How to Make A 100% Whole Wheat Baguette

"You can't make bread with with 100% wheat flour. Whole wheat bread has an undesirable flavor and dense texture," or so I've been told. 

You can't see me right now, but I have a curved smile and raised eyebrows because-guess who made an irresistible baguette with nothing but whole wheat flour. 


If I were in artisan breads class right now, here's how I would rate this baguette:
Texture: spongy
Crumb: semi-open
Crust: med. thickness, crisp
Flavor: slightly sweet, nutty
Best use: served with spread (butter, hummus, jam, nut butter, etc.)
Sandwich-able: heck yeah!

Below is a step-by-step guide (dedicated to whole grain health-nuts like myself) to making a 100% whole wheat baguette:

\\\\\\\\\\\

1. Whisk together warm water, raw honey, or yeast. Set aside for 8 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. 


2. Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the activated yeast mixture and mix until fully combined.



 3. Knead in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour for 6-8 minutes with a dough hook on medium speed or 10-15 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic (lets just say you will be completing your arm workout for the day). 


4. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in it seam side down/smooth side up. Lay a damp towel over the bowl and place the bowl in the warmest spot in your house or in a vacant oven for 1 1/2 hours.


 

5. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and fold it in half to punch the gas out. Then, rotate it 180 degrees and fold it again. Make the dough look nice and pretty again and put it back into the greased bowl seam side down. Re-cover with the damp towel and return the bowl to it's warm spot for another 1 1/2 hours. 


6. When time is up, take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a lightly floured surface with the seam side up and facing you. Use your fingers to press the gas out of the dough and shape the ball into a rectangle. Then, fold the rectangle twice (in thirds) toward you. Turn the rectangle over so the smooth side is facing you and set it over a flour-dusted dry towel on the bottom side of a sheet pan and cover. Put the dough back into it's warm spot for 20 minutes or until it doubles in size. 


7. Once again, flip the dough seam side up on a lightly floured surface and press down gently with your fingers (not the palms of your hand) until a uniform rectangle forms. 



  
You are going to fold the dough again (three times, this time) by placing the tips of your two index fingers and thumbs together to form a triangle. Starting from the center of the rectangle. Fold the dough over once, while keeping your fingers in a triangle to promote an even fold. Use your fingertips to press the seam.


 Then, fold nearly in half and (using your triangle fingers). Use your left hand to hold the dough in place and your bottom right palm to seal the seam. You should hear the gas bubbles popping!


For your last fold, repeat the last step (really making sure the last seam is sealed tightly, without allowing any flour inside). To taper the edges of the baguette, flatten your hand completely and slope diagonally down the edge of the baguette with firm pressure. 



To taper the edges of the baguette, flatten your hand completely and slope diagonally down the edge of the baguette with firm pressure. 


8.Generously re-flour the dry towel and put the pretty side down on the flour, leaving the seam side up towards you. Cover with the edges of the towel and put the shaped baguette in it's warm spot for 40-50 minutes or until it doubles in size. 


9.When the baguette is finished proofing, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and make sure that there are two racks evenly spaced in the oven. Prepare the "steam" by putting 1/2 cup ice cubes into a sauté pan. Do not put it in the oven until the moment you begin to bake the bread.


10. Flip it onto the bottom side of the sheet pan (no towel) with the seam side down again. There should be flour left on top of the baguette. Use scissors to score (cut) the top of the baguette at an angle. 



11. Immediately put the baguette in the oven after scoring (baguette on the top rack and "steam" pan on the bottom rack). 

Bake for 20 minutes without opening the door. After 20, remove the steam pan and continue baking for another 10 minutes until the baguette reaches a dark golden color. 




Technically, a baker's golden rule is: don't cut the bread open until it is cool. So if you would like to live by that, be my guest. Although, I must admit, nothing says comfort like freshly baked, warm bread. 


100% Whole Wheat Baguette 
Yield: 1 Baguette
Click here for full printable recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (108 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey or raw sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (split into two)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • Olive oil to grease 
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes 
  • A mixer with a dough hook attachment or your best tool: your hands

Storage: Keep bread sealed in plastic for 3-4 days or pre-slice and freeze for up to a month. 

SaveSave

17 comments

  1. This bread is fantastic! Thanks for sharing all of your awesome recipes. I have a question/challenge for you. Whole wheat ciabatta??? Possible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brent, I have yet to try whole wheat ciabatta, but it's got to be possible! I will put it on the top of my list of breads to make for my blog!

      Delete
  2. This bread is fantastic! Thanks for sharing all of your awesome recipes. I have a question/challenge for you. Whole wheat ciabatta??? Possible?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've found with whole wheat recipes (which is all I make anymore) that by the end of the second rise the yeast poops out and I don't get much after that. Your recipe involves four rises. Are the first two incomplete in that the dough has not yet doubled in size, or is a two-only rise simply not your experience? Also I typically prepare dough in the evening and let it rise slooowly overnight (with 1/4 or 1/2 the amount of yeast the recipe calls for), as I get better flavor this way. Is this allowed here? How would this affect the other rise times, if at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Terry! Thanks for asking these questions!

      I modeled the process used to make these whole wheat baguettes after the same process I was taught in culinary school to make standard "white" bread flour baguettes. I was taught that doughs need the single degassing that you are referring to along with the second rise. Then, the reason I let the dough rest after the pre-shape is to allow the gluten to relax enough for me to roll the dough into a long baguette shape without contracting. After rolling out the baguette, you have once again overworked gluten and degassed the dough, and you want it to re-build some of those gases before scoring and baking. Of course, since we are dealing with whole wheat flour, it will not rise as much as a white baguette, but it will rise just enough. I haven't tried this bread as a twice-rise, but I'll have to try that sometime very soon and write a post about it. Please let me know if you try this out too.

      I did, however, publish a recipe for a whole wheat sandwich loaf that was made using a twice rise here: http://www.alittlebaker.com/2014/04/whole-wheat-sandwich-bread.html. This dough is handled less than the baguette so it wasn't necessary to let it rest as much.

      I think overnight breads are great for developing acetic (complex, sourdough-like) flavors! Though I have not tried it with this recipe, I do believe it would work with some slight alterations. (Now I have 2 experiments to get started on!). If I were to approach this bread as an overnight bread, here's what I would do: I would use about 1/4 of the yeast in this recipe (so 1/2 teaspoon) and let it rest for 12-18 hours. Then, I would degas the dough, skip the second rise, and go straight to pre-shaping the dough. Then, I would continue to follow the recipe's instructions from there.

      Please let me know if you test either of these methods before I do! I would love to know how it turns out!

      -Jessica

      Delete
  4. Hi Jessica, I'm a novice baker - have made white French bread and banquettes with some success. But now I've ventured into whole wheat French bread at the S/O's request - he's pre-diabetic so we are watching the GI load. Is the reason for the honey/sugar for the benefit of taste, to enhance rising or something else? Your instructions are very clear but is there anything else you would suggest a wanna-be baker especially attend to?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda!

      I wrote a reply, but I don't think it published! So here we go again :)

      The sugar/honey in the recipe is used to feed the yeast and help it rise. It certainly is not necessary, but can also be replaced with stevia or a sugar replacer.

      As far as outside sites go for new bakers, I would definitely recommend turning to Kitchn. They provide easy to follow insight on both baking and cooking. Here's an article they have about the secret to making good 100% whole grain bread: http://www.thekitchn.com/the-secret-to-making-really-great-100-whole-grain-bread-183881

      My favorite how-to learning source will always be youtube. I was trained to make excellent bread by talented Chef Hits of https://www.youtube.com/user/breadhitz. He can provide you with top-notch instructional bread baking videos. This is his baguette shaping video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdNRogR10nM

      Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any further questions/comments.

      Happy Baking!
      -Jess

      Delete
  5. Hi Jessica - this says that it yields 2 baguettes, but the recipe never divides the dough in half. Is the 2 a typo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, It looks like you caught my typo! I just fixed the yield to 1 baguette. Thanks & happy baking!

      Delete
  6. Hi Jess. Thanks for the great recipe. I've tried your recipe thrice. All is good for my baguettes except its a little moist inside. Any suggestions? Not sure if its because I use indian wholewheat flour that's ground really fine. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joe! Thanks so much for reaching out, I'm so happy to hear you like the recipe!

      I have yet to use Indian Whole Wheat flour. However, I did a bit of research and found an interesting answer for you. Multiple sources state that Indian wheat flour aka Atta flour is actually more hydroscopic than french all-purpose flour. This means that Atta flour absorbs more moisture from the air and the liquid in the recipe, which I believe is the exact reason your bread is a little too moist! My suggestion to you would be to lower the amount of water in the recipe. I would probably start by decreasing it by 1/4 cup. Please let me know if you decide to try this and the results you get from it!

      -Jess

      Delete
    2. Thanks very much for reverting Jess =) I experimented a couple of days ago and reduced the water by 1/2 a glass and the result was a fail LOL. There were no lacy holes in my baguette. But I'm happy I still get a super healthy bread to eat. I'll try again with your suggestion above, thanks!

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. I'm so sorry to hear that the 1/2 water reduction didn't work out! Please let me know how the 1/4 cup reduction works out!

      Delete
  7. Hello, I was just getting ready to make this and noticed it calls for 1.5 cups of warm water for the yeast, but it looks like you are using less than 1 cup based on your picture. Is 1.5 the right amount of water? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Robyn! That's a great question! In my photo I was making 1/2 the recipe, but 1.5 is definitely the correct amount of water. Thank you & happy baking!

      Delete

© A Little Baker
Maira Gall