Classic Baguette with Whole Grain

Whenever I feel like being extra kind to Roberto I might make baguettes. Baguette is the bread most commonly eaten in Basque Country where Roberto comes from and at curtain days when his longing for Basque bread is to big, I make baguettes. In Basque Country you don’t call this bread “baguette” but instead “barra de pan”. Baguette is good with almost anything but my favourite way of eating it is with something warm that contains a bit liquid ( like with this recipe for pisto ).

To qualify as a baguette a quarter of the dough must rise for a minimum of 12 hours. In this recipe a quarter of the dough has rised for 18 hours but if you don’t have the time for that you can leave it for 12 hours.

When I make baguettes I normally use a combination of wheat flour and whole grain wheat flour. It seems to be impossible for me to make a bread without any whole grain. It is also nice to add some kind of seeds, like sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, to the dough. If you do that, make sure to add it in the end of the kneading process when all the gluten strands are formed.

As often when making bread, you will benefit by using a machine that kneads. There will be a tremendous difference in the result if you compare that with kneading by hand. But, if you are not an owner of one of those machines you should really make an effort to knead the dough properly. When making bread there are two important things to keep in mind. First it is the amount of flour you add to the dough. Be careful not to use to much since this will make the bread dry. The second thing is the kneading process. A dough that has been thoroughly worked through will result in a much better bread.

Classic Baguette with Whole Grain

Day 1

Ingredients

150 g water
5 g yeast
200g wheat flour
1 tsp salt

Method

1. Mix all ingredients without the salt and work it in a kitchen machine for 8 minutes or by hand for 15 minutes.

2. Add the salt and continue to work it for 6 minutes in the kitchen machine or by hand for 10 minutes.

3. When the kneading is finished you cover the dough with cling film and place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of twelve hours. It will be fine for up to 48 hours but personally I prefer not to leave it for longer than 24 hours.

Day 2

Ingredients

The dough from day 1
300 g water
10 g yeast
200 whole grain wheat flour
250 g wheat flour
10 g golden sirup
15 g salt

Method

1. Mix all ingredients without the salt and work it in a kitchen machine for 8 minutes or by hand for 15 minutes.

2. Add the salt ( and seeds if you are using some ) and continue to work in the machine for 6 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes.

3. Let the dough rest and rise for 2 hours.

4. Shape the dough into 5-6 baguettes and let them rise on a baking tray covered in baking paper for 1 1/2 hour – 2 hours.

5. Heat the oven to 250°C / 480°F and bake the baguettes for approximately 15 minutes.

Note 1: There are special baking trays for making baguettes on the market that will help you to receive a nice shape on your baguettes.

Note 2: When you place the baguettes in the oven a good idea is to use a spray bottle and sprinkle some water inside the oven before you close it. This will prevent the crust from breaking.

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