The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question about Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne

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BLHNYC's picture

Question about Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne


Today I made pain a l'ancienne for the first time from Artisan Breads Every Day. Everything seemed to be going really well. The loaves (three small rectangles) looked great coming out of the oven. As the recipe indicated, they were hard coming out and then the crust softened. However, it seemed like the crust softened too much since the loaves were pretty soft by the time we cut them.

What is the proper consistency that I am going for? I have had plenty of ciabatta before and seems like it is always crustier. Since I have another batch of dough in the fridge ready to bake tomorrow morning, I am hoping someone can help me!

Thanks in advance!


maybaby's picture

Hmmm haven't tried that recipe yet out of ABED...but, I'm wondering if you need some significant steam in the oven to get the crispness desired. Can't hurt to try a spray bottle spritz on the oven walls when you put the bread in or use a pan and water for steam.

I tried the Struan out of ABED and wasn't impressed. Crust also was too soft. I like the one from his whole grains book better.

BLHNYC's picture

I have heard such good things about the struan and was going to try it soon. I am not a fan of soft crust, though. Perhaps I will still give it a try.

DavidR's picture

Assuming you don't want to bake the bread for any longer, then I'd suggest cooling it more slowly. Your crust is going soft because the moisture is migrating from the crumb to the crust, but doesn't then evaporate because the crust itself is already cool. If you can keep the crust warm then this water will evaporate and the crust should stay crisper.

I cover my bread with aluminium foil after taking out of the oven; that makes a difference. Alternatively, try leaving the loaf on the floor of the oven with the door open.



BLHNYC's picture

Thanks for the suggestion. I will give it a try next time!


amauer's picture

I too was not sold on the struan. It did not have the depth of flavor for that type of bread, I thought.

I am going to have to dig out my cast iron pan as I need more oven spring. I do not have a roaster cover deep enough to cover the loaves, could I "tent them in foil", or I suppose that would prevent even baking? I will cover them when I take them out. It has been humid here and we just throw ours on the grill or the oven before serving for a quick crisp up.

I have to make some bread to take to my sisters and I am currently sold on a posters sourdough wheat bread from a few weeks ago, I am making a challah, and maybe a German rye another poster gave me the recipe for last week. I will see what direction my starter sends me. Should  use diastatic malt in the wheat or rye also? I have some and haven't tried it yet.