If you've never had a pain d'epi, this pull-apart baguette is intended to mimic the appearance of the flower of the wheat stalk, or "epi" in French. Each little ear of wheat can be easily pulled apart, which makes this bread shape ideal to pass around the table at dinner parties or picnics.
If you don't have time to create a sourdough bread starter, this overnight dough is the next best thing. Complete the first step of the recipe the night before, allowing the bread to ferment overnight. This imparts a slightly sour yet floral aroma and taste.
Creating the baguette shape may seem daunting at first, but the process becomes more natural by the second or third try. To spread the dough into a rectangle shape with an even thickness, press your fingers in the center of the dough and then slowly knead it outward.
To cut even epi pieces, maintain the same 45-degree angle and spacing between each cut, then use your fingers to alternate the side that each "wheat petal" rests.
The bread will rise when it cooks, so space each loaf several inches apart. To learn how to make these beautiful pain d'epi loaves, keep reading