The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

XXXIII – My Take on Pain l’Ancienne by Flourish Craft Bakery

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lumos's picture
lumos

XXXIII – My Take on Pain l’Ancienne by Flourish Craft Bakery

 When I encounter really tasty bread from a bakery or at a restaurant, my usual reaction is ‘God, I want to make this myself!,’ and start going back and forth on my palate-memory lane, playing with formula in the attempt to re-create the flavour, aroma and texture I enjoyed.  Many of my bread recipes are born like that rather than following/adjusting the recipes I found in books or on internet.

 One of those breads I’d been trying to re-create was Pain l’Ancienne by a small artisan baker with amazing array of European (mainly French & Italian) breads, Earth Crust, a very popular bread stall at the Market in Cambridge town centre. I love the slightly chewy texture and its very open crumb. And of course I like the flavour but I wanted it to be a tiny bit more rustic/deeper than their verson, so I’ d been tinkering with the formula for quite a long time, not quite sure myself what sort of flavour-profile I want to achieve…..without just ending up with exactly the same formula of other breads I already had and liked, which  often happens with me. :p

Then, in February last year we went to have a lunch with our family friends at a lovely restaurant on the Thames in the southwest of London  after watching our daughter’s boat race on the river.  As soon as we ordered the food, a waiter brought a huge basket with breads of various kinds, and among them were a few slices of bread with very open, creamy coloured crumb & quite rustic looking dark crust.  Without any delay (nor manner), my hand bee-lined to grab the slice. As soon as I chewed into it, I knew. This is IT!! This is exactly what I wanted to achieve!  I asked the waiter where they got their bread from and this was the bakerery he told me and, by judging from the photo and the description on their website, I think what I had was Ancient Loaf (Ha! :D) from their ‘Long Fermentation Speciality Bread……probably.

Anyway, whatever the name was, my quest of re-creating it by tinkering the uncompleted ‘Earth Crust’s l’Ancienne’ recipe that I’d been playing with had began….and sort of completed in the early autumn last year.

 So this is my take on Flourish Craft Bakery’s Ancient Loaf/Pain l’Ancienne, though I’m guessing theirs is much higher in hydration than mine, from the look of their very open crumb with large holes.  I lowered the hydration to just a little over 70% because 1) I’d be using the bread to make sandwich for my hubby, so too many, too large holes might not be such a good idea, 2) I didn’t want the dough to stick to my banetton during proofing.  Also, according to their product list they only use wheat and rye, but I added small amount of spelt and wheatgerm for extra flavour…..plus a tiny bit of rapeseed oil for better keeping quality. I used rye sour as the starter to make sourdough because I know some traditional French bakers use it as their mother starter.

 

My take on Flourish Craft Bakery’s Ancient Loaf

    S/D   Rye sour 50g (75% hydration) fed, twice, with 140g strong white flour + 100g water during 14 – 18 hr period (or shorter or longer) before making the dough.

        Feed 1 – flour 40g + water 30g

        Feed 2 – flour 100g = water 70g

    (Note:  Only 240g is used for making the bread. Store the rest in the fridge as starter for next use.)

  Main Dough  

    Strong flour   570g

    WW  15g

    Spelt  15g

    Wheatgerm   2 tbls  

    Water   420 – 430g

    Sea salt   14g

   Very good quality rapeseed Oil (or extra virgin olive oil) 1 tbls

  1. Mix mature sourdough with all the flour, wheatgerm and most of water until no dry bits of flour is left.  Cover and leave for 30- 40 min.

  2. Sprinkle the salt over the dough with some of remaining water and S & F in the bowl until everything is thoroughly mixed and the dough becomes smooth. Adjust the hydration, if necessary, at this point using remaining water. (Don’t make it too wet because….→) Add oil and mix thoroughly, using S & F technique. Cover and leave for 40 min. (or maybe 30 min if you live in a warmer country than this freezing Britain! Brrrr….)

   3.  Two more S & Fs at 30-40 min interval.

   4.  Leave for 1 – 1 1/4 hr and let it increase in volume by about 25% at room temperature.

    5.  At the end of the above period, check the dough’s strength and, if necessary,  letter-fold once on a floured work-tup to strengthen the dough. Put it in the fridge for cold retardation for 12 – 18 hrs.

     6.  Take it out of the fridge and leave for 1 – 2 hr (depends on how cold where you live is…) to return the dough to room temperature (….and finish proofing, if necessary).

     7.  When fully fermented (you’d see a few large bubbles on the dough surface), divide into two, pre-shape, rest 15 – 20 min.

8, Shape, put in two banettons, cover (I use a shower cap) and proof.

     9.  Pre-heat the oven @240C with casserole/pot/Pyrex with lid.

    10.  When the is sufficiently proofed (finger test!), score the top and bake for 20 min with the lid.

   11.  After 20 min, remove the lid, lower the temperature to 210 – 220C and bake another 20 min.

    12. Turn the heat off but leave the loaves in the oven with the oven door slightly ajar for 5 min.

 

 

 

 

Comments

jeb's picture
jeb

Looks beautiful!

Thank you for posting the recipe.

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank YOU for your kind words. :) Let me know when you try the recipe.

varda's picture
varda

Hey Lumos, The trouble with having you back and posting is you keep distracting me.   I am in a home-milling and sifting mode.   I can't be bothered by baguettes and Pain L'Ancienne and so forth.   And yet....   All kidding aside, your bread looks amazing.   Thanks for posting the directions.   I'll have to try.   -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

LOL  same to you. Your breads with home-milled/shifted flour look so great and yummy and then, I don't have the machine or dedication to follow your way.  Wish you lived nearer.... ;)

Thanks for your kind words, as always.....well, usually..... :p

 

p.s.  You know what?  The next one I'm thinking of blogging about is yet another kind you're not really interested. Bagels. :D

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the kind of bread I want to toast on a grill and make bruschetta out of it!  Just lovely baking and I too am glad to see you posting now and again.

Nice baking

lumos's picture
lumos

It tastes best on the second/third day. On the fourth day the taste is even deeper but the texture may be too chewy for some people. (Not for me, though....)  After that, yes, you guessed it right, it's great for toasting and grilling. :) 

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful looking bread.  Your crumb and crust look perfect.

Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Regards,
Ian

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you for your kind words,Ian. :)

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi lumos,
Your bread is really beautiful.
Just recently I tried making Mr. Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne, once as the original version and a second time, using some whole spelt flour in place of white; have been wanting to make this bread again, really enjoying it.
Love how you started this off with rye sour - your recipe looks so interesting and what a gorgeous result!
I am looking forward to giving this bread a try.
:^) breadsong

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi Breadsong,

Really great to hear from you. Thank you so much for your comment.

Yes, adding a small amount of spelt does add extra flavour, so I do it a lot with many of my recipes...as you might've noticed already. ;)

Got the idea of using rye sour to build levain when I was 'researching' about Pain de Lodeve, found out 'a small amount of rye' actually came from rye starter from which they built their levain, not in the main dough flour mix. Also learned later that Eric Kayser kept rye sour to start start levain to make many of their breads.

Using rye sour as mother starter is quite interesting because because it produced quite different flavour profile than adding a same amount of rye flour as main dough ingredients.  It's milder (less acidic) and seems to make the flavour of resultant bread more rounded but with good body.  And the best thing about rye sour is it's so much easier to maintain than wheat based starter, especially when you're too busy to bake bread or feed the starter.  Throughly recommend it.

I am looking forward to giving this bread a try.

I look forwart to hear how you like the result......though I have a very strong feeling you'll come up with million times more beautiful loaf than I can ever dream of making myself....;) Let me know when you made it. :)

isand66's picture
isand66

Curious as to why you would say the rye starter is easier to maintain than a wheat based starter.  Can you elaborate?

I have done both types and didn't find the rye to be any easier.  I usually convert my AP starter to a rye starter when needed instead of keeping a separate starter.

Thanks.

Ian

varda's picture
varda

It's indestructible (as well as all the other good properties she mentioned.) 

lumos's picture
lumos

With wheat flour based starter, you really need to feed regularly to maintain its 'vitality' and the temperature you keep it can affect its states (like acidity, etc) as well. Yes, it's true you can revive the starter that's been neglected for a long time by feeding several times and refreshing it, but with rye starter you can neglect it for much longer period and still comes back to life much easily. Also I've found it's less temperature sensitive. In his book "Bread Matters" Andrew Whitley recommends to keep just rye starter if you don't want to keep two kinds, wheat one and rye one, and feed it with wheat flour to make wheat based levain when needed, because rye is much easier to keep.

Having said that, I usually only keep wheat flour starter and do exactly the same as you when I need rye sour. But last autumn there was a period I only kept rye starter after baking several rye sour bases breads, having had converted all my ex-wheat bases starter into rye starter, I found rye one is much more stable and resilient and easier to keep. Once I couldn't feed it for well over 2 wks, but it came back to ipfull life only after one feed and became perfectly useable.  It can never happen like that with wheat flour starter. I'd have to feed at least 2,3 times to bring back to just about use able state, not full strength. My German sister-in-law who's an 'occasional baker' often neglects her rye starter in the fridge for a few months and still can bake nice bread when she happens to feel like it. 

isand66's picture
isand66

thanks for the response.  I will keep that in mind for the future.  Will have to save my rye starter next time and see if it comes back to life easier.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi lumos

Great to see you posing again - and baking such lovely bread.  It looks up to your usual extremely high standard!

Best Wishes

Ruralidle

lumos's picture
lumos

Great to hear from you, Ruralidle. And thank you for your kind words. :)

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I bake Pains a l'Ancienne (based on Reinhart's from BBA) every week, but, like you, I use a small amount of rye starter for a more interesting flavor profile (I also substitute 10% whole rye flour for bread flour). Your bread looks really nice, and I'd like to try your formula.

Karin

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you Karin. Let me know when you tried this formula. Hope you'll like it, too. :)