Julia Child’s French Bread: Pan d’Epi

in Bread, Sandwich & Wraps

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

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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.

  • Gigi

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

  • Oh la la those epis look excellent! Really wonderful!

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

  • Bev

    wow these are so pretty!

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

  • 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!!

  • Lovely Pan d’epi! Wonderful job!

  • Thanks!

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

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

  • 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.

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

  • That is so beautiful! They look so professional!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • brilliant job! your photos are stunning!

  • Kate

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

  • Amanda

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

  • Gorgeous little epis. Great job

  • 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.

  • 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 😉

  • Stunning!! What a fantastic job!

  • Oh these are so perfect looking! Wonderful job!

  • Nice bread! I like the shapes.

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

  • Your bread really looks beautiful!

  • Your epis are fantastic looking

    Thanks for baking with Sara and I

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

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

  • Melissa L.

    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!

  • 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.

  • Those turned out fabulous!

  • 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!

  • Your bread is amazing! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Those epi look wonderful! So beautifully golden!

  • Deborah

    Lovely loaves!

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

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

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