This quick whole wheat French bread recipe has a light and delicate crumb and a wonderful French bread flavor. It’s one of the fastest French bread recipes I’ve ever made because the oven does all the work to eliminate the rise times.
Preheat oven to 175-degrees. It's the low heat of the oven at the beginning of baking that will take the place of the rise time.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour. Set aside.
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the honey and set aside until the mixture becomes foamy.
Place the salt and butter in a large bowl.
Pour the boiling water over the butter and stir until the butter melts. Pour in the cold water and then stir in the foamy yeast mixture.
Gradually stir in enough the flour mixture (approximately 5 cups) to the yeast mixture,
using a wooden spoon, until the dough is soft and supple.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and hand knead in enough of the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough into 3 equal portions and then roll each portion into a rough rectangle shape.
Brush the rolled dough lightly with water and then sprinkle lightly with the basil and garlic powder. Roll the dough lengthwise, and tuck the ends under to form a neat loaf.
Carefully transfer the prepared loaf to the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat the same process with the remaining dough. Use a sharp paring knife to carefully slash the tops of each loaf.
In a small bowl, stir together the egg and a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over each loaf and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake in a preheated 175° oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 400° and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Turn the oven temperature to 350° and bake the loaves for another 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden and the loaves sound hollow when tapped.