The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pain l'ancienne: fun and folly in experimental bread-land

staceass's picture

pain l'ancienne: fun and folly in experimental bread-land

Hello all


You may remember me from my inaugral post as the break baker's flunkee.

Following the advice given in that thread, I've gone and given the pain l'ancienne formula a go (also from the BBA). The results were quite tasty, and explosive. I say explosive because, while carrying out the procedure for hearth-baking methods as described I blew up my oven light, leaving shards of glass throughout the second batch of breads. Three points to me!

Anyways, here's a pic. I've since made the challa (no pics though...), which proved to be also tasty, though not quite so volatile.




 Stacey's Pain l'ancienneStacey's Pain l'ancienne

MaryinHammondsport's picture


You are going to make it as a baker because of your willingness to take things in your stride. Sorry you blew up the oven (the light bulb, I presume) but congratulations again on your success. Beautiful texture and crumb.

I am about to try a disposable aluminum roaster for baugettes. this was discussed on the list yesterday. It would be reuseable and would eliminate the need for spraying into the oven. I'll let you know how it works. I use a stainless steel bowl over my boules, and that works fine.


holds99's picture


Nice looking crust and crumb,  Sorry about your oven glass/light.  For what it's worth I  would suggest using a preheated cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf of the oven and forget about spraying, spritzing, ice cubes, etc.  I've tried them all and  can tell you from my experience that a cup to a cup and a half of preheated to boiling water (microwaved in a measuring cup), poured directly into the preheated skillet will produce a huge cloud of steam inside the oven that will last at least until halfway through the baking cycle.

O.K. Here's the drill.  Immediately after your bread has been put into the oven (wear a mit on the hand you're using to pour the water into the hot skillet to avoid getting your hand steam burned) and pour the water into the cast iron skillet.  Immediately close the oven door and don't open it until you turn your loaves around, halfway through the baking cycle.  I'll bet you won't be having the oven glass "blow out" problem anymore if you do it this way.  Incidentally, a number of folks have had the "broken glass experience" using a spray bottle.  With cool water hitting 450-500 degree glass inside the oven...well, you know the story.

Best to you in your baking endeavors.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL