Whole Wheat French Loaf

At the outset, let me state that this is not an original recipe. It was inspired by Vaishali Honawar’s post in One Green Planet. However, I had to make several modifications to make it WFPB compliant. I must say that the end result was outstanding. While a little time consuming, the recipe is not difficult at all. The ingredients are all easily available and the process is fairly simple.

Ingredients
4 cups whole wheat flour
Salt to taste
2 cups mildly warm water
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
Method
Add to a mixing bowl, one cup of flour, yeast and one cup of water
Let it stand for 10-15 minutes till the mixture froths
Now add the remaining flour, salt and remaining water
Knead this mixture for about 10 minutes
The end result must be a smooth and elastic dough
Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl, loosely covering it with a kitchen towel
Set aside for about 2 hours for it to rise
Now punch the dough to remove the gases
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions
Let it stand for 10 minutes more, covered with a kitchen towel
Take one ball and punch it to remove the gases
Flatten the dough with your fist to form a 6 inch round (like a pizza base)
Now roll more than half of this round, using your knuckles to tuck the edge in
Repeat a couple more times till you have cylindrical shape with tapering ends
If necessary, pinch any loose ends with your fingers
The end result must be a cylindrical shape of about 6 inches length
Now use your palms and fingers (without any pressure) to roll the dough till you have a roll of about 12 inches
The roll should be even all over and tapering at both ends (apply a little pressure for the ends so that it tapers)
Repeat this process for the other ball of dough
Place both the rolls on parchment paper that has a sprinkling of wheat flour
Make sure that the rolls are about 4 inches apart as they will expand and rise
Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for about an hour
Using a very sharp knife, make 3 diagonal cuts on top of the loaves (do not deflate the dough)
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C for about 15 minutes
5 minutes before transferring the loaves, place a bowl of water in the oven (this ensures that you get a crusty bread and also bakes slowly so that the flavour is enhanced)
Place the loaves in the oven and close the door
Bake for about 30 minutes till the loaves are golden brown
Lift the loaves from the parchment paper to check if it separates easily (otherwise, bake a little longer)
Let it cool on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing
Serve with your choice of spreads and vegetables
Enjoy!


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