Whole Wheat Baguettes

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whole grain
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Total time:
Yield: 3 baguettes

Recipe photo

This recipe, courtesy of our Whole Grain Baking book, makes dark, hearty, wheaty-tasting loaves. While not as light and crisp-crusted as the classic white-flour baguette, they'll still have lovely texture, full of the baguette's signature irregular-size holes.

Note that this recipe includes two overnight rises, so plan your schedule accordingly.

Whole Wheat Baguettes

star rating (6) rate this recipe »
whole grain
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: 3 baguettes
Published: 11/03/2012

Ingredients

Starter

Dough

Tips from our bakers

  • If your house is very cold at night, try to find a somewhat cozy place for the overnight starter. You don't want it really warm, but about 65°F-70°F will keep it happy. Near (not on) the wood stove or another heat source, or atop the water heater, would be good choices.
  • Can you bake these loaves on a pizza stone? Sure. The easiest way is to line your baking sheet with parchment, let the loaves go through their refrigeration on the baking sheet, then lift them, parchment and all, onto the hot baking stone when they're ready to bake.

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

1) To prepare the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small (2- to 3-cup) bowl, cover the bowl, and let rest overnight at room temperature.

2) Next day, combine all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, in a large mixing bowl or the bucket of your bread machine. Mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a dough that's cohesive, but whose surface is still a bit rough. If you're using a bread machine, cancel the machine after about 7 minutes of kneading.

3) Cover the dough, and let it rise for 3 to 4 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over once each hour; this helps oxygenate the dough (for the sake of the yeast), and redistributes the yeast.

4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface, and divide it into three pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap or the cover of your choice, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

5) Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large (13" x 18") baking sheet.

6) Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again.

7) With the seam side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 16" to 17" log. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, spacing them evenly lengthwise on the pan.

8) Cover the loaves with heavily greased plastic wrap, tenting it over them gently. Allow them to rise for 30 minutes.

9) After 30 minutes gently remove the plastic wrap, grease it again, and re-cover the loaves. Again, drape the plastic gently; you don't want to anchor it to the sides of the pan.

10) Refrigerate the loaves overnight.

11) Next day, let the loaves rest at room temperature, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of their rising time, preheat your oven to 425°F.

12) Uncover the loaves. Spritz them with warm water, and make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes in each, if desired; this will help the baguettes rise more evenly, but if you're afraid of slashing, that's OK. Also, if you do slash, the loaves may start to deflate alarmingly; they'll be fine if you get them into the oven ASAP, so don't dawdle.

13) Place the pan on a middle oven rack, and bake the baguettes for 18 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until they're a deep, golden brown, and their sides and bottom are hard/crisp, not soft/spongy.

14) Remove the baguettes from the oven. Turn the oven off, crack it open a couple of inches, and place the baguettes on the oven rack (without the pan) to cool; this will increase their crisp crustiness.

15) Serve baguettes the same day they're made, if possible. If not, store loosely wrapped (not sealed) in plastic; just before serving, heat in a preheated 350°F oven, tented with foil, until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Yield: 3 baguettes.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 04/14/2015
  • Perfetto from Brooklyn, NY
  • I made this recipe (replacing the orange juice with water ) into hero loaves. It's one of my favorites.
  • star rating 12/15/2013
  • mpstonge from KAF Community
  • Surprisingly easy! I didn't read through carefully and ended up not having time to do the overnight refrigeration after the long first rise. I left it out and they still turned out great! Will try them again following the recipe as it should be but it's nice to know you can skip this and won't have ruined your dough!
  • star rating 08/27/2013
  • Sara from San Diego, CA
  • These baguettes taste so good. They are both nutritious and delicious! They go pretty well for making sandwiches or just for breakfast with butter and jams or even for dipping in flavored olive oil.
  • star rating 07/11/2013
  • luna from virginia
  • This one takes a long time but it's absolutely amazing. I don't even remember how many times I failed in whole wheat bread, and this is the first time that I ever succeed. My friend said the bread tasted so good, like from a professional bakery.
  • star rating 01/13/2013
  • clelouis from KAF Community
  • I've been using this recipe twice daily for about a week to use up my unfed sourdough starter, which I couldn't throw away. It is amazing bread!! I use for paninis,sandwiches and hamburger buns. With the other tips I've picked up on the website - i.e., how to make your own sourdough starter, cooking this in a pre-heated oven on a pizza stone, and with a 1/4 baking sheet on the floor of the oven filled with water to create a steam oven. I have found letting in rise on parchment paper and then sliding the whole thing on the pizza stone, parchment and is a good practice. The parchment can be removed after 10 minutes as you rotate the loaves. All these tips combined makes this bread really out of this world.
  • star rating 01/07/2013
  • Edgewater from Cape Cod, MA
  • This is one of my favorite recipes from the Whole Grains cookbook. I've recently started making it using my freshly fed sourdough whole wheat starter instead of the new starter, by leaving it out after feeding and carrying on with the recipe. I refrigerate the dough after the third turn, and then turn again the following morning and let it warm up again before shaping as directed. This way it doesn't need all the refrigerator space of the shaped loaves. I also often shape into small rolls for a fantastic roll to accompany soup or salad. Rolls need 5 min less time before tenting with foil. The original recipe is a winner, but the use of sourdough starter makes both the baguettes and the hard rolls even more delicious!
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