This is real french bread, the kind that takes all day to make. This recipe was perfected by my brother, Jim, then given to me to mess with and make it into 90/10 compatible whole wheat french baguettes. My brother is very serious about his bread, and kneads it by hand even though he has a perfectly capable stand mixer. (This is just one of the various ways my brother and I differ: he has much more patience than I do.) According to Jim, this bread should have “large, irregular holes” in it once it’s sliced. I will admit that using the stand mixer will yield loaves with smaller and more regular holes, which is probably why he opts for the by-hand method. The stand mixer is simpler and less messy so I went with that for this recipe.
These whole wheat French baguettes do take a long time to make. It’s not a lot of active time, but it’s not a set it and forget it deal either like I tend to gravitate toward. You will need to be home to tend to it, so plan it for a day you’re stuck at home and craving a little taste of Paris.