“It Wants to Come Sideways” Julia’s French Bread
The thirteen-page recipe for French bread in Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the landmarks of the genre, a recipe I talk about all the time, but never made. I was always a little suspicious of this recipe. Volume I of Mastering explains that no recipe for French bread is provided because it would be impossible to reproduce outside of
[W]hen you tear off a piece, it wants to come sideways; it has body, chewability, and tastes and smells of the grain.
Use one hand only for the kneading and keep the other clean to hold a pastry scraper, to dip out extra flour, to answer the telephone, and so forth [to take photographs!]
It will turn into bread in the oven whatever happens, but you will have an easier time and a better loaf if you aim for ideal conditions.
This is the most wonderful stuff in the world. Many thanks Daring Bakers!