Crocodile Bread: That’s a Croc! No, it’s Bread! Are you sure…

Lien, of Notitie van Lien, is the Host Kitchen this month for the Bread Baking Babes!

What, you may wonder, am I doing with Bakers????

Anything to be called a Babe.

Besides, I was promised booze and sexy underwear…

Or was that a sexy apron…

But how can an apron be sexy without the underwear….

Do you sense some procrastinating here?

First some general information to help you understand my position:

These people are all ‘Daring Bakers’.  I am not.

I foolishly thought they would be kind to the new kid.  They were not.

I was presented with a recipe (the same one everyone else was using) and told ‘it’ll be fun’.

The recipe called for flours I don’t have and can’t find.

It’s a ‘wet dough’ (understatement of the last 5 centuries).  Have you ever tried to turn soup into bread?

Well, at this point I did what I always do in these situations: Climbed up on my very high horse, sniffed arrogantly and claimed that ‘I will manage with what I have available; and it will be good!’

Fortunately I didn’t seriously damage any body parts when I toppled off that damn horse.

On that note, I’ll let the pictures tell the sad tale of the Coccodrillo, or Crocodile Bread.  (I now realize why it’s called Crocodile Bread: not for any physical resemblance, but because taming it is a loosing battle.)

1.  The recipe involves 2, sequential starters, bubbling away in a warm place for 2 days.  I live in a drafty, old, French farmhouse.  It’s late winter.  I don’t have a warm place.  So I put them on top of the boiler.  (It’s also a great place to warm paint cans).

boiler

2. At least I have a heavy duty mixer.

mixer

3. The batter got very nice and bubbly.  Isn’t my flower pretty?

crocbatter

4. Okay, still procrastinating…  Did I mention this was a wet dough?

dough

5. According to the recipe, once it’s risen for the second time one should put it on the counter, shape it, and then place it on parchment paper.  The fact that what I thought was parchment paper turned out to be cling film is neither here nor there….

I put about 10 cups of flour on some foil and poured the dough on top.

crocrunning

I spent a frantic 5 minutes just trying to keep it from running off the counter into the waiting jaws of the dogs.  Shape this oozing mass?  I don’t think so.  I was a bit worried that if left unattended it would creep out under the doors and destroy the village, but, by that time I no longer cared.  I spoke sternly to it, tossed some more flour on it and put it back on the boiler.

6.  Oh yes, I was meant to cut it in half (yeah, right!) and bake two separate loaves.
You can see that I tried to separate them.
You can also see that I failed.
So I made a conscious and considered decision to go for the conjoined approach.

crocwhole

7 . According to the mavens I was to let the bread cool for 2 hours before cutting.  They don’t know mon mari!  The first bit of fresh bread must be consumed within 5 minutes of removal from oven.  His rules.

crocfinal

That’s okay, I fixed him.  Have you ever bit into a piece of tin foil with a tooth that has a filling?  I’m told it’s a rather awful sensation… Actually, I was told that repeatedly last night.

It seems in my efforts to control the croc I was, perhaps, overly exuberant and scraped some bits of foil into the dough.  I could pick them out this morning in the cold light of day…but, he wouldn’t wait….

8.  Was it good?  Oh yes… Delicious last night slathered with butter and eaten with our risotto.
Equally good this morning, without the butter.  It has a lovely, slightly sour, slightly salty taste.  It’s very similar to a bread I used to make lots, in a pottery cloche, that we loved.  The croc had a much nicer texture, though.

croc2

What did I do wrong?  Nothing, naturally.  Oh, I was meant to use Durum and Stone Ground wheat flours and I used Bread Flour, but, hey, what difference could that make?  Gluten?  Did someone say Gluten?  Nah, didn’t think I heard anything…

Will I try this again?  Probably.  It really was pretty effortless. And it was yummy! Now that I know what to expect it won’t be quite so scary disconcerting.  I may modify the recipe and use a bit more flour at the end…
If I ever live in a country where bread baking is more common and more flours are available I might even try it the right way.

For now, though, I live in France where fresh bread is delivered to your door and making it at home is not all that common.  I’ll continue to work with what I have.

To see what it’s supposed to look like, visit some of the expert Babes.

A Fridge Full of Food (Glenna), Bake My Day (Karen), Cookie Baker Lynn (Lynn), I Like to Cook (Sara), Living on Bread and Water (Monique), Lucullian Delights (Ilva), My Kitchen in Half Cups (Tanna), Grain Doe (Gorel), Notitie van Lien (Lien), The Sour Dough (Mary aka Breadchick), Thyme of Cooking (Katie), and What Did You Eat (Sher)

Watch this space next month to see what my next proud accomplishment will be – but don’t hold your breath….

PS:  I forgot…. I’m hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week!  Send your entries to thyme2.kate@gmail.com.  Come on and play with me!  I’ll be nice…. I promise!

30 thoughts on “Crocodile Bread: That’s a Croc! No, it’s Bread! Are you sure…”

  1. Great work, isn’t it the taste that counts?
    I try to duplicate the bread, but I fear the result 🙂

  2. I forgot to ask: What have I to do to be called a babe? I am at an age to do anything 😉

  3. Very nicely done! I don’t think I’ve ever had croc bread, but it certainly looks interesting, albeit slightly intimidating. Congrats on delving into the world of baking successfully! I keep telling myself I need to start making bread…one of these days…Also, you mentioned wearing an apron with nothing else as if there was something wrong about that…how else do people bake? Am I doing it wrong? lol 😉

  4. Be proud girl! you gave it a hell of a fight with those french flours!!! And as most of us found out it’s all about flour types this one. Great job!
    In the end it’s the taste that counts (unless, you wanted to make a handbag out of it as well).
    But that tinfoil… with a filling in a tooth… ouch!… please use baking parchment next time (if that’s available in France)

  5. Katie, I can send some flour to you! No problem! well at least you made it and the taste IS the most important aspect, isn´t it? You rock Baby!

  6. Great job Katie! That is awesome! Bread canbe scary sometimes but I can see you have done a greatjob conquering that fear!

  7. Oh, Katie, you make me laugh! For all your fears, you did a lovely job with the bread. I think you make a fabulous Bread Baking Babe. We’ll talk on the sexy apron question…

  8. Oh it’s so good to laugh with you!
    Um, What apron wouldn’t be sexy with just panties ;))
    Go easy on the new babe, ha. So sorry on the filling and the foil, I’ve made that connection in the past and it is not a good connection.
    Delighted the bread tasted good for you both.

  9. I think that a good dose of sense of humor is the one required ingredient of cooking, of baking and especially of bread making. You have this required ingredient and I am glad that you are sharing it with us 😉

  10. Ulrike, yes, it’s the taste…thankfully! – You’re a Babe in my book!
    Mike, you must be careful about hot spills (when only wearing an apron) – and don’t start with this bread ;-))
    Lien, I really thought I had parchment – the box looked the same… Yes, it’s all about the flours..
    Gretchen, that will be interesting! I didn’t have a big choice either… but I managed – hehehe!
    Pille, I’m just grateful it wasn’t me! And the croc was fun – in a masochistic sort of way.
    JennDZ, beat it into submission is more like it!
    Ilva, it’s all about the taste – and thank you for the offer but I’m trying to learn to make do with what I have… It’s not easy but I’m trying…
    Lynn, lovely might be pushing it – but thank you. And about those aprons…
    Cakespy, no bread has made it past the 10 minute mark in our kitchen!
    Tanna, yeah, you laugh now…just wait!
    Colleen, difficult? A gross understatement!
    Simona, definitely of bread making… Cooking one can adjust on the fly – can’t do that with bread! All one can do is laugh!

  11. First off–I would love to live in a drafty French house!!! And your experiences were just like mine. It’s impossible to pick that dough up!!!! And it is delicious bread, isn’t it? What does it matter that it isn’t beautiful. Real crocs aren’t beautiful.

  12. The Crocodile bread sounds interesting. The dough looks really wet. It must have been fun to play with. 🙂

  13. OH yea… we WERE promised sexy underwear weren’t we??!!
    I was laughing so hard reading about you and your croc soup battle that I actually choked on a piece of croc bread I was eating! Damn crocs…
    Anyways, if I had to choose between living in a French farmhouse and taming the croc, believe me, farmhouse would win out!
    Besides, sounds like it tasted like it was suppose to, foil and all!

  14. You should be called the 4 B’s – Brave Bread Baking Babes! You did such a fine job girl! A lovely loaf indeed!
    Now for that aluminum foil, whewwww, I cannot even talk about it!

  15. I’m right behind you in the back of the class Katie, I used bread flour… and durum semolina (I know I’m adorable when I sleep, dôh).
    Still applaud you for the write-up, laughing just a little on the onfortunate tinfoil encounter, and I lurv the tiles in your kitchen!

  16. Sher, my sentiments exactly!
    Kevin, the fun was more in retrospect…. the cursing was more current!
    Lydia, I almost had to get the whip and chair. Even the girl dogs were hiding.
    Sra, exactly! That’s what I kept telling mon mari!
    Breadchick, the taste was great – but I still want the underwear….
    Deb, yeah, apparently that’s really awful (she says with a wolfish grin)
    Baking soda, thanks – about the tiles… That was one of the first things we did when we bought this place… I’ll post the before pic’s sometime. Good bread!

  17. i love your kitchen tiles too! how funny, someone beat me to it! i made a whole wheat loaf this weekend with a super-wet dough — the bread was moist and delicious, btu the top of the loaf caved in on itself a little because it was so heavy — definitely a challenge! it still tasted great though — nothing beats fresh-baked bread.

  18. Bravissima for getting it to work at all!!!
    I tried making coccodrillo in 2003 – disaster. In a moment of amnesia, I tried again in 2004. Another disaster. This is what I wrote in 2004:
    Well, it’s been a while since I’ve had such a spectacular failure. […] I admit defeat. I’m afraid that I won’t be making coccodrillo again for a very long time….
    -Elizabeth

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