Whole wheat french bread is so versatile. You can eat it plain, with butter, as garlic bread, dipped in soup, as french bread pizza, you can even use leftover french bread to make croutons or bread crumbs. No matter how you eat it, you are going to love this crusty french bread recipe!
About this whole wheat french bread recipe
This recipe is all you’ll need to try all of these things. It makes two loves of slightly sweet, soft, french bread. I use half white whole wheat flour in this recipe because I try to add as many whole grains to our diet as possible, while still enjoying our food.
The trick to making a light and fluffy whole wheat french bread is with the addition of vital wheat gluten. You can find it at your local health food store or on Amazon. We also include directions for kneading the bread 3 times during the first rise. This helps with the texture.
Lastly, we bake this french bread recipe with a pan of water in the oven. The added steam in the oven creates that chewy crust we all love on french bread.
How to make whole wheat french bread
- Start by dissolving the active dry yeast and sugar in warm water.
- Let it sit for a few minutes and then add your salt, vital wheat gluten, and 1//2 of the flour.
- Mix it all up and gradually add the remained of the flour until a soft dough forms.
- Knead the dough by hand for 12-15 minutes and in a stand mixer for 8-10 minutes.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Go back to your dough and knead 3-4 times every 20 minutes during this period.
- After you have allowed your dough to rise for an hour (including the 3 times you stopped to knead it), punch it down and divide it into two balls.
- Roll out each ball into a rectangle and roll it up lengthwise and taper the loaf at the ends.
- Cut 5-6 slits across the top, approximately 1/4 inch deep. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
- Gently transfer your two formed loaves to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with corn starch.
- Cover the formed loaves with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise again, until doubled in size. This should take 30-45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place an oven-safe dish filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven. The steam from the water will help to create a chewy crust.
- When your loaves have doubled in size, brush them with your egg wash and bake in the oven for 25 minutes – reapplying the egg wash halfway through.
- Allow your bread to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes prior to eating.
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What to serve with whole wheat french bread?
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 4 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast OR 2 (0.25-ounce) packets active dry yeast
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes. It should start to bubble up.
- Mix in 1/2 of the flour, and all of the vital wheat gluten and salt. Gradually add in the rest of the flour until a soft dough forms. You may not need all of the flour.
- Knead the dough by hand for 12-15 minutes or in a stand mixer for 8-10 minutes.
- Turn your dough out onto a flat surface (a clean counter top or large cutting board works well) and spray the entire loaf lightly with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise.
- Return to the dough approximately every 20 minutes and knead 3-4 times. Replace the plastic wrap each time - ensuring the dough is completely covered.
- After the dough has risen for 1 hour, punch it down and divide it into two balls.
- Roll out each ball into a rectangle and roll it up lengthwise and taper the loaf at the ends. Cut 5-6 slits across the top, approximately 1/4 inch deep. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and sprinkle with corn starch. Gently transfer the loaves to the cookie sheet and cover with greased plastic wrap.
- Allow rising until doubled in size, approximately 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place an oven-safe dish filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and milk.
- Once your loaves have doubled in size, brush them with your egg wash and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes - reapplying the egg wash halfway through. The bread should be golden brown.
- Allow bread to cool prior to serving.
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1/6 loaf
Amount Per Serving Calories 167Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 16mgSodium 186mgCarbohydrates 33gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 3gSugar 1gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 7g
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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