Sunday, May 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Baguettes

I hate whole wheat. I think it's gross, I really do, and it's probably because we never had white bread in the house. But in a house where everyone's trying to eat healthier, whole wheat is the way to go.
So over at Not Without Salt, I found this delicious bread recipe for baguettes. And honestly, it's probably one of the easiest bread recipes I've ever made (or seen for that matter). I don't have a stand mixer, and I was still able to make this in less than twenty minutes. I substituted all-purpose whole wheat flour for the bread flour, and the texture of my bread turned out less baguette-y than I would have liked it, but it's still delicious. And that's saying something, coming from someone who hates whole wheat.


5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (I’ve used all-purpose with great results)

1 tbsp coarse kosher salt

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

2 cups warm water


Prep Day: Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer, set with paddle attachment, and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute until well blended and smooth. Dough should form a coarse, shaggy ball. Let rest, uncovered for 5 minutes. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Dough should be smooth, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Knead dough by hand on lightly floured work surface for 1 minute, then transfer to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

Dough can also be made without the use of a stand mixer. Combine all the ingredients – start with a wooden spoon then switch to your hands when the flour is incorporated. Lightly knead until all the ingredients are well blended. Let rest for 5 minutes then knead for about 5 more minutes until dough is smooth and slightly tacky.

Baking Day: Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours prior to baking. Gently transfer to lightly floured work surface, taking care to release as little gas as possible. Divide dough into four equal portions. You can also do as I have by removing just enough dough to make one baguette and have a fresh baguette everyday for the next four days from one single batch of dough.

Form Baguettes: Pat each piece of divided dough into a thick rectangle.

Fold the bottom half to the center and seal the seam. Fold the top half to the center and once again seal the seam.

Roll the top half of the dough over the seam to create a new seam on the bottom of the loaf.

(Go look at Not Without Salt's pictures to better understand this, if you need.)

With seam side underneath, gently rock loaf back and forth, with hands moving out toward and increasing pressure at the ends, to slightly taper the loaf until baguette is the length of baguette pan (or baking sheet). Place the formed baguettes on a baguette pan or a baking sheet that has been oiled or covered with parchment. Mist top of dough with oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and proof at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours, or until increased to 1 1/2 times its original size.

Baking: About 45 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a sheet pan, which will serve as steam pan, with a 1-inch rim on shelf under which baguettes will be baked. Remove plastic wrap from the dough 15 minutes prior to baking. Just prior to baking, score the dough 1/2 inch deep with a serrated knife or razor. Transfer dough to the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pan and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the crust is rich golden brown, the loaves sound hollow when thumped, and the internal temperature is about 200 degrees in the center. Cool on wire rack before slicing or serving. Best eaten the same day, or heated briefly in the oven the next day if crust loses its crispness.