Jeanne from A Jeanne in the Kitchen invited Bruce and me over to meet their new puppy and for the guys to watch a hockey game, while Jeanne, Pricilla, and I would make dessert. Jeanne promised us a lovely Italian dinner and I wanted to contribute, so I made a couple of sprouted wheat baguettes to take. You should check out Jeanne’s recipes – her food is amazing!
Serves 12 to 14 (Two baguettes)
- 2 cups King Arthur bread flour (240g)
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur sprouted wheat flour (298g)
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt (12g)
- 1 1/2 cup warm water (340g) at 90 to 110 degrees F – May need a little more
- Plus more bread flour for dusting the kneading surface, if not using a stand mixer
- Small amount of vegetable oil to grease bowl and worksurface
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water for steaming the bread
Stand mixer and bread dough hook for stand mixer or large bowl and wooden spoon, medium-size bowl, aluminum pie pan, 2 parchment sheets, 2 half baking sheets, plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel
- Lightly oil the medium size bowl.
- Add the flours to stand mixer bowl (or if making by hand, add them to large bowl)
- On one side of the bowl, add the salt and on the opposite side, add the yeast.
- Add all the water to the bowl, and if you are using the stand mixer, attach the dough hook to the stand mixer.
- Knead the dough:
- Start the stand mixer on low, then move to medium low (speed 2 on a KitchenAid). Let run for 4 to 5 minutes for soft, somewhat smooth dough. The dough should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. You may need to add just a little bit more water.
- If not using the stand mixer, then use the wooden spoon to mix the everything together and then knead the dough on a very lightly floured surface, until it is smooth, but still a bit rough. (I often just knead the dough in my large bowl.)
- Place the ball of dough in the lightly oil bowl, cover the bowl, and put in a warm place to rise.
- Let the dough rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Deflate the dough by pressing it down. Fold edges of the dough into the center to make a ball. Turn the dough ball over in the bowl so the edges face down, and let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. It should be noticeably puffy.
- Lightly oil your work surface so the dough won’t stick to it. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the work surface. Gently deflate the dough by pressing down on it.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces and round each piece of dough into a rough ball by pulling the edges into the center. Put the side of the dough with the edges down on the work surface.
- Cover the dough with a lightly oiled plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes. You can let it rest up to 1 hour.
- Line the two half sheets with parchment paper. (If you don’t have parchment paper, you can lightly grease the half sheets.)
- These instructions on how to shape the baguettes come from the King Arthur baking site:
- Working with one piece at a time, flatten the dough slightly then fold it nearly (but not quite) in half, sealing the edges with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough around, and repeat: fold, then flatten. Repeat this whole process again; the dough should have started to elongate itself.
- With the seam side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 17″ log. Your goal is a 16″ baguette, so 17″ allows for the slight shrinkage you’ll see once you’re done rolling. Taper each end of the log slightly to create the baguette’s typical “pointy” end. (I taper by rolling the dough more at the ends.)
- Place the dough logs seam-side down onto a parchment-lined sheet half sheet pans, cross-length along the pan (right bottom corner to left top corner)
- Cover the dough logs with clean kitchen towels or a lightly oiled plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise until they are slightly puffy. The loaves should look lighter and less dense than when first shaped, but won’t be anywhere near doubled in bulk. This should take from 45 to 60 minutes at a room temperature of 68°F.
- About 15 minutes before the end of the rising time:
- Place the aluminum pie pan on the oven floor, near the front. You are going to pour boiling water in it, so make it close to the door.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Start to heat 1 1/2 cups water to boiling.
- After the loaves have finished rising, use a baker’s lame or a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle to the what will become the crust of loaf, make two to three long lengthwise slashes in each baguette or make five or six slashes at a 45° to 60° angle lengthwise along the loaf. Place the pans with the baguettes into the oven.
- Steaming for a crispy, shinny crust: Carefully pour the boiling water into the aluminum pie pan on the floor of the oven. The steam will billow up when you pour the boiling water, so if you wear glasses, be prepared for them to fog up. You want to capture as much steam as possible, so you need to quickly shut the oven door after you have poured in the boiling water. The steam also helps the baguettes rise.
- Bake the baguettes for 24 to 28 minutes, or until they’re a very deep golden brown. You can either remove the baguettes from the oven and cool them on a rack. Or, if you want a very crispy crust, you can turn off the oven, prop the door open with a wooden spoon inserted at the top of the oven door or if you oven door will stay open by itself, crack the oven door open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool completely in the oven until the oven cools down to room temperature.
- Remove the aluminum pie pan when the stove is cool. I keep reusing the same aluminum pan for steaming bread to get crispy crust.
- To store any leftover baguettes for use the next day, store in a paper bag overnight; otherwise, freeze the baguettes for longer storage. You can thaw and reheat just before serving the baguette.