The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

BBA Pain l'Ancienne

smtucker's picture

BBA Pain l'Ancienne

I can't tell you how pleased I am to find a web site with fellow bread enthusiasts. So, I made the Pain l'Ancienne for the first time this week. I am in awe of this bread. It was fabulous! But with only two people in the house right now, six loaves at one time seemed excessive. So, I followed the instructions on page 194, paragraph marked 7, where you can put the strips back into the fridge to cook the next day.

The first day batch was amazing. I was transported back to France and began to sing "Frère Jacques." The second day loaves were flat with no lift or crumb. There was no singing.

Since my family isn't going to get bigger, I am pondering my options which does not include not making this bread again. I am thinking of completing step 1 and then dividing the dough into three equal parts. Each part gets its own bowl and goes straight into the refrigerator. Then I can pull the dough out daily, letting it come to room temperature and rise. Any thoughts on whether this will be successful? Or would it be better to divide the original recipe? [I use a KA mixer if that makes a difference.]

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


LindyD's picture

You could just bake six and freeze four or five, depending on how much bread you eat daily.  Properly wrapped per the storing tips at page 99, they will taste fine when thawed.  Just don't slice them; I've found that bread dries out quite quickly when sliced and frozen.

While you certainly could stash the dough in the refrigerator, cut what you need, and bake  (this is what the artisan bread in five minutes a day movement is based on), I'm not sure you would get the same taste results.  

But you won't know until you try!



bassopotamus's picture

but there are french variations where the dough can hold for days in the fridge. The one I've been using, I cut off a chunk, warm for 30 minutes at room temp. Shape into loaves and let sit another hour,  then bake at high heat/steam/etc. Does AOK. Better on day 2-3 than day 1 or 5

smtucker's picture

So, I tried this method. Created the dough and then divided [by weight] it between two bowls. Both went into the fridge. The next day I pulled out one bowl and let it double in size at room temperature [which is fairly chilly right now] and made three baguettes. They were just as tasty as my first batch, but didn't have quite the same rise.

Yesterday I pulled out the second bowl and also let this rise. The dough, once doubled, was more "bubbly" than either of the other attempts. This dough I divided into two, setting one half aside for a ciabatta shape. The other half I divided into two and made two pizzas. The pizzas were lovely. Delicious flavor with a really nice amount of edge "puff." As instructed in BBA, I let the ciabatta sit at room temperature for 2 hours, but forgot to cover it. Only took 20 minutes to fully cook using the hearth method. The top crust was just the right amount of crisp, the interior was more dense than round 1, and the bottom was too crusty. The flavor was wonderful though.

Obviously, I need to keep practicing, but this seems to have some potential for creating good bread in smaller batches.

smtucker's picture

With a 6 quart mixer, dividing the formula in half does work. What a delicious bread this is. Now I am searching for a French slow rise bread to make into sandwich-friendly boules.