Whole Wheat Baguettes

For the pre-ferment:

  • 1 cup (4 oz.) whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup (4 oz.) cool water, plus more as needed
  • Pinch of instant yeast

For the dough: 

  • All of the pre-ferment
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. (7 oz.) cool water
  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) orange juice
  • 1¼ (5 oz.) whole wheat flour
  • 2¼ cups (9½ oz.) unbleached bread flour
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 large egg white mixed with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
  • Water, for spraying

To make the preferment, combine the whole wheat flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl. If the mixture is overly dry and loose flour cannot be incorporated, add more water a teaspoon or two at a time just until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature.

To make the dough, combine the preferment in a bowl with the water, orange juice, wheat flour, bread flour, salt and yeast. Knead either with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 5-7 minutes.) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise 3-4 hours, gently deflating and turning once per hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough equally into three pieces and form each into a rough oval. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Working with one piece at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten, then repeat the fold and seal motions. With the seam side down on the work surface, gently roll the dough into a log about 16 inches long. Place the logs on the lined baking sheet spacing them at least a few inches apart. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Drape gently with well greased plastic wrap, making sure it does not anchor to the edges of the pan, and refrigerate overnight.

Let the loaves rest covered at room temperature for 90 minutes before baking. Place a baking stone on the middle shelf in the oven, if using, and preheat the oven to 425˚ F.

Just before baking, remove the plastic wrap. Slash the loaves diagonally with a sharp knife. Brush lightly with the egg wash. Spray the loaves lightly with water. Place the baking sheet on the baking stone. Let bake 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400˚F. Bake 10 minutes more, or until the loaves are golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the baguette registers 190˚ F. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.

From Annies Eats. Makes 3 baguettes

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