any of us have any questions about the recipe before we start, we could post them here, too.

We may be getting ahead of ourselves, but brioche might be a good next choice, since it is similar to challah.....

And Bloviatrix, what do kosher bakers do? There must be some usual substitute for the milk.

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