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.
- 1 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water tepid
- 1/4 tsp yeast
- 3 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups water tepid
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp yeast
- Combine starter ingredients. Cover and let stand at room temperature 4 hours.
- Add starter and remaining ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit mixer with dough hook. Turn mixer to speed one until well combined. (Note: it will not look like dough at this point, but will be very wet and sticky.)
- Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and let stand 30 minutes. Uncover and turn to speed 1 for 30 seconds. Re-cover bowl and let stand 30 minutes. Uncover and turn to speed 1 for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times, for a total of 2 hours.
- Sprinkle a little whole wheat flour on a clean work surface. Add dough and knead by hand a couple of times. Divide dough in half and roll one half out to a large rectangle. Starting with a long end, roll up into a log. Pinch seam to seal and fold ends under and pinch to seal. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cover with a clean dish towel. Let stand 30 minutes.
- 15 min before standing time ends, preheat oven to 475.
- Uncover and bake 18-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Let cool before slicing.