Pain Paillasse Revisited
When I first saw the twisted shaped baguettes posted by Shiao-Ping on her blog, I was intrigued. Then I read the posting by Chouette22 on the Pain Paillasse by Aime Pouly and found out that it is an Artisanal Bread made in Switzerland, I was fascinated and wanted to know more about the man and his breads. I purchased Pouly's book 'Le Pain' and studied it thoroughly.
Having spent one year of college in Geneva in the late sixties, I have always had a soft spot for the beautiful country of Switzerland. Although, the Pain Paillasse was not around when I was there, I was determined to try to duplicate it. Problem is the recipe is a closely guarded secret that Aime Pouly only shared with two of his most trusted friends.
From the description and photographs of the basic Pain Paillasse, I understood it to be a Levain and White Flour based Baguette where the high hydration dough is twisted like a wringed towel before proofing and baking without any scoring. Although Pouly refers to his preferment as Levain, his formula for Levain is a mixture of Flour, Water and Yeast at 100% hydration so my guess is that it is really a Poolish instead. However for my first attempt, I decided to use a Poolish preferment made with a mature Liquid Levain instead of the Instant Yeast (similar to the Whole Wheat Levain that Hamelman described in his book). I chose the Liquid Levain to control the sourness from the production of Acetic Acid. To balance the sourness of the Levain, I used the principles of the Gosselin Pain a l'Ancienne formulation first published by David Snyder to extract extra sweetness from the dough.
300 Gms AP Flour
150 Gms Bread Flour
30 Gms WW Flour
20 Gms Dark Rye Flour
125 Gms Flour Mix
125 Gms Water
25 Gms Mature Liquid White Flour Levain (100% Hydration)
375 Gms Flour Mix
200 Gms Ice Cold Water + 50 Gms Water
9 Gms Atlantic Grey Sea Salt
1/8 Tsp Instant Yeast
Pains Paillasse Proofing
Pain Paillasse Crumb
1- Make Levain Poolish and ferment overnight for 8 hrs until tripled in volume.
2- Mix remaining Flour Mix with the Ice Water for 1 min. at low speed w/ flat beater and autolyse overnight for 8 hrs.
3- Mix Levain Poolish, Dough, Salt and Yeast with remaining water using flat beater on low speed for 1 min. Switch to dough hook and knead at low speed for another minute. Let rest for 30 mins.
4- Stretch and fold in the bowl using the James MacGuire method 4 times at 1 hr interval.
5- Dough should have nearly doubled in volume by the 4th fold. Divide dough in 3 and preshape into rounds and let rest 15 mins.
6- Shape into long baguettes, flour generously and twist baguettes before proofing for 45 mins.
7- Bake in preheated oven at 460 degrees with steam for 10 mins.
9- Continue baking without steam for another 12 mins at 430 degrees.
10- Turn off oven and let rest in oven with door ajar for 10 mins.
11- Remove baguettes and cool on rack.
The dough developed nicely during fermantation and was quite extensible but at 75% Hydration was not easy to handle. Generous flouring during shaping helped.
Oven spring was good, the crust had deep golden color and was quite crunchy. The crumb was cream color, fairly open with medium softness and a slight chewiness. The taste had a hint of toastiness and a slight tang balanced with a sweet creamyness (which is the trademark of the Gosselin Pain a l'Ancienne). Overall, I was quite pleased with the results. Next time, I will try using all AP Flour with a touch of Rye and a true Poolish which I think will be closer to Pouly's formulation. I would be curious to hear the detailed description from someone who has tasted the authentic Pain Paillasse.