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P Reinhart's Pain å l'Ancienne > hand mixing

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ohhcrumbs's picture
ohhcrumbs

P Reinhart's Pain å l'Ancienne > hand mixing

It's my first time with this recipe. I don't have any electric tools so have to do the mixing by hand. I would love some guidance with a couple of issues...

I'm concerned about what will happen to the dough temperature during 10 mins(?) of kneading/mixing with my (warm) hands. Will this be an issue? If so, could I use Dan Lepard's technique of turning the dough 10 times then resting for 10 mins (x3) -- resting it in the fridge??

Earlier in the book Peter states that it isn't really possible to over mix a dough by hand. But I'm wondering how to know when this dough is sufficiently mixed. His recipe refers to it releasing from the sides of the bowl of an electric mixer... but there is no reference for what to look for if mixing by hand.

Cheers

yy's picture
yy

I think using more frequent stretch-and-folds rather than 10 minutes of mixing/kneading is a great way to go. Because pain a l'ancienne uses a long, overnight retardation step, time will help you accomplish the necessary degree of gluten development (same concept as no-knead bread). I don't know that overheating is that big a concern. It's just that there's no need to mix by hand for 10 minutes with this type of bread.

I would say to initially mix the dough until it's uniform - no dry lumps of flour or clumps of yeast. It should look somewhat rough. Don't worry about it releasing from the sides of the bowl. As you stretch and fold, you'll notice it gaining more smoothness and structure, and sticking to the bowl less.

Also, you may find that you need to do a couple extra stretch-and-folds to gain the desired dough strength.

ohhcrumbs's picture
ohhcrumbs

Thanks yy

That makes sense to me. You would suggest this for all "rustic" loaves, would you?

yy's picture
yy

It's a matter of personal preference - For "rustic" loaves, I prefer to do more stretch and folds and a limited amount of mixing. I like the crumb better when I develop the dough this way. That's not to say that it's more correct to do it this way.

PDLarry's picture
PDLarry

I just made that 2 days ago for the first time. I mixed by hand with a spoon, for a minute, until blended, and let it sit for 5 minutes (autolyze?) Then I transferred it to a lightly oiled bowl and did 4 stretch-and-fold's at 10 minute intervals. That did the trick--I was amazed at how much the s-n-f did. Each time the dough felt stronger, and then I covered it and put it in the fridge.

The other interesting thing I found was that there was virtually no shaping or second rise. Once the dough had a chance to de-chill, it was cut, stretch and bake.

Turned out pretty well :) Pics here.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Mark Sinclair (mcs on TFL) made a really nice video demonstrating the "stretch and fold in the bowl" technique. That would be very appropriate for your situation. Mark does his initial mix by machine, but you can do it by hand. Also note that a 20-60 minute autolyse after mixing the water and flour but before adding the salt and yeast would help.

Here is a link to Mark's video: NoKnead.html

Hope this helps.

David

ohhcrumbs's picture
ohhcrumbs

Many thanks for all your advice (to my first post on this fab site). I had already done 10 mins of hand kneading when I wrote my original post and I'll bake that dough today. I will immediately start another batch using the folding technique and am pining my hopes on THAT result. I hope I can reward your efforts with a worthy photo... I'll do my best. Cheers

ohhcrumbs's picture
ohhcrumbs

This was the 2nd try with PRs Pain a l'Ancienne. To be honest the results were pretty dreadful, but the night is young! and I am determined to make a decent baguette. The important thing is I had great fun making these. The kitchen has never been in quite such a mess. This is my dough just before I tipped it out to start "shaping". Ha! WAY wetter than anything I've ever "worked with" (read: poured into a basket). Accidentally added too much water making it 84% hydrated.

Because I found it so hard to handle I only attempted 2 baguettes. They went into the oven on parchment paper which accounts for the difference in colour along the sides of the loaves: it's pale where the paper was sticking to the loaves.

  

Taking them out too soon didn't help. The crust was soft and the crumb was spongey. Not delicious (!) but we did eat them. The crumb on all the bread was under baked and I'm hoping that accounts for the lack in flavour.

I made 4 loaves with the remaining dough.  They looked better than the baguettes. The crust on this one was by far the best

Here are the others

I think the lot looks a lot better than it tasted and I should have taken a photo of the kitchen--that would have been more entertaining... but I am looking forward to getting back in there soon. Don't give up on me!  Cheers  : )

 

yy's picture
yy

"dreadful" is way too harsh! Pain a l'ancienne is meant to have a rustic texture and appearance, more like ciabatta than a baguette. If your goal is to make a classic baguette, I would go with a more standard recipe at 66% hydration so that you can practice shaping and slashing without wrestling with runny, loose dough.

ohhcrumbs's picture
ohhcrumbs

Good idea. I like the sounds of that more standard baguette very much. May I lean on you for a little more advice? Would you be able to suggest a good "more standard recipe" at 66%? A nice robust one for a newbie!  ; )  Is PRs BBA recipe a good place to start???

Over time, I'd love to achieve a very open texture and crispy crust. Yum. I gather that will involve quite a high hydration (?) Thanks again. I really appreciate your help.

ps. It so happens I'm also keen on Japanese milk bread and I know I'll have questions about that > Don't let me abuse you! Cheers

yy's picture
yy

I don't recall whether Peter Reinhart's BBA recipe is a standard baguette recipe, but I would recommend Jeffrey Hamelman's "Baguettes with Poolish" formula. I've found that Peter Reinhart's books are a great place to begin, but it's easy to outgrow them if you want to start getting more serious. For one thing, BBA doesn't show baker's percentages, which is the basis of beginning to understand bread.

I would highly recommend using the search bar on the upper left. There has been so much great content contributed very skilled bakers over the years. Think of this site as an encyclopedia as well as a forum.

ohhcrumbs's picture
ohhcrumbs

That's all the excuse I needed so I've finally ordered a copy of Jeffrey Hamelman's book. And I will keep using the encyclopedia. So many resources, so little time! (But a great problem to have.) Cheers

yy's picture
yy

You won't regret it! It's a common go-to book for reliable formulas. Regarding a good baguette formula, you might actually want to try the baguette with pate fermentee formula first instead of the baguette with poolish formula. The latter gives you a slightly slacker dough, which presents more a challenge when you're practicing your shaping skills.

Colin2's picture
Colin2

... in beige boxes in the margins.  For every recipe.  He also includes 5 intro pages on %s.

yy's picture
yy

Oops! You're totally right. It's been a while since I've cracked that book open.

PDLarry's picture
PDLarry

I  don't think they were dreadful at all!

The dough was so crazy wet, I made ciabatta with the other half! There was no "shaping" to speak of on mine "baguettes"...

I came across a "ciabatta shaping" video on youtube that gave me some ideas about handling wet dough. Lots of flour and very delicate touch.

So attacking classic baguettes next.

 

Lodro's picture
Lodro

I do my pain a l'ancienne in the simplest way. Mix a dough with 80% hydration, let it ferment over night, at as low a temperature as I can make it without disabling the yeast. Then I take it out the next day, give it a few times stretch and fold. Pre- shape on parchment, then before the oven, I fold them lengthwise once more and bake. I think the ancienne method is quite magic.