The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pain a l'ancienne

ringopaul's picture

Hello from Michigan's Upper Peninsula

September 1, 2012 - 11:27am -- ringopaul

Hey all,

I have been following TFL for months now and finally decided that there was no reason why I shouldn't join this wonderful community. Many of you have already unwittingly helped me on my quest to improve my baking skills, and for this I thank you.

I live in a small (2,000 people) tight knit farming community where everyone is willing to help each other out in any way they can. The TFL community seemed to embody many of the qualities that I love  about my town that I couldn't resist joining this great site.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Saturday, August 20, was a busy day in the kitchen.  And a bit more daunting than normal.  Friends had invited us to dinner that evening and asked if I would bring some bread.  When I asked what they would like, the answer was “something that would go well with snoek paté.”  Did I mention that Marthinius had previously been executive chef and partner in an up-scale restaurant?  And did I also mention that I’ve never had my baking critiqued by a chef whose training is in classic French cuisine?  Hence the daunting.

Well.  A challenge.  Bread to go with snoek paté.  Whatever that might turn out to be. 

I wound up choosing two breads: Reinhardt’s pain a l’ancienne and a pain de compagne.  Both French in origin or influence.  Neither one required complex techniques but each offered layers of flavour from levains or long ferments; one somewhat more ethereal and one more hearty.  (Hedging, don’t you know.)  And each being something that was started the previous evening with the final dough preparation (the pain de compagne) or shaping and baking (the pain a l’ancienne) on Saturday.  Because each was at different stages of readiness Saturday morning, it also gave me better opportunity to manage oven timing without a train wreck between two different breads that had to be baked at the exact same time.

And, since we were also invited to a braai (barbecue) on Sunday afternoon, I followed those with Portugese Sweet Bread using Mark Sinclair’s formula.

The breads, happily, proceeded without a hitch.  Just as happily, temperatures were starting to moderate; enough that the house temperature was in the low to mid-60s instead of the 50s.  I still spiked the final pain de compagne dough with about a half-teaspoon of yeast as insurance and used a make-shift proofer for the bulk ferment.

Handling the pain a l’ancienne dough is, except for temperature, not unlike handling taffy or melted mozzarella cheese.  It is so wet that it has very little internal support and wants to stick to everything.  Nevertheless, I was able to get it divided and “shaped” as per instructions.  One or two were rather raggedy in appearance, so they didn’t make the trip to dinner that evening.  Which is not to say that they weren’t eaten.  In spite of knowing how difficult it is to slash such wet dough, I made the attempt.  The slashes were not a thing of beauty but they did serve a purpose.  You can see in the photo that the greatest expansion occurred at the slash locations.  Rather than repeatedly opening the oven for steaming by spritzing, I relied on pouring boiling water into a preheated pan in the oven to generate steam.  The oven in this house only heats up to 230C, which is a bit less than I needed, so I relied on the convection setting to boost the, um, “effective” temperature.  While I would have liked to have a prettier bread, this gave me a baguette-like bread with great flavour but without the technical demands of producing a classic baguette.  I’ve tried but my present setup just doesn’t permit me to hit that target even if my technique is bang on, which it frequently is not.

The pain de compagne is more familiar to me and went very smoothly.  The only glitch was my being a bit impatient about getting it into the oven.  I could have waited another 20-30 minutes at those temperatures and avoided a couple of small blowouts.  Other than that, some very tasty bread.

The Portugese Sweet Bread is lovely stuff.  The dough is easy to handle and absolutely silky compared to the whole-grain lean breads that I usually make.  I have no complaints with the process or the finished bread.

Eventually it was time for dinner, the moment of truth.  Marthinius made the snoek paté with snoek that he had smoked at home.  I don’t know entirely what was in it (mayonnaise? minced celery? other?) but my wife, who is ordinarily not a lover of things involving fish, thought it was absolutely wonderful.  I concurred.  After asking me to describe each of the breads and then sampling each, Marthinius decided that he liked both (whew!) but preferred the pain a l’ancienne with the paté.  I think the complex play of flavours appealed to him.

There were two main courses.  One was a deboned haunch of springbok, larded with garlic cloves, lightly smoked, then wrapped with bacon and finished in a slow oven.  The other was chicken breasts stuffed with feta cheese and spinach.  Both were excellent.  They were accompanied by baby corn, roasted sweet potatoes, and a pilaf.  Dessert was a vinegar pudding, as it is called by the Afrikaners.  Those from a British background would probably call it a nutmeg pudding.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal and evening.

The weather on Sunday was absolutely gorgeous.  There was plenty of warm sun and a cool breeze.  With chicken, steak and boerwors on the braai, delicious side dishes, and lots of conversation, it made for a marvellous afternoon. 

We are definitely happy about moving back to the States soon but we will miss times like these with friends like these. 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Coming home from Portland late yesterday evening I had no time to make any pre-doughs for today's baking. So everything was stretched and folded, except for my usual Pain a l'Ancienne dough. No kitchen octopuses to battle this time, the doughs behaved and didn't try to take over the countertop. This morning I got an early start with my baking and was done just in time to Meet The Press.



Tyrolean Pumpkin Seed Mini Breads



 



These are real breads, not rolls, and are made with spelt, rye and Italian 00 flour - and, of course, lots of toasted pumpkin seeds.


 


 



Pain a l'Ancienne with Oat Flour (sorry, no crumb shot, these were all sold)


 



And since the oven was still warm, I finally fullfilled my NYB testing duties: Lace Cookies. They look as nice as they tasted.


 


 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

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".


 


 


 

Aivaras's picture
Aivaras

There are couple miches I have baked.


2.9Kg JT's 85x3 Miche.


   


One of the largest breads I have made. Pretty much the same as MC interpretation, only I didn't retard and hydration was lower, about 65%.



1.5Kg Gerard Rubaud Miche.



35% starter (55% hydration, GR flour mixture 70% T55, 18% sifted T150, 9% T80 spelt and 3% sifted T150 rye), overall hydration 65-68%. First fermentation 4 hours, proof about 2 hours.


2.2Kg T80 Miche.




T80 flour, 30% starter (~60% hydration), overall hydration 65%, first fermentation about 3 hours, proof 2 hours.


2.2Kg Poilane Miche.



70% T80, 30% T80 spelt, 35% starter (55% hydration), overall hydration 65%. First fermentation 3 hours, proof about 2 hours.


2.2Kg Organic WW and Spelt Miche.



70% very finely sifted Organic Stone Ground T150 flour and 30% Organic T80 spelt flour. 25% starter (55% hydration), overall hydration 65%. First fermentation 4.5 hours, proof 2 hours.


1.8Kg Pain a l'Ancienne.



50% T55 flour, 45% sifted T150 flour, 4.5% spelt, 0.5% malted barley flour, everything else as described by Shiao-Ping.


Aivaras

DonD's picture
DonD

My first post in April of last year was about a side by side comparison of two of my favorite baguette formulations by Philippe Gosselin and Anis Bouabsa that David Snyder had previously published here on TFL. It was a tough choice to decide which one was better. The Gosselin baguette had an unequaled sweetness due to the overnight cold autolyse and the Bouabsa baguette had an incredibly complex taste due to the cold retardation. I was thinking why not have the best of both world so I started to experiment with combining the two formulations. After a couple of tries, I have succeeded in making a baguette that has the best attributes of both.


Yesterday, at the request of my wife, I made a batch of Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation for her monthly Book Club Party. The formulation follows David's transcription of Gosselin's Pain a l'Ancienne with a few slight variations. I have to clarify that this is not the formulation that Peter Reinhart and Daniel Leader had adapted from the original Gosselin technique but the true ice cold overnight autolyse method that David had published. After the overnight autolyse and the incorporation of the reserved water, yeast and salt the next morning, instead of bulk fermenting, shaping and baking the same day, I partially bulk ferment the dough at room temperature for 3 hours then retard it in the refrigerator for 18 hours before shaping and baking. I use a mix of 94% King Arthur Organic Select Artisan Flour (11.3% protein) and 6% Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour with 70% hydration. I also reduce the yeast amount by 2/3 because of the extended fermentation. Here are the results:




The crust has nice caramelization from the extra sugar produced by the long cold autolyse.




The crumb is open and soft with a slight chewiness. The taste is sweet and nutty with a complex aftertaste.




The crumb is medium thin with nice crunchiness and the crumb shows good translucent gelatinilization.


P.S. Following a number of requests, here is the entire formulation.


Formulation:


 Flour Mixture:



  • - 470 gms Unbleached AP Flour

  • - 30 gms Dark Rye Flour

  • - 300 gms Ice Cold Water


 Dough



  • - 10 gms Sea Salt

  • - 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast

  • - 50 gms Cold Water


 1- Mix flour blend and ice water w/ flat beater for 1 min. and refrigerate overnight.


 2- Add yeast and water and mix w/ flat beater for 3 mins or until all water has been incorporated. Add salt and beat for 3 mins or until dough slaps side of bowl.


 3- Let rest 15 mins and do S&F 4 times at 30 mins intervals (1 1/2 hrs total) and 2 more times at 45 mins  intervals (1 1/2 hrs total).


 4- Refrigerate for 24 hours.


 5- Divide dough in 3 and gently pre-shape in torpedo shape. Let rest 1 hr.


 6-Gently shape baguettes and proof on linen couche for 45 mins.


 7- One hour before baking, preheat oven to 490 degrees f w/ baking stone and cast iron skillet filled w/ lava rocks.


 8- Mist sides of oven then slash baguettes 4 times and transfer baguettes to baking stone in oven. Immediately pour 2/3 cup boiling water on lava rocks.


 9- Reduce oven temperature to 460 degrees f and bake 10 mins.Remove cast iron skillet, reduce temperature to 430 degrees F and bake for another 10 mins on convection mode.


 10- Remove baguettes from oven and let cool on wire rack.


Happy Baking!


Don

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Hey All,


I'm sure you've seen my post here venting about my breads not turning out very well:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16100/perfect-baguette-eludes-me-my-breads-are-getting-worse


Anyway, I was inspired to try a Pain a' l'ancienne Baguette from here:


http://www.applepiepatispate.com/bread/pain-ancienne-french-baguette/


Of course, I can't seem to stick to recipes, so here is what I did instead:





Total Ingredients:


350g AP (Whole Foods 365)


100g BF (KA Bread Flour)


100g Graham Flour (Bob's Red Mill)


350g Water


10g Kosher Salt


100g Firm Sourdough Starter (60% Hydr. straight from fridge)


2g Active Dry Yeast (1/2 tsp)


Total Dough Weight 937g


Directions:


Day 1


Make soaker with the following:


175g AP


100g BF


50g Graham Flour


325 g Cool Water


-Mix all ingredients, place in a bowl or plastic container, cover and refrigerate for 24hrs.


Day 2


650g Soaker from Day 1


175g AP


100g Firm Sourdough Starter


25g Cool Water


10g Kosher Salt


1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast


-Mix all ingredients in large bowl, cover and let rest (autolyse) for 20-30 minutes.


-Knead 50 strokes in bowl, cover and rest for 1 hr.


-Turn dough on lightly floured surface, return to bowl, cover and let ferment for 2 hrs.


-Divide into 3 equal pieces, preshape into loose ovals, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.


-Place baking stone on 2nd rack from top, arrange steam pan with lava rocks under stone, off to side, and preheat oven to 500F with convection.


-Shape baguettes by rolling and stretching them gently until they are betwen 15-16" long.


-Proof for 45 minutes on linen couche.


-To bake, place them on peel, slash using lame or sharp razor/knife, place in oven directly on stone.  Add 1 cup of water to steam pan, close oven door, bake for 10 minutes at 460F with convection.  Rotate and bake for another 18 minutes without convection, or until internal temp registers 210F.  Cool for at least 30 minutes before eating...


Notes: I should have baked them at 480F and then at 460F after rotating.


Enjoy!


Tim


 

Obsessive Ingredient Weigher's picture
Obsessive Ingre...

Below are some detailed crust and crumb photos of Gosselin's "baguette tradition"/"baguette ancienne" from Paris + a report on the experience! I managed to get to all 3 of his shops...


On my first day in the city, I went to the 125 Rue Saint Honore location by the Louvre. Nice shop. Moderate size. Lots of pastries. I was the only one in there at 10AM as the staff was milling around. The cashier was very pleasant. As I left the shop, I broke off a piece of the "baguette ancienne" (btw - this is the only one of the three locations that calls it "ancienne" instead of "tradition") and was sorely disappointed. Much like many of the lower quality baguettes in Paris, it tasted overwhelmingly of hard water and/or raw flour. Fortunately, I purchased two baguettes, so I later tore into the other one...but only to find the same thing...horrible flavor. Somehow I was not discouraged, and I knew I had two more shops to go...


The next morning I visited the 28 Rue Caumartin location. It's on a sleepy street. Relatively small shop. Again, I was the only person in the boulangerie, but the cashier was hurried and not entirely pleasant with me. And, yes, I speak French, so she wasn't just being surly to the "American tourist". Upon leaving the shop, I dug into the baguette and was hit with the same disgusting flavor from the baguettes the day before. I now had major doubts about the quality of Gosselin's famous baguettes. How could they be so beloved and yet be so bad? But I still hadn't been to the flagship store, so I decided to give Gosselin one last try...


Saturday morning I wandered down the Boulevard Saint Germain. Gorgeous street. And despite my underwhelming experiences from the days before, I was excited. The numbers on the building counted down until there I was at 258 Boulevard Saint Germain...




With a shop this pretty, the baguette had to be good, right? I scooted around to the other side of the building and snapped a cliched shot of an old Parisian man shuffling out, baguette in-hand...




I walked inside, ready to give Gosselin his last chance...




There it was, above the register on the right, the "baguette tradition"...




I walked down the Boulevard and took a shot of the virgin loaf. The crust was dark and very well-caramelized. The scent was not too pronounced: very slightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. This was surprising to me, as my "pain a l'ancienne" loaves have a very distinct pistachio scent...




I sat on a bench, ripped off a piece and gave a taste. Delicious! I don't know who makes the bread at the other two shops, as all three are supposed to have the same source, but this was a world apart...




I walked along thoroughly enjoying my baguette until I reached the banks of the Seine, where I had to take a few more photos. In the few minutes between my first bite and the river, I was blown away. The top crust tasted subtly but clearly of roasted marshmallows. The bottom crust was more blunt, although delicious. And, odd as it may seem, the closest thing I can compare it to are the crispy, slightly charred edges and nooks of a Thomas' English Muffin. Not the most sophisticated flavor in the world, but there it was. The crumb, as you can see, was cream-colored and tasted just like it looked, creamy and smooth...




Just look at that grigne and the gorgeous colors...




The baguettes definitely have an irregular shape, nothing neat and perfectly uniform about them...




I was so happy with my experience on Saturday, that I went back to the shop on Monday morning, got another baguette and sat in the Tuileries Gardens by the Louvre to snap a few more shots on a park bench.




The baguettes have a beautiful oven spring...




Admittedly, this second loaf wasn't quite the religious experience that the one from Saturday morning had been. It definitely hadn't spent as much time in the oven, so there wasn't a tremendous amount of character to the flavor. Visually, excellent crust and excellent crumb, but I'd only go so far as to describe the flavor as "solid".


Clearly, the key is to get a "baguette tradition" only from the Saint Germain flagship store, and make sure it has a deep amber crust. It's guaranteed to knock your socks off.


I sampled many other baguettes while in Paris. Most ranged from terrible to boring. One from the Le Moulin de la Vierge was adequate and certainly worth going for if you're near the Eiffel Tower and need a baguette fix. And I have to say I was quite impressed with the one I had at Gerard Mulot. While it didn't soar to the heights of my Saturday Gosselin experience, it was excellent and absolutely one to check out.


I'd love to hear your thoughts, whether you've experienced Gosselin's work first-hand or love making these loaves yourself. I thought having some close-up photos would be a great thing to share, as I know how many of us love to work on Gosselin's/Reinhart's "pain a l'ancienne" and how much detailed imagery can help us out with our experiments. Bon appetit!

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