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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whole Wheat Baguettes

I offhandedly mentioned to Ryan that I was thinking about baking some homemade bread to accompany our pasta dish (posted yesterday) but then I kind of let the idea slide. However, Ryan mentioned it a few times leading up to that dinner and I knew he was wanting some homemade bread...and who am I to deny him that? I take a lot of pride in making bread from scratch. Yes, it's a lot more time consuming and the results aren't always perfect, but there's something satisfying about biting into a warm loaf that I kneaded (er, with the help of my kitchen aid mixer!), shaped, and patiently allowed to rise.

This was my first attempt at baguettes and I was pleased with the results. It was a little heavier than your standard bread, which I attribute mainly to the whole wheat flour. This yielded two medium sized loaves that, when all is said and done, weren't much more difficult to prepare than driving to the store and picking out my own. I can't wait to keep experimenting with different kinds of homemade bread!

Whole Wheat Baguettes

-1 pack active dry yeast
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-pinch ground ginger
-1 1/4 cup warm water
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups bread flour
-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
-cornmeal (to dust baking sheet)

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast, brown sugar, and ginger in warm water. Allow to dissolve (about 5 minutes) until yeast foams.
2. Add salt and bread flour, beating well. Mix in whole wheat flour until a stiff dough forms.
3. Knead for 10 minutes (or use your kitchen aid mixer & dough hook to knead!) until dough is springy, smooth, and satiny.
4. Grease a large bowl and place dough in it. Let dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch dough down, divide in half, and shape into two loaves. Place on a greased and cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet.
5. Cut 4-5 slashes into each loaf with a knife. Allow to rise again for 45 minutes.
6. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until browned and crisp. Serve immediately or allow to cool before wrapping and storing.