Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Making Whole Wheat Mini-Baguettes

whole wheat mini baguettes 3
A while back, I posted about how much I loved Peter Reinhart's recipe for Pain a l'Accienne, which can be found in the Bread Baker's Apprentice. So much so that it has become our daily bread of choice. It's relatively simple to make, packs a ton of flavor and has a crust that is perfectly crisp and chewy (just how I like it).

whole wheat mini baguettes 2
In my quest to formulate a healthier version of this bread, I decided to introduce some whole wheat flour into the mix. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I am not a fan of whole wheat bread in general. In fact, it's usually the bread of last resort for me. Maybe it's because I grew up in an immigrant family that usually kept a baguette or two lying around (another reminder that Vietnam was once a French colony) but to this day, whenever I have a craving for bread I tend to reach for a loaf that is caramelized and rustic looking on the outside and pristine white on the inside.

whole wheat mini baguettes
When making these whole wheat mini baguettes, I used 7 ounces of whole wheat flour and 20 ounces of bread flour instead of the usual 27 ounces of bread flour. The good news is that the bread rose and baked perfectly despite the substitution. In fact, I think you could probably use more wheat flour in this recipe if you wanted to. The bad news is that while the flavor is still good even by my whole-wheat-hating standards, the bread is just not the same. That being said, I'm sure many of you whole-wheat aficionados would like this bread. Me? I'm sticking to the white stuff.

whole wheat mini baguettes 4
And did I mention that there is nothing better than eating freshly baked bread with a smear of creamy butter and a dollop of marmalade? I live for this.


  1. I'm with you Thomas, whole wheat in some recipes just doesn't end up as delicious as white flour.

    I learned that lesson on a recent apple pie. I know it's not a success when I devour the filling and leave the crust. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  2. These baguettes look very, very delicious!
    I don't mind the whole wheat, or white bread flour, as long as it is home made.
    I was thinking about doing a bread post soon, but every time I make it, I am in flour up to my neck and taking camera in hands is last thing on my mind.

  3. Too beautiful. What wonderful memories for the boy.

  4. I'm officially challenging hubby to duplicate this photo... asap!

  5. Who can argue with a crust like that?

    Myself I make a wholemeal sandwich loaf most days (in a bread machine) but have started substituting 20% white. But no two loaves are exactly the same.

    Have you tried adding a tablespoon or two of buckwheat flour to your white loaf? It adds that certain.... something to a chewy loaf, almost like a catalyst.

  6. I think I just drooled all over myself. As a carb fanatic, that bread looks absolutely delish! I wish it was smell-o-vision!

  7. That looks beautiful! I love a beautiful crust and a light inside as well. I do bake with whole wheat but I alternate with batches that are not. My husband definitely prefers non whole wheat and I have to be light in my use of whole wheat as a result. This looks like a nice blend of both and I should give it a try.

  8. Mal - No, I've never tried buckwheat flour. I've been meaning to expand my knowledge of different flours. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to look for some.

  9. Oh how I wish I could do that everyday. That bread looks simply amazing!

  10. I have a book I ordered a year or so ago, called The Tassajara Bread Book. I keep coming back to this post and drooling, I think it may be the nudge I need to crack open my bread book and give a recipe a try.