I’m always baking bread. We rarely purchase it from the store because I make it so often. So, when I tell you this is a good bread recipe, you can trust me. It’s fluffy with a wet crumb, just like french bread should be, and it’s ready in one hour.
Now, in some circles, this would be considered whole wheat french bread, after all, it’s nearly half whole wheat, but I think that’s cheating. So, I’m calling it light wheat. You still get the benefits of some whole grains, plus the benefits of a great rise.
“Enough talking Amber!”
Okay. Let’s get to the recipe.
First. Combine 2 1/2 cups of warm water with 2 Tablespoons of yeast, 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Set it aside.
In a separate bowl combine 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 tsp of salt.
Now, heat up a cup of water in the microwave, this is relevant, I promise.
Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and slowly add your wet, mixing it all together like an Italian grandma.
…until, it has formed a very sticky, very wet ball. This should take about three minutes.
Now, remember the water? Take it out and discard it. Place a warm damp towel over your dough, and put the dough in the hot steamy microwave. You now have the perfect environment for a quick rise. Leave the dough there for fifteen minutes.
Fifteen minutes later, and voila! A beautifully risen ball of dough.
Take a handful of flour (equal to about a 1/4 cup of all purpose flour) and dust your hands and the top of your dough. Separate the dough into two balls, then elongate the balls into two beautiful loaves of bread. If you have never shaped no-knead dough before, check out my tutorial. Shaping it the right way makes all the difference. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your dough on it.
Now, to make your bread pretty, because bread is a work of art, dust the dough liberally with flour, dip your sharpest knife into more flour and slash the top. In case you can’t tell, flour and a sharp knife is the key to a good slash :)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. By the time the oven has preheated (about five minutes at my house), the dough will have risen, and it’s time for baking. Don’t put the bread in until it the oven is fully preheated or you won’t get as good of a rise.
Bake it for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and your home permeates with the beautiful smell of bread. If you like a crispier crust, then put a cup of water in your boiler tray at the same time you put the bread in the oven; otherwise, this makes a soft crust similar to what you find at the grocery store.
If you have the patience, let it cool before slicing, and you have two gorgeous loaves of light wheat french bread in just 60 minutes time.