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Basic French Bread with Sprouted Flour

 

This recipes uses a poolish, a starter sponge similar to a sourdough starter but using commercial yeast. Creating the poolish gives the yeast time to activate before adding it to the flour, resulting in a springier, more robust loaf.

Ingredients are listed by volume and weight. Weighing ingredients for baking is more accurate, and yields fabulous baguettes, rolls, and buns every time! 

 

Poolish Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups sprouted wheat flour (193 grams)
  • 1¼ cups water (193 grams + 6 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon yeast


Dough Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups sprouted wheat flour (387 grams)
  • ¾ teaspoon yeast (3 grams)
  • Poolish
  • 1 cup water (213 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (12g) 

 

Instructions:

  1. Mix poolish ingredients and cover well with plastic wrap. Let rise for 12-14 hours at 70°F. 
  2. Measure flour and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix in yeast.
  3. Add poolish and most of the water; the rest of the water depends on dough stickiness, lean toward sticky dough. Blend ingredients enough to get all flour incorporated.
  4. Cover dough with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Let dough sit for 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove dough from bowl onto floured counter or kneading board. Pat down to pop bubbles. Sprinkle salt onto dough.
  6. Knead dough until strong but flexible, 12-15 minutes by hand. Once dough passes the window-pane test, kneading is complete.
  7. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until poofy: about 1 hour at 75°F.
  8. (Optional step) Place dough on kneading board and punch down. Fold 4 times (don’t knead) and place back in bowl for second rise (about 1-1½ hours).
  9. Preheat oven to 500°F. For best baking results let oven preheat for 1 hour, especially if you’ve placed a baking stone in the oven.
  10. Divide dough in half and pre-shape into baguettes. 
  11. Place baguettes onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and rise somewhere warm until full of gas (about 45 minutes).
  12. Score the dough and steam it by wetting the surface. Use a spray bottle, or sprinkle water onto the loaf with your fingers.
  13. Quickly put dough into oven and reduce temperature to 450°F.
  14. Bake 20-25 minutes. DO NOT open oven door for first 15 minutes.
  15. At 20 minutes test for doneness by inserting a thermometer into center of bread. It should read 190-206°F.
  16. Remove bread from oven. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack and cool before slicing.


                                                
   
French bread on wooden cutting board with knife on white background


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