Pain d’épi bread, also known as the wheat stalk bread is an impressive twist on the classic french baguette. It’s beautiful and stands out as part of a table setting for any event (or for just you)!
I was recently taking a glance through my cookbooks looking for inspiration on a bread recipe. I came across the Pain d’epi bread recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks – Bouchon Bakery and knew I had to make it. I wasn’t ready to tackle a Bouchon baguette recipe just yet because it’s been a very very long time since I’ve made baguettes (since school actually)! And if you’re familiar with Bouchon Bakery’s cookbook you’ll know you need a lot of patience, good quality ingredients, and advanced skills in the kitchen. But I would attempt a simple baguette recipe designed for the home baker and shape it into a beautiful tall wheat stalk!
Some of you are probably feeling a little intimidated by this bread, but if you’ve ever made any type of bread before then you can definitely make the Pain d’epi Bread too, and you’ll be happy you did (trust me it wasn’t that hard)! I’ve attached lots of pictures to help you along the way. I did find my scale came in handy though. It’s important when dividing the dough into thirds so they are the same size/weight, that way when you are baking the baguettes in the oven they will all bake the same.
Once you’ve proofed your dough, rolled it, and shaped it into long ropes (follow in-depth directions in the recipe, see below) it’s time for the fun part- making the baguette into wheat stalks! It’s as simple as cutting the ‘rope’ on an angle and twisting to the side, yup that’s it, just don’t cut all the way through! I was actually really nervous when I got to this point, because what if I messed up or if it didn’t look like wheat stalks? But it did and it was easy!
I kept peering through the oven door watching, waiting for the bread; it smelled amazing and I couldn’t wait to try it! It was perfect, soft and chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside!! I was so happy with the end result and glad that I tried something a little different! I paired the bread with a simple herbed butter that was to die for (click here to get the recipe). I hope the next time you’re feeling ambitious and want to try something new in the kitchen you’ll think to try a Pain d’epi Bread!
Pain D’épi Bread
Pain d’épi bread, also known as the wheat stalk bread is an impressive twist on the classic french baguette. It’s just so beautiful and delicious!
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 3 hours 30 mins
- Yield: 3 pain d'épi breads 1x
- Category: Bread
- Cuisine: French
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (approx. 115°f)
- 1 teaspoon (1/8 oz.) active dry yeast
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- oil, for greasing bowl
- In a large bowl whisk together warm water and yeast. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add flour, with a fork stir until dough forms. Let dough sit to allow flour to be absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add salt and transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth and elastic, approx. 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest until doubled in size, approx. 1 hour in a warm place (away from cool drafts).
- Once dough is double in size transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and shape into an 8″ x 6″ rectangle. Fold the 8″ sides toward the middle, then fold the shorter sides toward the centre (see the third image above for a reference). Cover with plastic again and let the dough rest, about 30 minutes.
- Turn on oven and heat to 475˚F. Place a large cast iron skillet full of water in the bottom of the oven, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet use a large pan (I used a large glass baking dish). This creates steam to helps the bread rise and makes a crisp crust (If you have a baking stone place it on the rack above the steaming water and use that to bake your bread).
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces; shape each piece into a 14″ rope. Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes, evenly spaced, on paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes.
- Once doubled in size, cut baguette into wheat stalks. Beginning 2 1/2 inches from one end of the baguette, hold a pair of scissors at 60-degree angle and make the first cut, leaving a little dough attached to anchor the leaf. Move the leaf to one side. Continue to the end of the baguette alternating the cuts from one side to the other (see picture above for reference).
- Place in the oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 30 minutes; cool before serving.
- Serving Size: per baguette
- Calories: 437
- Sugar: 4.3g
- Sodium: 1167mg
- Fat: 0.1g
- Saturated Fat: 0
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 95.8g
- Fiber: 4.6g
- Protein: 13.5g
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: Bread, Wheat Stalk Bread, French Bread, Yeast
As mentioned before this recipe is adapted from Saveur’s Baguette Recipe and you can learn more about bread making techniques from their short video (click here to see how).
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