The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pain a l'ancienne

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Obsessive Ingredient Weigher's picture
Obsessive Ingre...

I've been making Gosselin/Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne since last fall, and until a few days ago, I was having a big problem scoring it consistently.  My breakthrough?  I stumbled upon Gosselin's website and saw them scoring loaves that were MUCH less hydrated than Reinhart's recipe was leading me to create.  Oh, Peter Reinhart!  So I cut back on the water, and voila, the lame scores it perfectly (forgive the shallow angle of the scoring, but it's a mini-baguette).  So right now I'm going with this formula: 128g KA French Style Flour, 2.65g salt, 0.95g instant yeast, and 92g water.  I might cut back on the water by a couple of grams - to 89g or 90g; time will tell.


I've been making single loaves about 5 days a week for the last couple months; they make a great lunch with some butter and confiture.  This loaf baked SO nicely.  I noticed subtle hints of pistachio and framboise as I gave a quick sniff while it cooled on the counter.


PHOTO #1: Sliced/Crumb Shot



PHOTO #2: Grigne



PHOTO #3: Mini-Baguette



PHOTO #4: TIGHT CRUMB SHOT


DonD's picture
DonD

I found this site a couple of months ago and have been following some fascinating posts and the great exchange of information among the members. I have always loved the true French baguettes and during the early 90's when the first artisanal baking books like The Village Baker and Bread Alone came out, I tried my hands at making French baguettes. They were acceptable but not great. When I stumbled on this site and found the formulation for Gosselin's Pain a l'Ancienne that David of dmsnyder posted, I was motivated to try making it because I remember how good it was when I tasted it in France a couple of years ago. It turned out great. And then, I discovered the Anis Bouabsa formulation that David also shared with us. It turned out even better. So I decided to have a head to head comparison between the two a couple of weeks ago. I have had a couple of exchanges with David about this topic and he encouraged me to share the results with the TFL community, so here we go...


I used the folowing flour mix:


30% KA BF


58% KA APF


10% KA WWF


2% Bob's Red Mill Fava Bean Flour


2% Noirmoutier French sea salt


The mixing, fermentation, shaping and baking followed David's closely for both formulations. They were baked on the same day about one hour apart.


Both batches turned out great. The oven spring was about the same for both. The Gosselin crust was lighter in color than Bouabsa's which had a deep rich color. Both had good crunch and sweet caramelly flavor. The Gosselin crumb is soft and incredibly sweet with a wheaty aftertaste. The Bouabsa crumb was slightly more open, was more chewy and had a nutty flavor. I had an informal blind bread tasting with my wine tasting group and the Bouadsa baguette was unanimously the slight favourite.


The top photo shows the Bouabsa baguettes. The second photo shows the crumb detais with Bouabsa's on the left and Gosselin's on the right. The third photo shows the Gosselin baguettes. The fourth photo is a close-up of the Bouabsa crumb.


I want to thank David and all the TFL members for generously sharing their knowledge and experience.


Happy Baking!


 


 

Felila's picture

Tastes just like bread from the store!

February 24, 2009 - 1:29pm -- Felila

I've been playing with the pain a l'ancienne recipe. The last batch was the best yet. I used King Arthur unbleached white flour and I did a number of French folds on the dough while it was chilling in the refrigerator. Result was six baguettes with lovely crunchy crust and a tender, flavorful center.


One of my co-workers wanted to try some of the bread, so I brought her a baguette. She had some of it with butter and I asked her if she liked it. "Yes," she said, "it tastes just like bread from the store!"


That bad? Oy :(

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

pain à l'ancienne


Rustic baguettes and ciabatta from Gosselin's formula (as described by Peter Reinhart)


pai


Pain à l'Ancienne baguette crumb


I made these baguettes and ciabatta from the formula Reinhart says he got directly from Phillipe Gosselin. The version in "Bread Baker's Apprentice" is a modification.


This is a very high hydration dough (about 80%), and I made my dough with KAF's "French Style Flour," which is their T55 clone. This is a low-gluten flour, by American standards. The dough started out like a batter once the additional water was added. I mixed it in my Bosch Universal Plus for something like 15 minutes before it was smooth and shiney. It still flowed like a batter. For the next hour, I did Hamelman's folding in the bowl. It then doubled over the next 90 minutes. (This technique was improvised. I thought about chucking the whole project as a lost cause at several points, but I'm glad I didn't. I learned a lot.)


The loaves were divided and stretched onto semolina-dusted parchment. The baguettes were baked without further proofing. The Ciabatti were folded in the usual manner and allowed to rise for about 30 minutes before baking.


Note: No attempt was made to score these loaves.


The baguettes had the sweet taste and cool, silky mouth-feel of ciabatta. I count them a success. Whew!


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Gosselin Pain a l'Ancienne

Gosselin Pain a l'Ancienne

Gosselin baguettes

Gosselin baguettes

Gosselin baguette Crumb

Gosselin baguette Crumb

Gosselin Pain Rustique

Gosselin Pain Rustique

Gosselin Pain Rustique Crumb

Gosselin Pain Rustique Crumb

Both Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" (BBA) and Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" contain formulas for "Pain à l'Ancienne," based on the explorations during the 1990's by several Parisian bakers of lengthening bulk fermentation to achieve improved flavor. Of course, these techniques could not have been used in the "old days" that the name of the bread implies. Bakers devoted to this new technique use modern refrigeration which was not available to their ancestors.

Reinhart based his version of pain à l'ancienne on that of Philippe Gosselin. In BBA, Reinhart describes Gosselin's method in very general terms and then says the formula he provides is modified to make it easier for home bakers. In January, 2003 Reinhart sent a message to an internet mailing list which contained a detailed enough account of what Gosselin told him to write a formula. For me, the original formula did not seem more difficult than the one Reinhart published. This is because I almost always bake on weekends when I can accommodate my activities to the original formula. So, I thought I would give it a try. My interpretation of Reinhart's interpretation is as follows:

Pain à l'Ancienne of Philippe Gosselin, as described by Peter Reinhart

Flour.......................500 gms

Water......................375 gms

Salt.........................8.75 gms-

Instant yeast...............5 gms

Mix the flour with 325 gms of ice cold water and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove mixture from refrigerator. Add yeast, salt and another 25-50 gms of cold water and mix thoroughly for 4-6 minutes.

Ferment at room temperature until doubled in bulk (up to 6 hours).

One hour before baking, preheat oven to 460F.

Divide into 4 equal piece and gently pre-shape into torpedos.

Rest dough 10 minutes.

Shape into baguettes by stretching to 12-14 inches, score and bake immediately with steam at 460F.

The breads I made today used the following modification and extrapolations:

1. I used 50 gms of Guisto's rye flour and 450 gms of KAF Bread Flour.

2. After the long "autolyse," I mixed the flour and water with 30 gms of additional water, the yeast and the salt. The autolysed dough had moderate gluten development already and didn't want to take in the additional water with hand stirring, so I did the best I could with a scraper, then mixed in my KitchenAid with the paddle for about 3 minutes, then the dough hook for another 3 minutes. I then transferred the dough to a 2 quart glass pitcher and used Hamelman's in-the-bowl stretch and fold technique - 20 folds, 3 times at 20 minute intervals over the first hour. I then let the dough rest, covered, until doubled.

3. Gosselin's instructions to Reinhart indicated the dough would take 6 hours to double. In my (warm) kitchen today, it doubled in 4 hours.

4. I emptied the dough onto a flour-dusted board and dusted the top. I divided the dough into 3 parts. I pre-shaped the two smaller ones into rectangles and folded each long side to the middle and sealed the seams. Those, I rested with the seams down for about 10 minutes then stretched into "baguettes" and placed them on floured parchment paper. The larger piece was just cut in half to make pain rustique, rested and similarly placed on parchment.

5. I baked at 460F with steam on a pizza stone. After 7 minutes, I removed the loaf pan and skillet and continued to bake for a total of 20 minutes. I then turned the oven off, cracked it open, and left the loaves on the stone for an additional 5 minutes.

Comments

These breads had a nice, crunchy crust and an open, tender, somewhat chewy crumb. The taste was classic sweet baguette - as good as I have ever made. My wife liked it, but said she preferred the taste of the Anis baguettes with sourdough added. No surprise, as we are both partial to sourdough breads.

I was concerned that the pre-shaping of the baguettes, which Reinhart does not call for in his adaptation of Gosselin's formula, would decrease the openness of the crumb too much. It was more open than I expected. I guess I have learned to handle dough gently enough. On the other hand, it would be worthwhile to try making baguettes with this method but just cutting the dough and stretching it, without any other shaping, to see if the crumb would be even more open.

If your baking schedule allows for Gosselin's method, I would certainly recommend you give it a try. In my hands, it makes very fine baguettes.

The pains rustique require no forming, and are essentially like ciabattas. Reinhart says this dough can also be stretched into a circle or rectangle and used for pizza. I have not tried that and would be interested in hearing from anyone who does so.

David

lolo's picture
lolo

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
dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Leader's Baguette a l'ancienne


Leader's Baguette a l'ancienne


Baguette a l'ancienne crumb


Baguette a l'ancienne crumb

In my ongoing quest for delicious, home-made baguettes, I baked the "Baguettes a l'ancienne" from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" today.

 Unlike the "Pain a l'ancienne" in BBA, Leader's is a sourdough baguette made with a (very) liquid levain - about 125% hydration. I started refreshing and activating the starter with my usual (these days) firm starter: 50 gms starter, 130 gms water, 100 gms Guisto's Bakers' Choice (T55-style) flour, then fed it twice more with 130 gms water and 100 gms flour at 12 and 8 hours. The starter was incredibly foamy. Leader says it should have a "mildy tangy aroma." Mine smelled strongly of acetic acid!

 The dough is made with 150 gms water, 300 gms flour (I used 50gms whole rye and 250 gms Guisto's Bakers' Choice), 310 gms liquid levain and 10 gms sea salt.

Mix the flour(s) and water and autolyse for 20 minutes. Then add the salt and levain and mix to window paning. This is a very slack dough. It is fermented for 3 hours, with one folding after the first hour. Form the baguettes and place on a parchment paper couche, well floured, and refrigerate 12-24 hours.

Warm at room temperature for 2 hours, then bake at 450F on a stone in a well-heated oven with steam for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven still on the parchment, and let cool 5 minutes before removing from the parchment. Eat warm.

 I had some of the bread for lunch with a salad and some Laura Chanel chevre. The crust was crisp. The crumb was chewy-tender with a nice, complex flavor. It had a pronounced sour tang, especially as an aftertaste. 

 David

jessicap's picture
jessicap

Last night and this morning's bread was a foccaccia made from Peter Reinhart's pain a l'Ancienne:
foccaccia

I made the dough last night, replacing about 20% of the four with King Arthur's white white whole wheat (a entirely whole wheat flour that's lighter in color and flavor because of the kind of wheat used). I used King Arthur bread flour for the rest. It's an extremely wet dough; the water weight is fully 80% of the weight of the flour.

I poured the dough into a half-sheet pan and pressed it gently into the corners, spreading it liberally with oregano olive oil. (I had pooled some on the bottom of the pan first, so it's olive oil-y all over). It baked at 450 for about 17 minutes, and came out a lovely golden brown.

It's got fairly large, even holes, an almost chewy texture, and a lot of flavor. I'm going to have to try baguettes from this same some time soon.

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