The Fresh Loaf

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Multigrain Pain a l'Ancienne

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hanseata's picture
hanseata

Multigrain Pain a l'Ancienne

I'm baking my own version of Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne (from the BBA) regularly for three years now, it is a hot seller at our local natural food store. Since I wanted my bread to be a little healthier than 100% white, I substitute 100 g of the bread flour with whole grain flour, either rye, whole wheat, oat, spelt, corn or buckwheat. I also add a little sourdough just for the taste, and found the right baking technique for my oven. Thanks to DonD's - and others from TFL - advice to leave the breads for 5 minutes in the switched-off oven with the door slightly ajar, the crust comes out perfect now - and stays crisp for several hours.


After trying DonD's version of Pain aux Cereales (and loving it) I thought of doing something similar with my organic 7-grain mix (rye-, wheat-, barley chops, cracked corn and oat, millet and flaxseed), but in a simpler way that would better fit my time schedule, to be able to sell it. So yesterday morning I made a soaker from 100g multigrain mix and 100 g water. In the evening I mixed it with all the other ingredients and placed the bowl in the fridge overnight. I took the nicely risen dough out this morning at 4:00 am to de-chill and rise somewhat more. Three and a half hour later, with the Vollkornbrot already in the oven (I start with the breads that bake at a lower temperature), I divided the dough, placed the pieces in perforated baguette pans and let them proof for another 1/2 hour more until the rye breads were done and the oven reheated to 550 F.


I bake my Pains a l'Ancienne for 9 minutes, with steam, then rotate them, remove the steam pan, and continue baking for another 8 minutes, keeping the breads 5 minutes longer in the switched-off oven with the door ajar, before they are cooled on a rack. My oven is very well insulated (no steam escaping unless I open the door) and I bake with convection (fan-assisted, not "real"), since I bake on two shelves.


This is the result:





This one we kept and had for lunch, the others are sold. My husband's comment: "This is the best Pain a l'Ancienne you ever made".


 


 


 

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

What percentage whole grain does your 100 g amount to?


Adding 10% rye and 20% sourdough starter to Anis Bouabsa's baguettes was the genesis of my San Joaquin Sourdough. The "final step" was to leave out the instant yeast altogether and rely on the levain to raise the dough.


David

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Karin,


My that is one fantastic looking bread! I really like the way you have been able to get such a strong crust with a good, open crumb. The nearest I have come to this is on Pierre Nury's rye, which has an open crumb and walnut coloured crust. Should try more pain à l'ancienne. I bet it tasted great.


If I saw that in the local health food store I'd certainly buy it! Even though I haven't been baking long it's sad sometimes to see what passes for 'artisan bread' in some of the British stores. I have to say there are some great bakeries here but the really good stuff isn't widely available yet. Your customers as well as your family must have been very pleased when those appeared!


Kind regards, Daisy_A

arlo's picture
arlo

The crumb is wonderful with those flecks of grains. This is a pain a l'ancienne I would really love to try if I found one at my Coop. Excellent color too!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

loaves, Karin. Beautiful shape and gorgeous crumb. No wonder they are so popular. Are they pure sourdough?

hanseata's picture
hanseata

David, guess what I'm just making: your San Joaquin Sourdough with 65% hydration - the dough ferments right now in my refrigerator!


My pain a l'ancienne has 87% bread flour and 13% whole grain flour.


Louie, I add only 25 g of whole wheat sourdough starter, just for the taste. Though I like the idea of sourdough only, in order to get the breads done in time to deliver them to the store, I have to rely on additional yeast. For myself I love baking 100% sourdoughs.


Before I learned from you guys some tricks to make a baguette with a great crust, my pain a l'ancienne was the only one that (after doing it so often) had a really good crust (and good taste). With my other French bread trials (from BBA) I was never 100% satisfied.


Karin


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Karin.


Please let me know how your SJ SD turns out.


I have some dough in the fridge myself. I mixed the dough Friday morning and will bake it Sunday morning. My latest tweaks are to use a liquid levain at 125% hydration rather than the 75% hydration of the original, and I am playing with longer cold retardation. I've make a couple batches fermented for about 36 hours. I'm going for 48 hours this week.


I've been surprised that there has been little gluten degradation with the longer cold fermentations. And the flavor is superb with more of a sourdough tang.


If you have the refrigerator space, I think this approach would work well for a small-scale commercial baker. Having the dough ready to go - about  150 minutes from refrigerator to cooling rack - with a large time window for starting the divide to bake process is appealing.


David

wally's picture
wally

Karin.  And I applaud you for slashing them.  I've given up with pain a l'ancienne. Your thoughts about using some non-AP flours and a bit of sourdough are very much in sympathy with Sam Fromartz's own parisian baguette recipe which uses a little whole wheat and a little sourdough as well.


For a long time I was a baguette purist - nothing but white flour, salt, yeast and water.  But looking at loaves such as yours I'm starting to see that there's a world of tasty possibilities out there!


Larry

hanseata's picture
hanseata

David, I actually fermented the dough longer than 20 hrs.. Since the dough didn't seem to have developed enough in the refrigerator yesterday, I kept it for another 24 hrs., trusting in the sourdough's ability to do its job, even if it took longer. This morning it had risen by ca. 50% and showed some bigger and smaller bubbles. I took it out because we will be out of town tomorrow for several days, even though it didn't quite match your description of how it should be. (But I believe I could have even left it for another day in the fridge).


It proofed nicely and I baked it as you suggested, and left it 7 more minutes in the switched-off oven with door ajar. We had one bread for lunch, it was delicious and the crust was cracklingly crisp, even though the crumb cannot quite hold a candle to yours, David, Master Of The Holes (in a good way), but I think that was to be expected.


And you are right, now I can see the possibility to bake this bread for the store, too. Bigger or less big holes, this baguette was superior to anything you can buy in our area, even my favorite bakery in Portland (Standard Baking Co.) has not baguettes as crusty and tasty as these.


Larry, I like to experiment, therefore I thought I just try whether some whole grain flour would work for the pain a l'ancienne. And some sourdough addition never hurts. - My slashes sometimes work and sometimes the lame just snags and you don't see any result in the baked bread. When I watched some videos from TFL links I noticed that those French bakers slash more along the loaf, not across, and that seem to work much better.


Here are my San Joaquin Sourdoughs - I really appreciate your sharing those recipes including trial and error reports,


Karin




 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your crust looks thin and crisp - more like a classic baguette than I generally get. I think your crust and crumb results partly from your 65% hydration. None the less, you can get a very open crumb with this hydration level with good gluten development and firm but gentle dough handling.


My batch just came out of the oven.



David

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Karin