The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Reinhart's Pain à l'Ancienne

kenlklaser's picture

Reinhart's Pain à l'Ancienne

I always meant to try Reinhart's Pain à l'Ancienne, and today was the big day.  This was an easy formula and process.

I used a hydration of 70%, whereas Reinhart recommends a value somewhere in the range 70-88%. I diverged slightly from his instructions in a couple of places. 

I use a pressure cooker to pump steam into a gas oven through a copper pipe which I installed in my oven, which is different from Reinhart's pan with a cup of hot water added when the dough is loaded. I did two batches in succession, I ended up steaming both bakes for the first 10 minutes, and stopped the steam for the final 8 minutes of 18 minutes total bake time.  He said they'd begin browning by 8-10 minutes, but with the pressure-cooker steam applied, they hadn't yet browned at 10 minutes when I turned the steam off.

It took about 3 hours for the yeast to wake up from its refrigerated slumber at a room temp of 75 °F, the dough temperature was just hitting 62 °F. When the gas:dough ratio reached 0.2 just a short time later, I shaped the logs and placed them to proof.  I only had enough room on the baking tile to bake three at once in the way I planned it, so I did two batches in succession.  The first one was baked when the gas:dough ratio was 0.7:

The second batch was by necessity 30 minutes later and the gas:dough ratio was 1.0 (a doubling):

I preferred the shape of the batch baked at a 0.7 gas:dough ratio, but believe it's not yet an optimal value.  The 1.0 dough expansion baked flatter, more like a wetter ciabatta.  Both had a reasonably open crumb.


yy's picture

Nice crumb! What's the syringe for?

kenlklaser's picture

Put some dough in at final mixing, squeeze it down to 1 mL, place the clamp on the hose.  As the dough expands, it moves the plunger.  The gas volume is the current reading minus the initial volume.

aecummingsII's picture

I haven't heard of the gas/dough ratio before but it seems to take some of the guess work out of exactly when a loaf if properly proved and ready for the oven.  I usually err on the side of too long verses too short a final proof and my baguettes are too flat and too dense. Your crust and crumb at 0.7 ratio look lovely to me!

kenlklaser's picture

Reinhart's formula is amazingly simple!

The syringe seems to be helping me avoid over-proofing. It is much easier to read than how fast dough bounces back after a poke. I'm still trying to work out the kinks, what is an optimum ratio to indicate the move from proof to bake, when the syringe should be loaded, what to do during degass or punchdown.

dabrownman's picture

beautiful but  think we will stick with the dough ball in a  glass of water....ex hippies shouldn't be around syringes with dough in them :-)  Love the pressure cooker steam set up too!

Nicce baking.

kenlklaser's picture

The syringe is not bad as a proof-measurement tool. The basic pressure cooker steam setup is from "cooking with crack". I pretty much copied it. It works pretty well, considering my oven's gas vents are always open.  The crust was nice and crisp.