The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pan Francese

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cookingbyheart's picture
cookingbyheart

http://vimeo.com/48925507

My guy, Paul, is a lover of bread. In particular, he loves a good baguette. Through him, I have been initiated into the life of baguette enthusiasm.  A good baguette is dark and crusty on the outside, fluffy and light on the inside. That seems simple enough, most baguettes should fit that description vaguely, but there is a scale within that description. In France we found that the artisanal handmade loaves are usually best and everything else is, well, not best.

In France, bakeries prepare baguettes and other breads daily, usually preparing a morning batch and an evening batch in order to provide the freshest loaves all day long. In order to stock the shelves with the freshest breads when the shop opens at 6a, Boulanger William Courderot begins his day at 1am. When we arrived to meet him at 5am, he was well into his daily routine. Each day, Courderot rolls out 600 traditional baguettes and each day they fly off the shelf.

There are many types of baguettes. The hand rolled ones are usually called tradition or l'ancienne, they are made in the old French way. You can literally taste the love with which they are made. This is why I advise you to steer clear of the standard machine made baguettes! They are usually lighter in color, less crispy. They are longer and more uniform, there is no trace of flour on the finished crust, and they are maybe 10 cents cheaper. I'm not sure why anybody buys them.

In the states, it's getting more and more possible to find quality bread but it's still always fun to see what you can do yourself. When we were in France, I made a pact to learn how to make a good baguette by baking them daily. But after a couple of sad attempts, I gave in to the fact that everywhere I looked I saw perfect baguettes for €1 or less. I was in the land of incredible baguettes and I wasn't about to waste time and empty calories on bad ones! It takes a lot of patience to come up with a method that works for you in your setting. It's tough for a recipe to account for the moisture or dryness of the air in your environment. Consumer ovens just don't get as hot as industrial ones. But have no fear, Julia Child is here! Julia offers a thorough recipe with helpful pictures in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, and you can see her recipe sans photos here.

One useful tip I can offer to fresh bread lovers: the best way to keep baguettes and other breads fresh and tasty is to wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze. If you have a big country loaf, cut it into smaller more manageable meal-size pieces and wrap each piece separately. When you want to eat some bread, place it in the oven or toaster oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes. When you can easily squeeze the baguette in your hand (with a glove of course), remove the foil, turn off the oven and put the bread back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so to crisp it up. Enjoy!

William Courderot's French Baguette

Ingredients

1 kg farine / ~7 cups flour

650 g eau / ~3 cups water

20 g sel / ~3.5 tsp salt

20 g levure / ~5 tsp yeast

Method

Mix all ingredients in kitchenaid or cuisinart mixer until smooth. Let rest for an hour and a half.

Flour prep area and separate dough into three equal pieces. Generously flour a linen cloth. Gently fold the dough over itself and roll while pushing the dough outwards until it becomes a long snake. Notice how little Courderot handles the dough as he forms it into baguettes. Don't handle the dough more than you have to. Place the baguettes on your floured linen cloth, cradling each loaf in fabric so they don't touch one another. Leave to rest for one hour.

Preheat oven to 550°F (or as high as your oven will go).

Use a new razor blade or very sharp knife to score the bread with evenly distributed diagonal marks, about 4-5 scores per loaf. Fill a cast iron pan with ice water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. This helps keep a good amount of moisture in the oven while the bread bakes. Place the baguettes in the oven for 20-30minutes or until they are crusty and brown. When they're done, let them cool on a rack for 10 minutes or so before you break bread.

Enjoy!

-Cookingbyheart.org

Franko's picture
Franko

 Last week I posted on a bake I did of a bread called Le Pavé d’Autrefois that didn't turn out the way I'd hoped it would , particularly the crumb. Click on the link for all the grisly details and graphic images. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25171/le-pav%C3%A9-d%E2%80%99autrefois-and-multigrain-pain-au-levain Even though last weeks bread was under fermented, it held the promise of great flavour if a few procedural changes on my part were made. By allowing myself more time and having better control over temperatures during the bulk fermentation and final proof, I was confident I could produce something a little closer to what Alan/asfolks was able to achieve when he posted on this bread back in August. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24581/le-pavé-d’autrefois

This bread does need a lot of time. I began at 6:00AM by mixing the flour soaker of all purpose, whole wheat, rye and buckwheat which then sat covered until 10:00 AM when I began the final mix. By the time bulk ferment, resting/shaping, proofing and baking were finished it was almost 5:30PM. I realize this amount of time for a single loaf might sound slightly mad to folks who don't bake these types of breads, my wife being a good example, but I was on a mission of sorts that I'm sure many TFL'rs can relate to. As it was, I had a few other non bread projects going on in the kitchen as well, so for me it was time well spent. However...next time I make this bread I'll try doing it with an overnight retard just to see if there is anything to be gained from it other than an extra hour or two of sleep.

This session yielded what I feel is a much improved loaf, with a more open, though not even, crumb. The crumb on Alan's Pave is the benchmark for me, and this one is still a ways off that, but it's getting there. The flavour of this loaf is much better as well. With a proper fermentation the flavours of the various grains are more balanced and without the 'green' or raw taste of under fermented dough. I think the best thing you could pair with this bread is a favourite cheese and a good glass of wine or beer. Just on it's own it has more than enough deep flavour to satisfy any sourdough or multigrain lover. Generally I'm happy with the results, not entirely satisfied yet, but closer to the mark this time around.

Le pavé d’autrefois

 

 

Ingredients

%

Kg

Levain

 

 

Mature Rye Starter-100%

24.8

35

Whole Rye Flour-Rogers

100

141

Water

100

141

Total Weight

224

317

 

 

 

Soaker

 

 

Organic AP Flour

55.85

315

Whole Wheat Flour-Sloping Hills Farm

18.97

107

Medium Rye Flour-bulk generic

12.5

71

Buckwheat Flour-Nunweiler's

12.5

71

Water

100

564

Total Weight

199.82

1128

 

 

 

Final Dough

 

 

Organic AP flour

100

286

Soaker

394.4

1128

Levain

30

317

Sea Salt-Sel Gris

2

20

Water

13.9

40

Total Weight

540.3

1791

 

 

 

Total Flour

100

1008

Total Hydration

75.5

762

DDT-78-80F

 

 

PROCEDURE:

Mix levain 14 hours prior to mix with 2 feedings, and ferment at 70°-75F. Mix the soaker ingredients 4 hours previous to the final mix

Mix Levain, Soaker, Final 286g of AP flour and salt. Cover with plastic and begin the bulk ferment.

Stretch and fold 4 times during a 4 hour bulk ferment. Turn out dough onto heavily floured surface and fold over on itself. Rest 30 minutes. Spread out dough by lightly dimpling with fingertips, being careful not to degas the dough. Cut into rectangular slabs roughly 1/3rd longer than the width, place on floured linen for a final rise of 45-90 minutes. Bake on a 500°F preheated stone for 10 minutes, with steam system in place. After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 475F, remove steam, unblock the vent, and rotate the loaf for even colouring. Continue baking for 20-30 minutes. Check for an internal temperature of 210F , then leave in a cooling oven with the door slightly ajar for 15-20 minutes. Wrap in linen and cool on racks for 8 hours or overnight before slicing.

 

The other loaf pictured is a Francese, the formula from Advanced Bread & Pastry by Michel Suas. Back around the weekend of March 18/19 of this year I'd planned to do a bake of this bread and coincidentally it turned out, so had David Snyder, posting his usual meticulous writeup along with photos of his excellent Pan Francese.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22757/pan-francese-advanced-bread-amp-pastry

For anyone wanting to make this bread David has provided the full formula and procedure in the link above.

I thought OK, no problem, I'll stick with the plan and make mine on Sunday to post on Monday. If I recall correctly I was email chatting with breadsong that evening and discovered she was so taken with Davids loaf that she decided to do one as well. Breadsong's loaf is posted a little further down in David's post and it's gorgeous! Well now I'm thinking do I really want to add a third Francese to the mix when two of the best bakers on the site have contributed stunning examples of the loaf already. I decided to make something else and do the Francese at another time. Six months have passed since then and I thought maybe it was time to finally have a go at it. Like David and breadsong I just followed the formula and procedure from AB&P, but only making a single loaf. In terms of flavour I don't know that I prefer this to a baquette, but I do prefer it to baking a baquette in my home oven. The stone I have isn't long enough to accomodate a decent size baquette so I don't make them, but the Francese works just fine. It's a good bread, with lots of crunch and chew to it, and relatively easy to make since there's no molding to speak of involved. It needs a minor tweak in the flavour profile but I can't put my finger on just what it is yet. My guess is it's probably rye or sour...likely both.

Cheers,

Franko

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Tre Franceses


 


“Pan Francese” simply means “French Bread” in Italian. It is a long, thin loaf that is the Italian version of a baguette. Daniel Leader has a formula in Local Breads which he titles “Italian Baguettes” and says are called “Stirato,” which means “stretched” in Italian. Michel Suas' Advanced Bread and Pastry includes a formula for “Pan Francese,” and we made this bread during the Artisan II workshop at SFBI.


The differences between Leader's and Suas' formulas are relatively minor. Leader uses a biga at 60% hydration, and the biga is 61% baker's percentage of the total dough. Leader's dough hydration is 70%. Suas' hydration is 76% - a significant difference. Suas uses a poolish (100% hydration), and the poolish is 50% baker's percentage of the total dough. Leader uses all AP flour, while Suas' formula uses 13.6% whole wheat flour, the rest being AP. Leader's mixing instructions, as usual for his high-hydration doughs, call for an intensive mix (10-12 minutes at Speed 4). Suas specifies a short mix but 2 or 3 folds during bulk fermentation. Their shaping instructions are also significantly different: In spite of pointing out that “Stirato” means “stretched,” Leader tells you to shape the loaves like you do baguettes. Suas has you simply cut long strips of dough and stretch them to shape.


Of course, there is no end to variations with breads. The Il Fornaio Baking Book, from the bakery chain of the same name, has a recipe for “Sfilatino” which they call “Italian Baguettes.” Theirs are made with a biga. They are shaped as demi-baguettes, then stretched to about 15 inches long.


The “Pan Francese” I made followed Suas' formula and method from AB&P.


 


Poolish

Baker's %

Wt. (oz)

AP flour

100

3 5/8

Water

100

3 5/8

Yeast (instant)

0.1

1/8 tsp

Total

200.1

7 1/8

  1. Mix all the ingredients until well-incorporated.

  2. Ferment for 12-16 hours at 65ºF.

     

Final dough

Baker's %

Wt. (oz)

AP flour

79.52

11 7/8

WW flour

13.48

2 3/8

Water

70

10

Yeast (instant)

0.35

¼ tsp

Salt

2

¼ oz

Malt

0.98

1/8 oz

Poolish

50.03

7 1/8

Total

223.36

2 lb

 

Total dough

Baker's %

Wt. (oz)

AP flour

86.4

15 1/2

WW flour

13.6

2 3/8

Water

76

13 5/8

Yeast (instant)

0.3

1/2 tsp

Salt

1.6

¼ oz

Malt

0.78

1/8 oz

Total

178.68

2 lb

 

Method

  1. Prepare the poolish the evening before mixing the dough.

  2. Measure all the Final dough ingredients into the bowl. (I used a KitchenAid mixer.)

  3. Mix with the paddle until ingredients are well mixed – 1-2 minutes -then switch to the hook and mix at speed 2 or 3 for about 5 minutes. There will be some gluten development, but the dough will not clear the sides of the bowl. It will be like a thickish, glutenous batter.

  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment for 3 hours with 2-3 stretch and folds on a well-floured board.

  6. Prepare your oven with a baking stone and your steaming apparatus of choice in place. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF about 30 minutes before the end of fermentation.

  7. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board. De-gas the dough and stretch and pat it into a rectangle about 8 x 12 inches. Dust the top with flour.

  8. Using a bench knife, divide the dough into 3 strips. Stretch them to about 15” long and place them on a well-floured linen couch. (I suppose parchment paper would serve.). Cover with linen or a towel.

  9. Proof for 30-45 minutes.

  10. Transfer the loaves to a peel and then to the baking stone. Turn the oven down to 460ºF and steam it.

  11. Bake for 22-25 minutes.

  12. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Francese cross section crumb

Francese longitudinal section crumb

The loaves had a thin, crisp crust that got chewy as it cooled. The crumb was very open with some chewiness. The flavor of the whole wheat was present when tasted still slightly warm. I expect it to meld by tomorrow. The flavor was similar to ciabatta, not surprisingly. The bread was nice as a chicken salad sandwich for dinner.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

 

 

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