Lately I’ve been cutting carbs…into slices, wedges, cubes, quarters, halves, and sometimes just in random pieces when I’m cooking something that will be blended or puréed later. Come on guys. I know a vegan keto diet is possible to follow, but it’s something I don’t want to do anytime soon!
But anyways, onto the subject matter: Bread. Ah, our toasty, comforting, gluten-laden, fluffy, aromatic, and carb-central f(r)iend who basically can ruin our summer shredded diet in a snap. For a while, bread was demonized in the health community because gluten was also demonized. But obviously, we’ve learned that gluten is only a concern if you have Celiac disease or any other medical condition where gluten poses a problem to your health. Luckily, we’ve moved past that stigma, but that didn’t really entail us to load up on the bread just yet.
Selecting bread brands can be tricky. A lot of them contain a hefty amount of salt, hydrogenated oils, and other ingredients that are necessary for prolonging shelf life and optimizing quality, but are definitely not necessary to have in your diet on a regular basis. Fortunately, you have the option of making your own bread. By doing so, you reduce acquisition of packaging, save money, take on a fun project, and fill your kitchen with the most glorious aroma when baking.
I want to make a separate post about how I learned to bake bread and what I learned from it. Truth is, bread-making taught me a lot more than what it was meant for—to make delicious bread. I had to force myself to be SUPER patient in proofing and baking. My precision in my measurements and shaping is more cautious than ever. I became accustomed to accepting the fact that bread-making is incredibly messy, so I dread cleaning in the kitchen marginally less.
Come to think of it, this is probably the FIRST “unhealthy” recipe (I quote because healthy and unhealthy are completely subjective) I’ve ever posted. Okay, it DOES contain whole wheat flour and it’s oil free, but it’s still primarily composed of refined carbohydrates. We’re calling it “healthyish” for that matter. My platform ALWAYS prides on cooking with primarily nutrient dense ingredients that are natural and wholesome with few exceptions. But, I’m really pushing it with this post because I absolutely FREAKING LOVE making bread. It’s taught me patience, learning to cope with cooking errors, precision, and problem solving. Plus, this recipe doesn’t have to be made with bread flour. You can use white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or any other whole grain flour that’s viable for the entire recipe.
I’m really sorry to those of you who cannot have gluten, though. I don’t have a bread recipe for you yet! Hopefully I will come out with one very soon!
- 425 grams of bread flour
- 200 grams of whole wheat flour, can also use white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 packet (7 grams) of dry yeast
- 13 ounces of water
- 1/2 ounces of salt, around 1 TBSP
- 1/2 ounces of sugar, around 1 TBSP
- More flour for dusting
- Mix in your flours and yeast in an electric mixing bowl.
- Add in the salt and sugar.
- Using the bread mixing whisk (should look like a spiral) on your electric mixer, blend the dough on low power. While the electric mixer whisks away, slowly pour in the water.
- Continue to mix for 20 minutes. PRO TIP: you know when the bread is finished once you break off a piece, flatten and squish it, and are able to stretch it out without it ripping.
- Remove the dough from the electric mixer.
- On a flat surface, gently toss the dough until it forms a ball shape.
- Coat the dough ball with some water and proof in a separate bowl (covered) for 2 hours, or until the dough triples in size.
- Preheat an oven to 400F.
- Lightly flour a flat surface.
- Remove the dough from the bowl. If there are some wet parts on the dough, pat them in flour.
- Cut the dough into four separate pieces.
- Roll out each quarter into a long worm-like shape. If desired, cut the roll in half.
- Pinch and flatten the cut end of the roll, then curl it forward and pinch tightly to integrate back into the dough. Roll it to round the end if necessary.
- Repeat with the whole baguette—pinch a small portion of the side of the dough facing away from you. Curl back and pinch tightly to integrate into the dough. This will help round your baguette shapes. Repeat until you have completed the whole baguette piece.
- Complete steps 11-13 until all your baguette rolls are ready. My batch made eight baguette sticks.
- With a small knife, form little, well-separated incisions into each roll to replicate the open pockets on a baguette.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper. I used two since eight wouldn’t fit, but you may have to use more or less baking trays depending on the size of your oven and what you have.
- Spread each baguette on the baking trays.
- Coat each baguette top with water—the tops should look shiny. This allows the bread to crisp its exterior and steam while baking.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. The bread will be done once it is golden brown on the top, the bottom is nicely browned, and the bread feels hollow and light inside. For accuracy, cut into a small piece of the bread—if the dough should be soft but not raw or too dry.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 7-8 minutes.
- Enjoy right away or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. But trust me, you’ll want to eat them all on the spot!
Would you ever try baking your own bread? What are your favorite brands/types of bread?