The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

V - Better Than Poilane!!..........?????????

lumos's picture
lumos

V - Better Than Poilane!!..........?????????

In my second blog entry,  I wrote that I baked three varieties of bread for my friend;  WW bread (with right amount of salt!), cocoa-flavoured bread with cranberry & walnuts, and the other one. For the first two bread,  I’ve already shared the formulae in my earlier blogs.  So, today I’d like to share the recipe for the last one,  which is actually the favourite of this friend I baked those breads for. 

She’s my best and most trusted foodie friend for many years and my regular companion to Borough Market where we pay absurd price our  pilgrimage occasionally to enjoy getting ripped off their wonderful (no editing here. They are really wonderful….most of the times) produce, not only from the British Isles but also from Continental Europe and more exotic places far afield.  And every time we go there, we first bee-line to Neal’s Yard Dairy  first to buy our favourite cheeses (their Colston Basset Stilton  is to die for and this relatively new Scottish blue  is to kill for!) and a few loaves of bread from the selection which they sourced from several highly-regarded artisan bakeries in and around London.  One of the breads we ALWAYS used to buy was, of course, THE famous(ly-overpriced) Poilane……until one day I conjured up the recipe of this ‘the other bread' (...Starting to sound like Harry Potter's 6th book...).

 This formula came about quite accidentally during my still on-going project to re-creating a wonderful Pain de Campagne we had in Dijon, France, some years ago on holiday. The result was not quite what I was trying to achieve but nevertheless, it was quite good.

 So, one day I baked it and took it to her house to see how she’d like it. We didn’t eat it then (we went out for a lunch) but I received email from her later that night, which said (in the gist...-ish) ; “The flavour!  It’s so complex!  And the crumb!  Oh, the crumb!!  Every time you bite into it, the flavour and aroma explode in your mouth and it lingers on for such a long time...I think you exceeded Poilane!”    

  Well…..I think she’s a bit over-enthusiastic (and too kind).  I really don’t think I did exceed Poilane with that bread. Of course not.  Nor will I ever do, for that matter.  I don’t own their famous ‘a few hundred years old’ heritage levain to make my bread nor do I have absolutely ANY intention of living that long just to add extra value to my starter.  And to be entirely honest, I’d rather pay for their expertise and hard work and buy the real McCoy than labouring in my humble kitchen to emulate their highly-priced prized bread. The depth of flavour and that uniquely distinctive and complex acidity Poilane is famous for is, I think, something very difficult to re-create at home, which this new bread of mine certainly did not have those to their extent. 

 But still, it is true it was quite good and I was rather chaffed about the result and, also, was very happy she really liked it so much. And precisely because it’s not as ‘assertive’ nor does it have that strong acidity as Poilane’s, it is a gentler and more accommodating company to your meals, and also very good as breakfast bread, either as it is or toasted.

 So, since that day, she stopped buying Poilane’s or any bread from Borough Market entirely and started buying various breads from me whenever we get to meet each other. And we named this bread   ‘faux-Poilane,’ which is always included in her order of breads.  And since that day, it also joined my team of regular breads. 


 

And here’s the formula. Hope you’ll like it as much as we do, too.

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‘Faux’ Poilane : My Dear Friend ‘YM’ ‘s Favourite

     (To make a loaf = dough size about 650g)

INGREDIENTS

  S/D (75% hydration)  125g 

  White 180g

  WW 60g

  Spelt 30g

  Rye 30g

  Wheatgerm 1 tbls

  Good quality sea salt 6g

  Non-diastic malt powder 1 tsp, if you have

  Water 220-230g

  A tiny amount of instant dry yeast, less than 1/8 tsp (optional)

 

 METHOD

1.   Feed S/D twice during 8-12 hr period before you start making the bread.

2.   Mix all the flours, wheatgerm and malt powder (plus instant dry yeast, if using) in a large bowl.

3.   In a separate small bowl, mix S/D and water to loosen S/D a little.

4.   Pour S/D+water to the bowl of flours and mix briefly into shaggy mess. Cover and leave for 40 minutes to autolyse.

5.    Sprinkle salt on the surface of the dough and S & F in the bowl for 20 times or so until salt is (probably) evenly distributed. Cover and Leave another 40-45 minutes.

6.   Two more sets of S & F in the bowl (just 8-10 S&F this time, enough to circulate the bowl once) every 40-45 minutes.

7.   Cover and cold retard for 12-18 hours.

8.   Make sure there’re a few large bubbles on the surface of the dough after cold retard. Take it out from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 1/2-1 hr.

9.   Pre-shape and shape. Put in a bannetton and proof (Either at room temperature, which produces milder flavour, or in a fridge again for increased acidity)….until your trusted finger-poking test assures you the dough is ready.

10.   Bake in a pre-heated covered pot (I use a lidded Pyrex casserole, upturned, which’s been very reliable…and you can enjoy watching the dough grows in volume!!) at 240 C for 20 minutes.

11.  After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 20-25 minutes.

  Note : As with many sourdough bread, it tastes good on the day it’s baked, but the flavour develops over next few days. My favourite is it’s on the third day.

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The pics above are of the loaf I bake for her, so obviously I don’t have the crumb shot. But I baked another one at the same time, and these are how it looked.

 


 


 


 

 

BW

lumos @ no-camera-at-the-mo (My dauther took mine to Paris!!! Gahhhhh)


 

 

Comments

holds99's picture
holds99

Nice work, lumos.

Howard

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Howard. Really appreciate your kindness, always.

best wishes,

lumos

asfolks's picture
asfolks

Thanks for posting lumos, I look forward to trying this formula!

Alan

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Alan.  I really don't mean to brag about how my friend chose this bread over Poilane's, it really is nice formula to have as a part of regular breads choices.

One thing I forgot to mention, though, is the colour of the crumb in the pictures is slightly lighter and a bit more greyish than true colour.  The real colour is slightly warmer with tiny shade of brown.  Also it darkens a bit over days, too.

BW

lumos

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Lumos, I'm not surprised that your friend likes it so much!

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Nico, for your kind word. :) And I can assure you it tastes better than it looks. I think I sprinkled too much  my insurance-policy-rice-flour into my bannetton....again....

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely Polain Style Boule, Lumos. No wonder Polain miches are so famous worldwide, they even ship them by air.

lumos's picture
lumos

Yes, I know they ship to many countries now. But they actually opened a few branches in London some years ago, the operation managed and orchestrated by one of the daughters (or is she the only one?) of THE family. (Can't remember her name, but quite young...and good looking, if you're interested. :p )   They brought their famous sourdough and, as far as I'm aware, they import all other ingredients....except for water, I think, unless they'd secretly installed a special pipe inside the Channel tunnel to smuggle in the water from France, too. 

So their bread, especially the famous miche and, sometimes, the rye sourdough are not too difficult to get in and around London for some years, now.  They're even sold in a few selected branches of Waitrose, too.  So naturally, when they started selling the breads from their London based bakeries, there were so many articles in newspapers and magazines and even on tv news programme about their astronomical price for a loaf of humble and holy-cow bread, I lost count of them.

Talking of Poilane, you mentioned about those new arrays of artisan-ish boulangerie chains, like Paul's  and  Le Pain Quotidien, etc. (no Bread & Co here, but The Bread Shop, instead), that have been breeding in London and other parts of UK at an alarming speed . What do you think of their bread  yourself?

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Polains Outside Paris are overpriced ,aren't they?

Anyway, i have had a lunch with my wife at Pain de Quotidien, and i was impressed with the flavor and texture of their Breads. I know, they are expensive, but i wanted to sample their breads as part of my endeavor to explore Genuine Artisanal Breads, and improve my own breads.

Eric Kaiser Cafe has opened an outlet in Dubai Mall. I have sampled two of Eric kaiser's Breads: An ordinary Sourdough Boule, and a Sourdough Rye. I liked both breads, both Overpriced, nonetheless.

 

lumos's picture
lumos

Yeah, it definitely is. Though I don't know how much charge for their bread in France, especially how their price compares to the ones from other 'prestigious' boulangeries over there.  

I've only eaten at Pain de Quotidien once and have had a couple of  other experiences of their breads which another friend of mine brought it for me. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed. Of course they're miles better than those breads you buy from more-down-to-earth-everyday sort of bakers, but still I think they're a bit over-rated. Not as over-rated as Paul's I must say, though....

You're very lucky you've got Kayser's Cafe near you. I (and many others) think EK is the only boulangeries with multiple branches who's somehow managed to maintain the standard.  I can swap 10 branches of Paul's to just one Maison Kayser. Any time. They have 19 branches in Japan now, and all the chief bakers there were trained by Eric Kayser and also they always have two French bakers sent over from their HO in Paris to oversee the operations and trained the staff there.  There're several other famous French boulangeries that have branches in Japan, but Kayser is the most adamant one who pride in sticking to their authentic original formulae in making their bread in Japan, while some of others were ready to slightly Japanise the formula or, if not, at least add a few 'new varieties' to please Japanese taste.

 

Syd's picture
Syd

Great oven spring you got there, Lumos.  Nice shaping and scoring, too.  Also, a lovely open crumb.  I think I agree with you about the third day rule, but sometimes I think it just tastes good on every day:  maybe a little different but always so good. :)

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Syd.  :)

Yeah, it's quite good from Day1 (::shouldn't brag too much. Modesty!!!!!::), but the flavour deepens and develops as days go by. It's the magic of sourdough bread, as you know very well. 

 

::Got to learn to skimp on rice flour::

best wishes, lumos

sam's picture
sam

Got to give two thumb's up for each of those breads!   Looks great.

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, gvz! Your kind words are much appreciated. :)

lumos

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Beautiful bread. Shaping and scoring are perfect.

Eric

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Eric. You are very kind. Much appreciated.

Best wishes,

lumos

varda's picture
varda

Lumos,   Wonderful bread and funny post.   I will bookmark and hopefully make some time soon.  -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Varda! :)

Hope you'll report back what you thought of it when you try this one day. An opinion from an expert like you would be always very valuable.  And you don't have to be scared of me, you can be as honest as you need to be. I'll promise I try not to be as formidable as I would to my daughter. Honest! :p

BW

lumos

ww's picture
ww

out of curiosity. As far as i know, one or two places here in Singapore import it and it goes for

1 pre-sliced loaf of 1.9kg appx   -   Price : SGD$48.00 (copied from their website)

That's abt USD 40. quite ridiculous. Kayser is opening a branch here too apparently, wonder what sort of prices they would charge :)

Khalid: saw your post on your newly acquired flour, very glad for you! Imagine you must be excited after all this while of frustrated seraching to have hit upon a mother lode of flour! here's to more baking. So it's abt $8 per kilo, that's still quite expensive huh.

LUmos: very nice bread btw, love the look of that crust

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, ww!  Thanks for your kind word. Yes, the crust....I'm more and more embarassed by how by breads look so white on the photos, like a circus clown with melting make-up after the night of heavy drinking.... I really got to learn to be less generous with sprinking of rice flour.....

Anyway....Poilane in London.  To be honest, I haven't bought it more for than 2 yrs now, so I have absolutely no idea how much it costs these days, but according to some sites on internet, it seems to be about £10.- (or slightly less at Waitrose) for a loaf of that famous miche.  And here in UK, pre-sliced one is usually sold in a half or a quarter. A whole loaf always comes unsliced......Well it was like that in the days when I used to buy. Not sure how it's like now.   I only used to buy a quarter, because I always bought several different varieties from other bakers, too, and we're only a family of three, and I remember I used to pay about £2-50 the last time I bought, which was slightly dearer than 1/4 of price for a whole loaf.  So I'm quite surprised the price hasn't gone up that much compared to the stunning inflation of food stuff in last few years, actually.  And   £2-50 for that size of loaf wasn't that extravangantly more expensive than other artisan breads, to be honest. They always tend to be very expensive anyway here in UK.

But you beat us. Completely. US$40 for a loaf?! .......and people buying it?  And do they actually eat it?  Or do they just put it in a display case to show off  to their dinner guest? :p

lumos

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

The Poilane operation is now run by Lionel's daughter, Apollonia, as you note.   She is a graduate of Harvard.

Best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Oh, yeah, I remember that name when she was first interviewed on a tv news years ago. I thought it sounded like a name from Greek mythology. :p I was also quite surprised she was so young to be heading the oparation.

Whygee's picture
Whygee

Would it be possible to use malt syrup instead of the powder? Thanks.

lumos's picture
lumos

Never used it myself, but why not? I'd think it'd be fine, as long as you reduce the amount of water just slightly.  I also make this without malt, sometimes, too.  The resultant bread won't have a hint of subtle malty whiff when you bite into it. but the difference is so minimal, you may not notice.

Let me know how it turns out.  :)

 

 

Whygee's picture
Whygee

Great, I have gathered all the ingredients and I'll try the recipe next week.

Just a quick question; when you say "Feed S/D twice during 8-12 hr period before you start making the bread.", do you discard something like 80%?

Thanks.

lumos's picture
lumos

I never discard sourdough. I only keep tiny amount (about 50 - 60 g) as seed starter in the fridge. When I need sourdough, I feed it, twice, as much as I need to make bread and keep the surplus (which is 50 - 60g) back to the fridge for future use.

For example, when I need 240g sourdough, I use 40g flour + 30g water to the seed starter for the first feed and 100g flour + 70g water for the second feed.  That will give you the starter with total weight  of 290 - 300g.  So you just take 50 - 60g out of it soon after the second feed and put it in the fridge to keep. (my sourdough is 70 - 75% hydration)

Looking forward to your result. Good luck!  :)

 

Whygee's picture
Whygee

So here's my first try at your recipe. I'm pleased with the result.

My crumb is a little bit darker than yours, I think because my S/D is half WW. 

The loaf was a bit small for my liking so I would probably increase the recipe by 15%.

As for the taste, I can say it's good, but I haven't tasted Poilâne in a while so it's tough to compare! ;-)

lumos's picture
lumos

It looks great,  Whygee! Thank you for reporting back. :)

As I explained a few times in earlier posts above, the reason I named this 'faux-Poilane' is only because this friend of mine stopped buying Poilane's loaf because she prefered this one, not because it immitates Poilane's.  Sorry, it's misleading.  I shouldn't have named as such.  The flavour profile of this formula is actually quite different from Poilane's; they use higher proportion of  spelt and possibly a little more ww in main dough (my guess) and possibly some rye in the levain, too.  Also their loaf has much higher acidity than mine. (which can be achieved if you omit dry yeast + ferment longer)

If you want to make something closer to Poilane, this blogger has been experimenting with a few alternative fomulae.  They look good, but I haven't tried any of them yet (one of many in my humongous  'bread to bake' files), so can't say how they taste like, though.

But still, I'm glad you liked the flavour of this formula.  These days I bake this in larger size, too, and usually without dry yeast, sometimes lower proportion of S/D with longer fermentation period.  It's fun to play around as it gives you slightly different flavour profiles.