Whole Wheat Baguettes* - Yields: 3 (16-inch) Baguettes
These baguettes take 3 days to make, but are well worth it. Unlike regular baguettes, the crumb is caramel in color and littered with holes. If you decided to let it get crusty, which I highly recommend, it has a fantastic crunch. And to my surprise, it has a lightly nutty flavor that’s great for sandwiches. I suggest giving them a try.
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cool water
Pinch of instant yeast
All of the Pre-Ferments
¾ cups + 2 tablespoons cool water
¼ cup orange juice
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 ¼ cups unbleached bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
PREPARING THE PRE-FERMENT
Place all the ingredients for the pre-ferment into a small bowl.
Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until well blended.
Cover the bowl and let it rest overnight at room temperature.
PREPARING THE DOUGH
Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl.
Using a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed until it comes together. Then continue mixing for an additional 7 minutes.
Place the dough into a slightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Allow it to ferment at room temperature for three hours, gently deflating and turning the dough every hour.
Transfer the dough to a slightly floured surface.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape them into slightly flattened ovals and cover them loosely with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
While you are waiting, line a sheet pan with parchment, sprinkle with cornmeal and set aside.
Working with one piece at a time gently stretch into a rectangle, fold in half lengthwise sealing the edge with the palm of your hand. Gently roll the dough into a16-inch log. Place it on the sheet pan. Do the same with the remaining pieces.
Cover the loaves loosely with slightly greased plastic wrap and rest them for 30 minutes at room temperature. Then refrigerate them overnight.
The next day, remove them form the refrigerator and let them ferment for at least 1½ hours. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
Score the baguettes and place the sheet pan on the center rack baking for 18 minutes. Tent them with foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until nicely browned.
For a crispier crust, shut off the oven, crack the door open 2–inches. Transfer the loaves from the sheet pan to the oven rack and allow them to cool completely in the oven.
Best served day of, but can be wrapped and frozen, To refresh, wrap them tightly in foil and bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 8 to10 minutes.
*Adapted from: The King Arthur Flour Company Inc. Whole Grain Baking - Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (2006, 612p)