Saturday, January 15, 2011

Light Whole Wheat Baguette Bread

You might have noticed a particular theme around The Culinary Enthusiast--if something can be purchased, I would rather make it.  Yes?  Would you agree?  I thought so.  Crusty baguette bread has long been on my list of things to make, but making it authentically literally takes a couple of days.  I usually don't have that kind of time in the afternoon when I am deciding what to feed my family for dinner that night.  I may be enthusiastic but I'm not superwoman.  So, I shelved the idea of making crusty baguette bread for the time being--maybe when I had more time, right?

Then I found this recipe.  I bookmarked it.  Later, that night I was reading a cooking magazine and it referenced this book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, which now has made it to the top of my wish list.  So, with very little effort on my part and certainly NO kneading, I made crusty baguette bread and had it on the dinner table with plenty of time to spare!


Light Whole Wheat Baguette Bread
Source:  Good Life Eats

3 cups 110 degree F water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 3/4 cups freshly ground hard white wheat flour
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

To prepare the dough:
Combine the water, yeast, and salt in a large 5-quart bowl or resealable, lidded (but not airtight) plastic food container. The yeast does not need to proof as in traditional recipes.

Mix the whole what and all-purpose flour together in a medium bowl, then add it to the large bowl containing the water. Stir the flour into the water mixture using a wooden spoon. You don't need to knead the bread, but if stirring becomes too hard you can reach your wet hands into the bowl and press the mixture together.  *I used my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook attachment.

Cover the container with a lid (not airtight). Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-5 hours - until it begins to collapse or flatten on top.

After this, you can take a portion of the dough to make a loaf at anytime - OR refrigerate the covered container 3 hours or overnight before shaping a loaf.

To shape the loaf:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and an empty broiler tray on a lower shelf.

Sprinkle the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour, then cut off a 1 lb. piece for use and return the remaining dough to the refrigerator.  You can estimate by removing a piece about the size of a grapefruit.

Dust the piece with flour and shape it into a ball. Once it is cohesive, you can stretch and elongate the dough to form a cylinder approximately 2 inches in diameter.

Dust a pizza peel (or sheet of parchment if you don't have one) with whole wheat flour. Place the loaf on the dusted surface and let rest for 20 minutes.

After resting, paint water over the surface of the loaf with a pastry brush. Then, using a serrated bread knife make longitudinal, diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf.

Slide the loaf onto the hot stone. Add 1 cup of hot water to the broiler tray and immediately shut the oven door. Bake for 25 minutes, or until deep brown and firm to the touch. Cool before eating.

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