Brown and crusty. Yes, yes, a description that usually wouldn't sound good unless applied to bread!

Whole wheat french bread

Bread. M loves bread and I needed bread for a savory bread pudding (post coming soon!); two great reasons to make french bread instead of buying it! This recipe was good enough to rank #2 on M’s bread scale…but he told me it still didn’t even come close. Top three?

M’s bread ranking:

  1. Maori bread
  2. Whole wheat french bread
  3. Coconut bread

So, this bread was good enough to rank! That’s exciting, at least. I try. 😉 I had never made french bread before this and it was relatively easy. The recipe below was adapted from this original found on My process was adapted after reading the comments.

You should note: the dough was definitely a stiff one – my Kitchenaid mixer motor almost over-heated while kneading it for me. So, if you’re using your stand mixer, keep an eye on it. I had to hand knead for the last 5-10 minutes.

The french bread was tender with a crusty outside. Delicious. Goes great toasted with butter! Or with jam! YUM! Have fun and enjoy!

I don’t keep bread flour on hand, I just add 1 tbsp of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour to make bread flour. 🙂

Loaves before the second rise.

After the second rise.

Pretty gashes!

Brown and crusty. Yes, yes, a description that usually wouldn’t sound good unless applied to bread!

Pretty loaves!

Tender insides!

What you need:
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 -5 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour *

What to do:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees F) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down and divide in half.
  7. Roll each half out into a rectangle and roll lengthwise to make 2 baguettes. Place each on a cornmeal lined silpat mat on cookie sheets.
  8. Baste with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
  9. Cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I used sharp knife).
  10. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm draft-free place 30 minutes or until doubled.
  11. Put oven racks in upper third of oven, and put a large roasting pan with 1 inch of water in it on the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F (the high heat definitely gives it a crunchy exterior). Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 min and reduce to 350 degrees F for the remaining time.

Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust.

*Add 1 tbsp of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour) to make bread flour

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