I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, and I would certainly never agree to one that involved less carbs. But more carbs, in the form of homemade bread? I could totally get on board with a resolution like that. For me, there are few things in the kitchen that I enjoy more than the act and reward of baking yeast breads. This is especially true during these cold winter months when baking bread fills the kitchen with warmth and amazing smells. It occurred to me that I have made three yeast breads so far this year, and that seems like a pretty good start to what could be an excellent habit. I’ve always been a frequent baker but I love the idea of bread baking being a routine part of my week, every week. Baguettes are an absolute staple in our house and I keep at least a few in the freezer at all times. With my continual efforts to do more and more baking with whole grains, it was definitely time to find a good wheat baguette recipe.

This version is precisely what I was hoping for. It has the same look and texture of the classic baguettes that I love, with a crisp and slightly chewy outer crust and a nice tender interior. It is a champ at soaking up delicious pan sauces, it makes excellent toast smeared with good butter and a sprinkle of coarse salt, and I’m dying to try it in baked French toast. So many reasons to bake it. What are you waiting for?

Ingredients

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

Directions

  • 01

    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 and no loose flour remains. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature.

  • 02

    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.

  • 03

    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.

  • 04

    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.

  • 05

    Before baking, 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.

  • 06

    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.

  • 07

    Notes:

    • If you work during the week and are relegated to weekend baking, start the pre-ferment on Friday night. You will make the dough and shape the loaves on Saturday, let rest overnight, and then bake on Sunday.
    • The orange juice in the dough helps temper the whole wheat flavor – you won’t taste any of the orange in the finished product.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8682/16175404966_7623b9f3a6_c.jpg
  • Those look awesome! Love the use of whole wheat, it adds such a nice flavor to homemade bread :)

  • Thanks for sharing this recipe! I am building up the courage to try yeast breads. I could probably eat bread as my main meal during these cold winter months in NY!

  • Shelby K.

    These look great! Have you looked into milling your own flour? You can’t beat the taste (or the nutrition!) Another plus is that you don’t have to cut it with any white flour!

  • Oh and I’m so excited to try these! For a little over a year I made your original baguette recipe weekly for my husband. Then we got a baby and I got stressed and it’s been rare since (he has to make do with your homemade burger buns for his daily sandwiches). I even tried to do wheat ones with little success. These look like less work (the instructions are shorter) so I hope to give them a try soon. Will probably make my husband’s day if he starts getting baguettes again!

  • I’m looking forward to trying this, Annie! Do you think it would matter if I used white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat? I try to use white whole wheat when I can to get my daughters used to whole wheat things. Baby steps :)

  • Ooh, I wish I had had one of those beauties alongside my chicken vegetable soup last night! I’m definitely going to try this soon!

  • Lydia

    Yes! I am super excited to try these! Going to start it tonight. What do you freeze your bread in? I make all of our own sandwich bread and just freeze them in plastic grocery bags because we use them so quickly. But for bread that might stay in the freezer longer, what do you recommend? Thank you! :)

  • Do you think using 3 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour (instead of whole wheat and bread flour) would work just as well? I prefer not to use any white flour if possible, so just checking!

  • annieseats

    No, unfortunately to achieve a good texture, the bread flour is necessary in my experience. It has higher protein/gluten content to give it that good chewy crumb typical of a baguette. I think 50/50 is the lowest I would go with the bread flour.

  • annieseats

    We use Ziplock freezer bags or a double layer of plastic wrap (I swear by Stretch Tite) and they do a fine job. I hate using the plastic but at least since it is just bread in a freezer bag, they can be reused several times.

  • annieseats

    You definitely could use either. However, these are really good and not too “wheat-y” even with the whole wheat so I don’t think the sub would be necessary. I use WWWF a lot of the time but I liked the whole wheat in this. But it would work either way. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    Not yet, though I may in the future. Good baguettes really still need the bread flour though – it is important to give them the right texture. I’ll have to look into milling!

  • Ok, thank you!

  • Meghan Jenson

    hooray for more carbs! hooray for eating everything :-)

  • Melinda Z.

    Oooh, totally making the pre-ferment tonight so that we can have French Dip sandwiches for dinner on Sunday!

  • Lydia

    Thank you! I feel the same about the plastic but haven’t found a better alternative yet. Although I did just see freezer tinfoil at the store… I wonder how that would work out!

  • I think I baked maybe one or two loaves of bread last year. Total. Which is definitely NOT ENOUGH. We eat a lot of bread with meals and I think I need to start saving money by getting back in the groove of making it myself. Starting with these baguettes!

  • This looks yummy! I love the smell of homemade bread!

  • Nancy MacGregor

    Hi Annie:
    I would love to try this recipe, however, I am allergic to oranges. Unfortunately, the recipe calls for oranges. Can I substitute something else in place of orange juice in this recipe?

  • annieseats

    Hi Nancy, sorry for the delay but I’ve been pondering how to best advise you. In this recipe, the purpose of the orange juice is to temper the flavor of the whole wheat flour. If there are other orange-related citrus fruits that you are not allergic to like tangerines or something, you could use that. If not, I would suggest using white whole wheat flour in place of the whole wheat for this recipe and using water in place of the orange juice. The WWWF has a much milder wheat flavor so doesn’t need tempering, but still contains the nutritional benefits of regular whole wheat flour.

  • Nancy MacGregor

    Hi Annie:
    Thanks for your reply and excellent ideas on how to attempt to make  the recipe without the use of oranges.   I am not allergic to lemons or limes but I suspect they maybe too strong to use in this recipe.   I  regularly use the new type of whole wheat flour that looks like white flour and perhaps I will attempt to use it versus the traditional whole wheat flour.   I will play around with this recipe and see if I can figure out something that will work. BTW – no need to apologize for the length of time for your reply.   I recognize we all have busy lives and demands on our time. Love your Blog, along with your excellent recipes.   My husband’s all time favourite recipe is your dip (the name escapes me) that calls for Italian sausage, cream cheese, and hot sauce – however, we have a hard time finding the Rotel tomatoes the recipe calls for – here in Canada –  so I substitute a medium  to hot salsa and the recipe is a big success. Thanks again for your reply.
    Yours respectfully,
    Nancy MacGregor