The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Le Pain par Poilane

kylelindstrom's picture

Le Pain par Poilane



My high school French is a little weak, but I'm intrigued by what I've seen online of Le Pain par Poilane.  Anyone here use it and if so, do you have any thoughts, reccommendations or suggestions, maybe even about other French books on bread.



LindyD's picture

According to the Amazon review, it is a history of Lionel Poilane and his bakery.  There are no recipes.  Do a TFL search on Poilane and you'll come up with lots of info - and in English.  ;-)

There are many excellent books on bread - check out the recommended books to the left - you should find something of interest.

Edited to add correction: the reviewer states it is not a recipe book but noted there are a few within the text.


breadforfun's picture

I first came across a reference to Pain Poilâne in Reinhart's BBA where he presents a version of this bread; he calls it a miche, which I believe is a name for the large (2 kg)  rustic loaf.  It inspired me to make a natural starter and I've been feeding it now for a few months.  Amazingly, my wife found a small gourmet shop in the area that imports Poilâne's loaf and we bought one to try.  I've been trying my hand at making this for the past month, and after about 10 tries, I got something that I liked.

I believe that Poilâne uses a mixture of grains based on the package that the bread comes in, but there is no ingredient list.  Reinhart uses 100% whole wheat, which I found to be a bit bland.  I have modified the recipe to use several different grains, and I also increased the hydration to around 70% from Reinhart's original (I think around 65-66%).  Here are some photos of the loaves, which weigh around 4 lbs. 4 oz. and last a week without getting stale.

dmsnyder's picture

I've baked the miche from BBA many times. Of the various miche formulas I've tried, Reinhart's is not my favorite, but it does produce a bread closer to Poilâne's than any of the other's.

From various reviews I've read, I understand that Pain Poilâne (Lionel's version, anyway) is made with a custom-milled flour that is high-extraction and similar to French T-65. Nicky Giusto says that the Central Milling "Organic Type-85 malted" flour is close to that used by Poilâne. I've also read that Poilâne uses some Spelt flour, but I don't really know.

The miche that has been closest in flavor to what I remember from the one time I tasted Poilâne's miche many years ago was made with KAF First Clear. 

Here' a link to my blog on my last BBA miche: Miche from BBA


breadforfun's picture

Can you give a few more details about the steaming apparatus that you use?

dmsnyder's picture

I pre-heat a 7" cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks on the bottom oven shelf. My backing stone is pre-heated on a middle shelf.

Just after loading the bread on the stone, I place a 9" perforated pie pan filled with ice cubes on top of the lava rocks. The ice melts, and the water drips onto the lava rocks, creating steam. If the bake is short, I use fewer ice cubes.

I usually remove the skillet from the oven 1/3 to 1/2 way into the bake.

Also, I start the bake on conventional setting but switch to convection and turn the oven down 25ºF when I remove the skillet. This is to dry the crust more completely.

Alternatively, I bake with the loaf covered in a cast iron dutch oven, removing the cover when the crust has started to form. 



Wild-Yeast's picture

I also use Cental Millings Organic Flour to produce a Poilane style bread.  Use of an inverted steam tray pan sprayed with water on an oven stone produces a steam environment for the rising dough in the first 15 minutes.

This is our house bread and has been for the last several years...,

Bien Cordialement, Wild-Yeast