The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Philippe Gosselin

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have made baguettes following many different formulas. Some of the most interesting have been various versions of “pain à l'anciènne,” including those of Reinhart in The Bread Baker's Apprentice and of Leader in Local Breads. Sometime back in 2008, I found an e-mail that Peter Reinhart had sent to a bread bakers' Usenet mailing list in 2003 which described the formula for pain à l'anciènne as he got it directly from Philippe Gosselin. The version that ended up in BBA was simplified somewhat by Reinhart, adding all the ingredients before the mixing, omitting the double hydration and delayed addition of the salt.

When I first made baguettes from Gosselin's original method, they were the best-tasting ones I had ever made. I finally got to taste Gosselin's baguettes tradition (from the rue Caumartin shop) last year. To my taste, they had a bit of a tang suggesting they might have been made with levain, so I modified the formula to use a liquid levain and found I preferred the result to that leavened with commercial yeast. In fact, I preferred what I had baked to Gosselin's own.

This is the version I used for today's bake:

Ingredients

Wt.

Baker's %

Organic AP Flour

400 g

100

Ice Water

275 g

69

Salt

8.75 g

2

Liquid Levain

200 g

50

Instant yeast (optional)

¼ tsp

 

Total

883.75 g

221

Notes: Accounting for the flour and water in the levain, the total flour is 500 g and the total water is 375 g, making the actual dough hydration 75%. The actual salt percentage is 1.75%.

For today's bake, I made 3/4 of the dough amount in the table above.

I mixed the levain the night before starting on these and retarded it in the fridge overnight. 

Method

  1. The night before baking, mix the flour and levain with 225 g of ice water and immediately refrigerate.

  2. The next morning, add the salt and 50 g of ice water to the dough and mix thoroughly. (I did this by hand by squishing the dough between my fingers until the water was fully incorporated.)

  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl with a tight cover.

  4. Ferment at room temperature until the dough has about doubled in volume. (3 hours for me) Do stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first two hours.

  5. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF, with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Divide the dough into 4 more or less equal pieces and stretch each into a 12-14 inch long “baguette.”

  7. Score and bake immediately at 460ºF, with steam for 10 minutes, and for about 20 minutes total.

  8. Cool on a rack before eating.

Notes: In Step 7., I specify shaping the loaves by simply stretching the dough pieces into a rough baguette shape. This is a very slack dough and a challenge to handle as one might a lower-hydration baguette dough. If you are very comfortable handling slack dough, have a firm grasp of the “iron hand in a velvet glove” principal and are feeling up to the challenge, you can shape the pieces as you would shape a baguette ordinarily. That is, in fact, what I did for this bake.

You will also note that I scored these baguettes with a single, longitudinal slash. I find the results more satisfactory than the traditional 5 or 7 cuts when scoring a very sticky dough like this. However, the difference is merely cosmetic.


These baguettes had a chewy crust, except for the ears, which were crunchy. I think they could have baked 5 minutes longer, or I could have left them in the turned off oven for another 5-7 minutes to dry the crust. The crumb was nice and open. The flavor was sweet, complex and moderately tangy. I attribute this to a combination of factors – retarding the levain overnight and fermenting the dough, after the final mixing, at 85 dF.

This baguette is still a favorite.

David 

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Justkneadit's picture
Justkneadit

 

After having a successful first try at my first of two recipes I will bake for a year, my sourdough boule, I gave DonD's recipe for Baguettes a l'Ancienne my best. I will say a good baguette is not as simple as it may seem, and I feel this recipe will take more time to become proficient.

The method to my madness...

Recipe:

Flour Mixture

  • 470g KAF AP
  • 30g Arrowhead Mills Whole Grain Rye
  • 300g Cold Water (38F)

Dough

  • 50g Cold Water (40F)
  • 10g Pink Himaylan Salt
  • 2g Instant Yeast

Procedure:

  1. Mix flour and cold water into a doughy blob. Temp of dough after mixing 63.7F. Place in fridge for 12hr at 42.2F.
  2. Pull flour mix out of fridge and mix in 50g of cold water and yeast. This was um...difficult at first. Between freezing my fingers and fighting the slimy mixture I finally brought it together, about 10 min. 
  3. Then add the salt and knead until distributed evenly, using Bertinet's method.
  4. Let the dough rest for 15 min, then began 1st of 4 S&F's at 30 min apart and then 2 S&F at 45 min apart.
  5. Place dough in oiled bowl, in to a plastic bag it went and then in to the fridge (44.2F) for 24hr.
  6. Pull out of the fridge, gently divide into three 270g pieces and gently preshape into a fat log. I used Ciril Hitz's method for prehaping and shaping. Cover with plastic and let rest for 1hr.
  7. Preheat oven to 490F. I gently degased and shaped then proofed en couche for 45 min seam side up.
  8. Misted sides of the oven, transferred baguettes to baguette pan, scored and placed in oven with 2/3 cup of boiling water. Immediately turned oven down to 460F. Bake for 10 min then remove pan with lava rocks and reduce to 430F for 10 min. Then turned off oven and opened the door and let the baguettes sit for 5 min. Allowed to cool for 30 min.

My results are as follows, but not exactly what I wanted.

Notes:

Crumb was no where near what I wanted or comparable to DonD's wonderful baguettes, but then again I have only just begun. Maybe no degas the next time and some work on shaping and scoring wouldn't hurt.

Crust color was a little light. Any tips?

What is the purpose of the rye in the recipe? The inside was nice and soft with a thin crunchy crust but I thought the taste was a bit off. In all honesty a may have forgotten the salt but I can't remember, mise en place right? So, the no salt could have been the culprit, not totally sure I forgot it though. Anyways I'm open to suggestion, critques or comments. Thanks!

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!

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!


 


 

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

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