Happy Monday! Welcome to another week! Although I have a bit of a case of the Mondays because I woke up with a sore throat this morning, I am armed with several packets of Emergen-C and enough liquids to float me away as I am determined NOT to get sick before celebrating my first married Valentine’s Day with my hubby!
If you are looking for something to take your Valentine’s dinner up a notch and make it even more extra special fresh baked bread is the way to go! I am telling you, whip up (it really is that easy!) this whole wheat baguette and your Valentine will be so impressed that he/she will suddenly have the uncontrollable desire to buy you something pretty. Well, at least that I am hoping!
All joking aside, this baguette is SO easy to make. You don’t have to activate the yeast, no kneading, and it only takes 25 minutes to bake! But it turns out so absolutely delicious – crunchy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside – that no one has to know how easy it was! (see note about presents above )
This bread only requires, as most breads do, a few simple ingredients. It starts off with water, yeast, and salt. Probably the hardest part of this recipe is that it starts with “110 degree water” but don’t let that discourage you! If you want, you can take out your thermometer, but the way I do it is just by feel of the water out of the tap. I judge water to be about 110 degrees if it is around the temperature I would say my tea is too cool to drink. Although 110 degrees might seem high, it is warm water, not hot water. Also, this recipe is pretty full proof so a few degrees to either side won’t ruin your bread, I promise!
Because you don’t have to let the yeast proof, you can get straight on to adding the next and final ingredient, flour! 2 cups all purpose and 1 1/4 cups whole wheat. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. You might find, as I did, that your bread needs a little more work than a wooden spoon can provide, in which case it is
perfectly fine highly encouraged to finish combining with your hands!
When your dough is all combined, loosely form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 2-5 hours until it at least doubles in size.
Woah! Isn’t amazing what a few simple ingredients can do! Divide the dough in half to form your baguettes. Don’t be alarmed when you touch your bread and it “deflates” to about half the size it was before you touched it – it’s perfectly normal.
Lightly flour your work surface and shape the dough into baguette form. Grab a knife and make a few slits in the top of the baguette and sprinkle with water. Now you’re ready for the oven!
When making bread it is really important to have a preheated oven AND a preheated cooking surface. I use my pizza stone to cook bread but even if you are using a cookie sheet you should preheat it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. I suggest, before you start to shape your bread, put your baking stone (or whatever you are using) in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. That way by the time your baguettes are ready your oven and baking stone will both be hot.
Before you load your baguettes into the oven, pur one cup of water in a casserole dish and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Then, slide the baguette onto the the HOT (be careful!) stone and close the oven door. Resist the urge to peek for 25 minutes, when you will have golden brown, crunchy on the outside chewy on the inside, delicious bread!
This bread just begs to be eaten warm with butter, jam, olive oil, cheese, whatever your fancy! I just know this homemade baguette will kick up your Valentine’s Day – or any day!- dinner!
Whole Wheat Baguette (makes 2 baguettes)
Recipe via Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day <—-check it out!!
1 1/2 cups 110 degree F water
3/4 tablespoons granulated yeast
3/4 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups freshly ground hard white wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
To prepare the dough:
Combine the water, yeast, and salt in a large 5-quart bowl.
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.
Cover the container with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-5 hours – until it begins to collapse or flatten on top.
To shape the loaf:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and an empty casserole dish on a lower shelf.
Divide the dough in half. Dust work surface lightly with flour. Form the portion of dough into a ball and then stretch and form until the baguette is your desired shape and size. After forming the baguettes, the dough can rest from 5 to 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the loaf with water. Then, using a serrated bread knife make a few slices across the top of the loaf.
Slide the loaf onto the hot stone. Add 1 cup of water to the casserole and immediately shut the oven door. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and crust is firm.