Monday, April 16, 2007

Doomed Whole Wheat Baguettes

Did you ever debate with yourself if you should continue on with a recipe, despite the obvious red flags popping up at every turn?

For the sake of my own education, I soldiered on with this recipe, taking short movies of the continuing downward spiral. It was a surprise, too, since the recipe originates in the brand new Bob's Red Mill Baking Book Mom and Dave sent me for my birthday. Oh well.

Here's the recipe, along with the accompanying short movies.

Whole Wheat Baguettes (The original recipe is for Rosemary Baguettes, but I opted out since John was my target audience, and he's not a fan of rosemary-scented anything.)


1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups hard white whole wheat flour
2 cups whole wheat flour


1. In your mixer bowl, dissolve the agave nectar into the water, then sprinkle the yeast on top and stir. Allow to stand until foamy, about five minutes. (The yeast proofed just fine for me, so it wasn't that.)
2. Add the salt and the hard white flour, stirring well.
3. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the whole wheat flour to form a stiff dough. (This dough was so stiff, I had to add some orange juice.)
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (By some miracle, I got to this point, but it took longer than 10 minutes, and many additions of liquid.)

5. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside and cover with a clean dish towel. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, approx. 1 hour. (It took closer to 2 hours, despite putting the dough on top of the running dryer.)
6. Line a 17 x 14 in. baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil and dust with cornmeal. (I used my new sandwich rolls pan from King Arthur Flour, coated lightly with vegetable oil.)
7. Punch the dough down, divide it in half and return it to the floured surface.
8. Shape each half into a long loaf. Place each loaf down on your prepared pan.

9. Allow loaves to double in size again, another 45 minutes. (Allow much longer than that. I actually let them rise 3 times.)
10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

11. Using a sharp knife, cut a slash across the top of each loaf, brush with water, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until brown and crisp. (It took closer to 30 minutes for my loaves to finish.)

12. Cool on a wire rack.

It was truly an exercise in patience. The bread was awful.
However, I will give Bob's Red Mill a second chance with another recipe since I really like their products.

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