The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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lolo's picture

Pain a l'Ancienne

I've decided it's time to jump into breads, and what better way than BBA?  After reading most of the book I decided that this would be a great first bread to try.  I was SO happy with the flavor and the crumb; I've never ever made bread that tasted so good or had such a nice texture.  It really was "creamy and cool" just as it should be.  The crust even crackled as it was cooling!  How fun!!  Not bad for my first shot at "real" bread.

Pain a l'Ancienne - Crumb


I think I could stand to make a slightly less hydrated dough next time (I think I added too much water, then was adding flour like mad to compensate) and gain some height without giving up the overall quality of the bread.  The bread spread out while shaping, causing me to curl it under a little, which created veins of uncooked flour on the undersides of some of the loaves.  A stiff brush removed most of it, but still, who wants a mouthful of flour?  If I can figure out how to use less flour without the dough sticking like crazy, I'd be set.  The excess flour burned up in the oven and I nearly smoked myself out of my kitchen.  I also need a much larger baking stone, as I could only fit two loaves at a time, which really lengthened the whole process.



"Shaping" the "loaves" "Shaping" the "loaves"

I made the dough around 11 pm and took it out of the fridge at 9 am.  I put it in the oven a little after 12 (even though I wasn't sure it had actually doubled yet... I didn't want to overproof it and end up with even flatter dough...)  I tried to score the first two loaves with a lame, but that was hopeless.  I moved on to sharp scissors like the book suggests, and while that worked better, you could hardly see the cuts on the final loaves.  I skipped that step altogether on the last two loaves and it seemed to work out fine.  Maybe if I make the dough a little drier next time the slashing will work out as well.

Overall I'm really, really happy with these, especially since it was my first try.  It was absolutely the best tasting bread I've ever made.  I can't wait for my whole wheat starter to be ready so I can get going on some of the recipes in his Whole Grains book as well!

Pain a l'Ancienne
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