What is the deal with this cold weather?? “Arctic air mass drives through the south” says one TV station. Wrap water pipes, leave faucets dripping, cover outside plants? What? It’s not very often that my part of the south hears things like this and that’s one of the reasons I like it here so much. Long summers and mild winters are right up my alley. But I guess we need some below freezing weather every once in a while to kill all the mosquitoes.A funny thing I have noticed is the increased number of people jogging or walking or riding their bikes when the weather is really cold. That’s right, increased. When I’m out with the dogs in the mornings I see them coming by and I’ve decided it must be people from the northern climates who are just trying to show us what wimps we are for staying inside when its 15 degrees outside.
Well, they can have the cold. I’m staying inside to bake. And here is one of the things that came out of my oven this weekend, Harvest Grain Wheat Baguette. Lately, I have been using the bread recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. It isn’t quite as quick and easy as it sounds, you do have to spend a little time mixing the initial batch of dough, and the five minutes a day don’t include resting and baking time, but it makes it so easy to have dough around so you can bake bread every day if you want. The recipes in the book all use the same technique for mixing the dough without kneading, letting it rise, and then refrigerating it and using pieces of the dough over as much as two weeks’ time. Once you have the technique down, you can pretty much make any type of bread this way. It works great and the bread is delicious.
I used the Light Whole Wheat Bread recipe in the book as the starting point for my baguette dough. The whole wheat flour I used was Organic 12-Grain Flour Blend and the grain mix was Harvest Grains Blend, both of which I ordered from King Arthur Flour. You could use any whole wheat flour and add in any kind of grain to the dough that you have, though. I’m planning to bake some of this in a loaf pan tomorrow and use it for sandwiches.
Harvest Grain Wheat Baguette
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
makes four 1 pound loaves
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup seed and grain mix, plus more for the topping
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for the pizza peel
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour
- Mix the yeast and salt with the water in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large storage container if mixing by hand, then add the grain mix.
- Mix in the remaining dry ingredients with the dough hook or a spoon just until incorporated.
- Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, about 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after this initial rise, or refrigerated in a lidded storage container to use over the next 14 days.
- On baking day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
- Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1 pound (grapefruit size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Once it’s cohesive, begin to stretch and elongate the dough, dusting with additional flour as necessary. Roll the dough back and forth to form a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter. Place the loaf on a pizza peel generously dusted with whole wheat flour and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, paint water over the surface of the loaf with a pastry brush. Slash the loaf with diagonal cuts using a serrated knife. Sprinkle with the grain mix and press in very lightly.
- Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm to the touch.
- Allow to cool on a rack before cutting or eating.