The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My dream loaf-just a fantasy?

badmajon's picture

My dream loaf-just a fantasy?

To date I've come across two recipes that I really like from the bread bakers apprentice, the French bread recipe, and the pain ancienne. The French bread has decent flavor and holds shape wonderfully so it's really easy to make into nice little bagettes (sp?). My only complaint is that the crumb is too fine. The pain ancienne is perfect in every way-amazing flavor, outstanding big crumb, crust is great too- but it's so wet that it would be really hard to form into bagettes so it has a pretty thin cross section as it spreads out a lot. Has anyone done some kind of hybrid? I was thinking of doing a 73% hydration all preferment spin on the French bread recipe. My ideal loaf would have the crumb and taste of the pain ancienne, but have the shape of a traditional French bread bagette.

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

I think you'll find the retarded fermentation is the key to the taste for the ancienne baguettes. I've reduced the hydration down to 72% with no ill effects in my opinion. Gentle handling is key for the great open cumb (more than the hyrdration in my a point of course).

Handling and shaping is extremely important. You'll see a big difference between the baguettes I linked to above and these:

They have similar hydration, I only improved my shaping, handling and gluten development.