This French baguette bread is soft and chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside! Pain d’epi is a type of artisan bread that’s shaped like a delicate stalk of wheat. It’s fun to make and try something new with a classic bread recipe. Pair the bread with a simple herb butter, add to a cheese platter or serve as a side to your main meal. It makes a beautiful centerpiece on the dinner table and it brings an elegant touch to any dish.
Some of you may feel a little intimidated by this bread but if you’ve ever made any type of bread (especially a regular baguette) before then you can make the Pain d’epi bread too, and you’ll be happy you did (trust me it’s not that hard)!
Once you’ve proofed your dough, rolled it, and shaped it into long ropes (follow the in-depth directions in the recipe) 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!
A Pain d’épi bread is a simple baguette recipe, which means minimal ingredients. You can easily substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour but I wanted to create a recipe with ingredients that you will have in your pantry.
- Warm water
- Active dry yeast
- All–purpose flour
Tips For The Perfect Pain d’épi Bread
- Proofing time is a guideline only. No two kitchens are the same in temperature so use your discretion when the dough is properly proofed. It may take 1 hour or it could take 2 hours.
- Knead the dough thoroughly to develop the glutens but be cautious not to over-knead. A well-developed gluten structure contributes to a good rise and texture.
- Always keep the dough covered with plastic wrap or a lightly damp kitchen towel. This will prevent a skin forming on the dough.
- If you have a kitchen scale, use it! It’s important when dividing the dough into thirds that they are the same size/weight. This will ensure that all three baguettes bake evenly at the same time.
- When shaping/cutting the Pain d’épi use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors. And be very careful not to cut all the way through the loaf.
- Start with a higher baking temperature to encourage oven spring, then reduce it for even baking.
- Steam is crucial for a crisp crust. Create a steamy environment in the oven for the first part of the baking process. This can be achieved by placing a pan of hot water in the oven or by using a spray bottle to spritz the oven with water during the first few minutes of baking. This will enhance the crust development. Be cautious not to spray directly on the dough and be careful of letting the hot air out of the oven.
- Allow the Pain d’épi to cool completely on a wire rack. This helps to maintain the crust’s crispiness.
How To Make Pain d’épi bread – Wheat Stalk Bread
Step One: Make dough and let rest until doubled in size. 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. Cover with plastic again and let the dough rest, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces.
Step Two: Shape each piece into a 12″- 14″ rope. Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes evenly spaced on baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 30-45 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.
Step Three: Place in the oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 30 minutes.
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 active dry yeast
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- oil, for greasing bowl
- Make Your Dough: In a large bowl whisk together warm water and yeast. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add flour and salt, with a fork stir until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth, elastic and when poked with your finger the dough springs back, approx. 8 minutes. Or make the dough in a stand mixer using the dough hook.
- Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest until doubled in size, approx. 1-2 hours in a warm place (away from cool drafts).
- Shape Dough: 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. Cover with plastic again and let the dough rest, about 30 minutes.
- Second Shape: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces; shape each piece into a 12″- 14″ rope. Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes evenly spaced on baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 30-45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, turn on the 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 in the oven to create a crispy crust (If you have a baking stone place it on the rack above the steaming water and use that to bake your bread).
- Third Shape: 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.
Bread is best enjoyed the same day. Store in a bread bag or plastic bag at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- 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, Epi Bread
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).