The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne: Amazing Outcome!

veganthyme's picture

Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne: Amazing Outcome!

I made Pain a l'Ancienne bread from BBA and was amazed at the outcome. I had never worked with a cold fermentation process before. While it is a much wetter dough, the hands-on time in terms of kneading and manipulation is little-to-none compared to other dough recipes I've tried. I turned my Pain into ciabatta vs. a baguette (we are more likely to eat sammiches in this house). The finished bread had a moist crumb, but still had air pockets much like the ciabtta bread I'd made earlier. The taste was where I really noticed the difference: nutty, a bit sweet, and also a sour note as well with a chewy crust. We loved it! My blog shows my step-by-step of the dough through final baking.

lissaschultz's picture

I made Peter's Pain a L'ancienne recipe last weekend and LOVED the final product. I made mine in a shape I will call "rustic baguette" (because I'm not great at shaping yet!). De-gased as little as possible becuase the daugh was so beautiful and airy. Outcome was chewy meltaway, moist crumb with beautiful multi-tone golden chewy crust. Can't wait to try it again this weekend.

veganthyme's picture

Thank goodness for great bread! It is reassuring to hear from someone else, especially when I thought the dough appeared to be much wetter than doughs in prior baking experiments. Whew! Thanks so much--yes, and I agree with you--handling with extra special care when shaping totally helps!

Yerffej's picture

Very nice.


saltandserenity's picture

I agree!  I LOVED this bread.  I nicknamed it "brutti ma buoni" bread (Italian for "Ugly but Good").  Not the most attractive bread I have made but oh my, the taste and texture were amazing.  And the holes!!  Well don't get me started on that.  Check it out!

veganthyme's picture

Okay, saw your photos on your blog of your Ugly But Good BBA and loved it! I will be trying a batard shapes later, for now, little slippers are working just fine--you are way ahead of me in the BBA--I hope to catch up soon! All your breads so far look amazing--love the blog, too!

saltandserenity's picture

Thanks vegan thyme!

salerina's picture

I also haver been amazed at the results and now make it weekly as part of my menu. By the way the French translation is OLD BREAD.

veganthyme's picture

Old Bread--thanks for the translation! I just know it is now on my top five list for easy baking and for tasty, long-lasting goodness!

DonD's picture

for Pain a l'Ancienne is "Bread in the Old Style".


dmsnyder's picture

On the other hand, "le pain ancien" would mean "old bread." (As opposed to "l'ancien pain" which would mean "former bread.")

Language wonderful is!

Now, back to baking.


andrew_cookbooker's picture

Just have to chime in about this amazing bread. It's probably one of my favourite things to bake from any cookbook. Everyone I've made these baguettes for has been impressed, even French folk.

I just made the updated version of this from Peter's newest book, Artisan Breads Every Day, and I think he's improved on it, if that was possible. There is a tiny bit more work on the day before as you're doing a series of stretch and folds before putting it in the fridge, but there's less on the baking day as you only need to take it out an hour before baking, and he's streamlined the steaming process (no more spraying the oven sides).

I found the taste to be just as good, and my baguettes were noticeably more 'sprung' after baking - rounder and higher, and quite beautiful.

Ten Speed has provided the recipe as part of the Cookbooker Challenge here if anyone wants to test it out (and add your reviews too!):

Lesley R's picture
Lesley R

I have just made some of this cold fermented dough into baguettes and was amazed with the result - Great! I perhaps cooked them for a little too long as they are very brown but they taste long will 4 baguettes last?? Not long I suspect.