The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Ancienne WW version?

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Pain Ancienne WW version?

Hi I have been baking bread for many years but only recently decided to try to bake artisianal breads.  I also decided I wanted to stick with WW flour, or at least no white flour, since I am already eating too much of that.  My first goal is to make a simple WW "baguette" in the pain ancienne style.  Here is more or less my current recipe:

 

 

400g flour 100%

340g water 85%

8 g salt 2%

<1/8 tsp yeast

 

 

You will see I am also trying to keep it simple.. get the simple version right first I figure.  I am using no starters bigas etc - just instant yeast.  The low amount of yeast and the high hydration are techniques I have gotten enamored with in my pizza dough making, along with a very long room-temperature fermentation.  

 

The recipe itself is pretty simple (and partly inspired by JMonkeys recipes here): mix all together in the early evening and leave out.  When it has risen do a stretch-and-fold.  If still awake when risen again do another.  Next morning early do another s&f, rise, and one last s&f.  After the final rise I gently dropped it on to parchment and gently stretched into a crude loaf shape with wet hands.   Immediately baked the loaf at 450F (no proofing following pain ancienne) and steamed the oven following pain ancienne again.  The final products have been nice, with a crumb that is quite airy, similar to a baguette.  I like the taste a lot.  However, they are too flat and wide.  I was planning on working on slightly less hydration and/or using a lot of bench flour when the final loaf is shaped to help hold it a bit perhaps (this also follows the pain ancienne recipe in Reinhart).  The loaves initially have a very nice crisp crust, but it quickly softens.  I am wondering if the high hydration is also keeping the final loaf on the moist side. Your thoughts appreciated.  I would particularly like to know if there was some recipe for a WW pain ancienne style baguette out there which I could draw from.  I have Reinharts WW book and did not find anything in there.

 

Scott

 

 

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Well I tried my ideas above and I did indeed have better luck, the shape is just about right.  Here are some pictures:

 

Whole wheat batard 1

Whole wheat batard 1

 

Whole wheat batard 2

Whole wheat batard 2

 

My stone is not that long so I am making something more like a "batard" shape than a baguette.  I am very happy with how much rise I got, this is my best yet; the one with the cross-section was particularly good.  The other one stuck at some point so I had to handle it a bit too much and it didn't rise quite as high but was still good. 

 Here is the recipe:

425g king arthur whole wheat flour 100%

340g water 80%

7 g sea salt 1.65%

1/12 tsp active dry yeast

This was 5% less hydration than before and also a touch less salt.  I mixed it all together and let it sit overnight.  Since I went to bed right away there was no stretch and folding that night.  First thing next morning I did a stretch and fold and then another just before going to work.  Then after getting home tonight I did one more stretch and fold.  When it had risen again I carefully moved to a floured (this time) counter and dusted the top as well.  Then I cut it in two following Reinharts pain a la ancienne method and gently lifted on to parchment.  I decided to rotate 90 degrees to put them "on the side", with the cut side down, and that did make them stand up a bit more.  I should have immediately popped them into the oven but I did not have everything set up - they flattened out a bit by the time I got them in.   I tried some slashing but I don't know if its worth bothering with on such wet dough.  I started at 500F for 5 minutes and then finished at 475F, and steamed the heck out of my oven.

 The bread tastes quite good, I like it a lot.  It is very light textured.  It lacks the "rip" (for a better term, there probably is some name for it) of a white flour baguette -- those very strong gluten strands I guess.  It also lacks the thick crust; it does have a nice crust now, but it is thin.  I don't know how to get that thick crust but would like to.  My guess is that by tomorrow it will also not be so crisp, due to the moisture level in the bread.  

 I don't know enough about breadmaking to have an idea on how to make it more crisp; perhaps I should cook it longer to both crisp the outside more and lose more water??  I just followed Reinharts pain ancienne recipe for cooking time.  Maybe use an even higher starting temperature?  I think my oven goes to 550F.  More steam??

Scott

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Scott,

Those look absolutely lovely!  I'm impressed that you are getting such an open crumb from 100% whole wheat.  I'll need to give your formula and technique a try to see if I can get similar results.

For my tastes, a thin crust on this style bread is more enjoyable than a thicker crust.  If you want to increase the crispness of the crust, try leaving the bread in the oven 5-10 minutes after turning the oven off, with the door propped open slightly.  You are right that the crust will probably soften by the next day as moisture from the crumb migrates outward. 

One thing you might want to adjust is your slashing pattern so that the cuts run closer to parallel with the long axis of the loaf.  Try overlapping the end of one slash with the start of the next by about one-third, too.  That may give you more of the grigne ("rip") that you are looking for. 

Good work!

Paull

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Thanks Paul!  I would be very interested in your results if you try this recipe. You probably want to read over the Reinhart pain a l'ancienne recipe first since I was forming and baking the loaves following that technique he describes there.  

 What I ended up doing was leaving the bread completely uncovered overnight on the cooling rack and that did keep the crispiness in the morning.  I think your idea of leaving them in the oven is worth trying next time.

 I don't have any rational reason for wanting the thicker crust other than to copy a white flour baguette.  At some point I will probably realize that the whole wheat flour is just pushing the bread in a different direction but I'm not quite there yet.  It is already clear that the texture of the bread will never be like a regular baguette; its still a nice loaf in spite of that. 

Scott