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Le Pain de Beaucaire (bis) - research only

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proth5's picture
proth5

Le Pain de Beaucaire (bis) - research only

Oh the controversy!  So I thought to myself, the recipe cited in some posts was from a "Best Worker of France."  Why not consult the bread book I bought last April with recipes from the MOFs in Boulangerie.

Sure enough, we find the formula, method, and pictures from M. Auzet himself.  Although he hails from Avignon and at the time of publication lived in Cavaillon, one can consider him just a "stone's throw" from Beaucaire.  His picture makes him seem like a right jolly old elf and he is an MOF - so I'm going to take his advice on this.

The recipe I will not repeat.  It is a fairly simple levain dough with 17% of the flour pre-fermented  in a stiff levain and a total hydration of 60%.  He adds  commercial yeast - which some of us would prefer not to add.

Although I understand the French, I do not have that peculiar gift that allows direct transation, so I will summarize.

Note the technique.  He is mixing the ingredients in a spiral mixer at first speed for 15 minutes (so, I'm thinking no stretch and fold here...).  The dough is not getting a true bulk ferment because of the long development in the mixer.  The dough is rested for 15 minutes.  It is then patted out with the hands into a rectangular form.  It then rests for 20 mins.  After that the ends are folded to the middle.  It is then flattened and folded by hands would fold croissant dough (for you Francophones "(comme pour faire un tour aux croissants)" - don't know if that could be any clearer...)  What is unclear is if the dough is folded in half, so that with the addition of the earlier folds it is a "tour double" or if it is folded in thirds in addition to the folds to the center in order to do a "tour simple" - my speculation is that it is folded in half to create the double turn. It is left to rest, covered for 30 minutes and then is rolled with a rolling pin to a rectangle 2.5 cm thick.

Then a slurry of 5:1 water to flour is used to moisten the top of the dough (but not too much) and the dough is left to rest for 10 mins.

The dough is cut lengthwise and one part stacked on the other.  It rests for 15 mins.

It is then cut in the way of a  "racle a Beaucaire"  (which roughly translates to a Beacaire scraper) but he assures us this just means to cut into loaves- one would assume, because the original rectangle was cut lengthwise that this is cross wise - but helas - he does not elaborate.  The loaves are placed on a floured couche still in a stacked position.  He cautions us to make the folds of the couche very high so the dough does not fall over.

The loaves proof for 3-4 hours.

His picture shows loaves that truly look like two narrow loaves that are stuck together.  The ends of the loaves are distinct and blunt - they show no taper.

He does go on and on about how the folding is what makes the bread and regrets mightily that it is so seldom baked.  He concludes by saying that it requires a baker not just a bread merchant to make this bread.

I'm trying my own version of this today, but perfectionist that I am always hesitatant to publish pictures unless I am happy with the loaf (and I never am...)

So, friends, this is what I find.  I cannot but believe the source is authentic.  That being said, the bread belongs to the baker (unless it is controlled by French law) and I am sure there are many excellent variants on this theme that are just as authentic and delicious (and that's what matters.)

The book from which I have cited is "20 Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, L'Equipe de France de Bouangerie, et Medailles D'Argent se Devoilent et Vous Offrent Leurs Recettes Choisies" published in 1994 - a book that is not really accessible to all, but which I treasure...

When will that ABandP arrive? Ah well.

Happy Baking!

 

 

Comments

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Pat,

Thanks for that detailed description.  I remember seeing a picture of pain de Beaucaire quite some time ago (for the life of me, I can't remember where) where the ends were blunt and without a taper.  That was the reason why I decided to cut, rather than fold over, the two laters.  Your post gives me a lot to think about, not the least of which is how do I get my hands on that book!  :) 

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

proth5's picture
proth5

Mine was purchased from Librairie Gourmande 90, rue Montmartre, Paris.  They have a website www.librairie-gourmande.fr  which I will NOT be visiting as my trip to their store actually cost me more than a week in Paris (I have lots of frequent flyer miles and hotel stayer points so that is not as awful as it sounds.) They are the nicest folks you could hope to meet and perhaps they can help :>) 

And now to the next great question - cut side up or down? I might try one of each...

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Pat, would you be so kind as to contact me by e-mail?  My e-mail address is steveb (at) breadcetera (dot) com.  Thanks. 

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

proth5's picture
proth5

Well, the results are in and definitely no photo.  It seems that what all of us are getting is a batard like bread with a wide shred down the middle.  That's not the goal.  What M. Auzet gets is a bread that looks like two thin round loaves pushed together (although, now that I look again, Howard is getting that profile, but not with the tight shaping that Auzet's loaves show). A lovely Bactrian camel sort of profile.

I was going to post a picture of the picture in my book until I thought d'oh - copyright.  Sorry I cannot post it.

It's getting the direction and the type of that "tour aux croissants" correct - I just know it.

We must all wait for Jane's call - or - as I will be doing for a little while - play with a towel to see how I might get the folds oriented correctly.

But we are resolved to get it right!

Howard, you have much to answer for in starting me on a new obsession :>)

Happy Baking!

holds99's picture
holds99

Good research job and very interesting.  In one of my test iteratations I did the rolling pin "bit" but, in my opinion, it took too much gas out of the dough, which inhibited the final rise and oven spring and made for a tighter crumb.  In my last try (no. 4) I flattened the dough into a rectangle using my hands and it work fine.  Hope you decide to post some pix.

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

The crumb on my bread is very open with many fine alveoles.  It is actually more open than I experience with my baguettes, so I'm not sure that the rolling did too much damage.  I am convinced that the folding has impact because the alveoles kind of line up with the folds.

I am posting a picture of the crumb just to show what I got.  It does reveal my miserable shaping so please overlook that.  I just found it to be something that made me take notice - when I pulled the loaves from the oven I really didn't expect that crumb.

 Next try will be better...

Crumb

holds99's picture
holds99

Pat,

Your crumb looks great.  From my experiments I found that I needed something (bran flakes, semolina, etc.) about half the way into the fold (going from the middle in both directions to 2/3 length out toward the each end's edge but not to all the way to the end edge, so that the ends seal) to act as an insulator, so to speak, and keep each inner side of the fold (inside, center 2/3 of the loaf) from reuniting/joining thus keeping the top open as it baked[giving the unique shape).  I used bran (that I sift out of rye and wheat and keep in the freezer) and it worked well for me. Hope that explanation makes sense.

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

Gives me something to think about this week before next "baking day."  I always have plenty of bran hanging around from milling the high extraction flour and maybe I will use it next time.

I think we are finding out that this is an elusive bread indeed.  I should just head to Beaucaire and find out the real scoop...

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Pat,

Oh, what great information! Now, I have seen a few pictures and the ends are sealed and what you describe, the ends aren't sealed. So, I wonder which is authentic.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=pain+de+beaucaire&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2

Here's a link to some. The first looks like there is bran in the middle as Suas's book explains.

Do you really think the baker can give me even more info than that? What questions would you all have? I wrote a list already, but give me ideas.

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

Well, I can't post my photo, but the ends aren't sealed.  I am sure that it is a matter of variants from baker to baker - the effects of time and marketing considerations, etc, etc.

I'll always side with an MOF - it is a hard won title - and well, just like I'll always trend towards advice given by "my teacher" because it's from "my teacher." We all pick someone to follow. (And I will tell you I got quite a bit of attitude from "my teacher" when I dared to discuss the Bouabsa baguette technique.  Not - best -pleased with me about that...)

So my first question would be - ends sealed or not?  Then:

  1. How thick should the dough be for the first rectangle
  2. In which direction are the first folds made
  3. The next fold "Comme pour faire un tour aux croissants" - what fold and in which direction
  4. Then which direction do we cut.
  5. How is it stacked - which direction for the cut sides

And every little detail...

Thanks!

dougal's picture
dougal

Quote:
The next fold "Comme pour faire un tour aux croissants" - what fold and in which direction

"Un tour simple" for a Croissant (or flaky/puff pastry) is pretty much identical to a "stretch and fold" - apart from using a rolling pin to flatten and expland the dough rather than stretching it.

Its just a simple fold in three, exactly like the way we in Britain would fold a letter into an envelope.

Stretch/roll to a portrait-format rectangle.

Fold the top 1/3 over, so its almost square.

Then fold the bottom 1/3 (all the single thickness 'flap') over the double thickness bit, leaving you a 3x thickness, but smaller and now landscape-format rectangle.

That is one "tour". For pastry or croissant, you'd usually just give it one turn ("tour") and chill it for half an hour or so before repeating. Four or five turns might be normal.

Your Beaucaire recipe only calls for ONE - in total.

Its just a 1994 description of a SINGLE stretch and fold. Nothing more.

 

There does also exist a (rarer) "tour double", where the dough is folded in four.

Fold the top to the middle, then the bottom to the middle, then fold along that middle line to get four thickness of dough.

dougal's picture
dougal

There are two different 'split' loaves being made in this bakery, about 30 miles from Beaucaire.

http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/artisan-boulanger/four-boulanger.htm

There are strange things like paired baguettes seen at the top of the page.

I believe these are called "Tourtons (de Beaucaire)"

And there are also the rectangles of dough waiting to go into the wood fired oven near the bottom of the page - which I think would produce the split bâtard shapes that have come out of the oven. There's a close-up of the dough rectangles near the top of the page (showing the sandwich), which I believe to be the pain (ordinaire) façon Beaucaire. (And it looks like someone is "squaring off" the ends with that blade.)

You'll note that that baker's particular specialities are Tourton and Pain de Beaucaire (and Fougasse - though that's seemingly not illustrated, but, hey, we think we know about that one!) http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/artisan-boulanger/artisan-boulanger.htm

However, that bakery had only been in business for 60 years when there was a certain unpleasantness in Boston Harbour involving some tea and some tax-dodging colonists.

So, even though they aim to preserve things exactly the way they were, its entirely possible that they may not be in touch with the original traditions!

 

 

And then there's the INBP's description, picture and sketchy recipe...

http://www.cannelle.com/CULTURE/painreg/languedoc/languedoc1.shtml

Quote:
...qui a la particularité d’être de forme rectangulaire et fendu en deux verticalement. Sa croûte est fine, plutôt claire et sa mie souple développe un goût particulier qu’elle doit à l’originalité de la fermentation.
So, "a characteristic rectangular shape, split in two vertically... and the supple crumb develops a particular taste, from the fermentation" (Not that their recipe seems to have an unusual fermentation.)

They make the 'sandwich' stack by folding, BTW.

 

However, there are at least two different questions

- what were the loaves like 500 years ago?

- and what does the name mean/imply/indicate today?

 

AFAIK, the term isn't protected under Euro-law (in the same way as Champagne or Melton Mowbray pork pies), so there could be great freedom of interpretation!

proth5's picture
proth5

It seems like the deeper we dig the deeper the mystery becomes.

I assure you that I have a recipe and pictures of bread baked under the eye (one presumes) of M. Auzet that looks nothing like the ones we are seeing in these photographs. 

Now, M. Auzet decries that so very few bakers really have the knowledge to make these breads (or at least didn't in 1994) so... maybe the bread has undergone some transition.

"Fendu" really implies that a single bread obtains a split by folding or by the pressure of a long narrow tool.  M. Auzet is telling me to "couper le paton" and then to stack them.  Seems clear to me.

But those rectangles of bread do suggest the shapes that I had prior to mangling the load into the oven...

And almost every other method seems to leave out(or not discuss) the folding "comme pour faire un tour de croissant" which seems to contribute to that unique crumb.

FYI:  I am also posessed of a formula and method from M. Auzet for La Fougasse aux Grattelons - which is mentioned as a speciality of the bakey you mentioned.  One ponders the MOF title and speculates that he may have a grip on the area specialties.  But the endless variations of shape that I have seen in fougasse dwarfs the differences we are seeing in Pain de Beaucaire...

Yes, nothing will do until I go to Beaucaire myself and find out.  What absolutely kills me is the large number of times I have been to Beaucaire and I had never heard anything about this bread! Ah the endless mystery that this corner of France embodies!

dougal's picture
dougal

Variations? Did you spot the reference to "un beaucaire rond" in the text on the wood oven page?

http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/artisan-boulanger/four-boulanger.htm  

 

Even though some cheese is still made there, I'm not sure that the village of Cheddar in Somerset would be the best place to search out today the best (or even most authentic) Cheddar Cheese...

 

However, a 300 year old bakery, determined to do things in the traditional way, and a mere 30 miles/50 km away from Beaucaire would seem like a VERY good place to start. And M Boyer in Sarrians even gives his phone number. Sadly I don't have the confidence in my spoken baking French to bother him with an international call, but if anyone else wanted to give it a go, the number is 04 90 65 42 15 - but note that he's closed Sunday & Monday... 

http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/artisan-boulanger/artisan-boulanger.htm  

keesmees's picture
keesmees

......strange things like paired baguettes seen at the top of the page.

I believe these are called "Tourtons (de Beaucaire)"......

thats correct.

http://www.provence-hideaway.com/506-01.html

 

 

proth5's picture
proth5

Ah well, we will wait for Jane's call. 

Just looking for an "excuse" to head to the general area of the Luberon...Some things must be seen to be understood fully.

Happy Baking!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Pat,

I will get to the call. It's just that I have to do it before 8am and yesterday I had two little girls that woke at 7am and can't call if they're around and today I have to leave in ten minutes. Tomorrow! :-)

Jane 

holds99's picture
holds99

You had asked about the steps.  Didn't want to clog up your blog so I posted a thread of a photo collage showing the steps I used making the pain de Beaucaire yesterday, on my original blog.

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

Tried again today at 60% hydration.  This makes a nice stiff dough but, various sources insist it is important to make a stiff dough.  I used the "fold with a plastic scraper" technique and did the folds five times (typically I do four for all white flour breads.)

I did do folds during shaping - first a fold of the edges towards the middle and then a tri-fold before rolling, wetting and cutting the loaves.

What I got is not quite ready for prime time, but as I look at the results carefully - they are starting to more closely resemble the pictures of M. Auzet's loaves - very much the same texture along the top of the loaf and a lot better separated.  This is not at all the shape other pictures of this loaf seem to imply - it seems unique to M. Auzet's style.

What I also observe is that even at this relatively low hydration, the crumb is very open.  Not as much as my higher hydration loaves - but pretty nice.  I may have overdeveloped the dough a bit - but for low hydration and over development, it's better than I deserve.

I'm going to stick with my belief that the folds (as part of the shaping) are doing something because for the particular variation to which I aspire, they seem to move me in the right direction.

So, I'll be tweaking small things on this general method for awhile and hope to post when I'm happy with the bread (that will probably be in 2012...)

Thanks for all the good advice and helpful suggestions.  Jane, anything that you learn from your conversations would be most welcome and I await your post!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

OK, I called! What a coincidence, I just noticed that Dougal looked at the web site of the baker I called, Frédéric Boyer. I had chosen him because he is a true artisan baker... and boy was he nice and helpful!

I got the basics, but I didn't want to go overboard because N°1 Too detailed questions are irritating when you've just finished a night's work and N°2 He has his secrets, I imagine.

Here goes:

The bread is a levain bread made from a white pâte fermentée and the final dough is white. It has à 55% hydration level, so he resulting bread is quite compact. He says he bakes according to tradition but that every baker will put in their ideas. The dough is kneaded with a pétrin corse, so it's gentle kneeding. The folds are done directly in the pétrin. The dough does not go through a long, long fermentation and is not retarded (which is classic for French pain au levain made with pâte fermentée).

The dough is rolled out and cut. Now, here's the thing! His table is sprinkled with olive shell powder. So, the dough is rolled out but left quite thick. He explained that if it was rolled out too much it wouldn't stand up afterwards.One side is brushed with water and then the other piece of dough is lifted ON to the first one so that the bottom, which now has this powder stuck to it, is in the middle! Ah hah! But he said that is how HE does it. Then he cuts off the ends and makes other breads with it, so that each rectangle is perfectly rectangular and no bumpy edges. The portions are left to rise still in the vertical position and it is only when they will be baked are they flipped on to their side. He says the resulting bread is very rectangular with the "fente" in the middle (my brain is slow today, I can't find the English word).

He was so nice and even invited me to come visit, so I think I'll have to convince Hubby that we need a weekend away and I'll go see. His bakery looks amazing and his oven is over 300 yrs old. For more info on Frédéric, see the page:

http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/artisan-boulanger/four-boulanger.htm

The title "L'homme sage" means The Wise Man. 

Oh, and he said that very few bakers still make this bread because it is time consuming and modern procedures have pushed it out. He said that he has clients from Beaucaire that can't find this bread in their own village! Funny.

Jane 

dougal's picture
dougal

Well done and thanks!

 

I should have realised that the dough would have to be fairly dry to hold those shapes without support and with no slumping...

Now, about this 'olive shell powder'. Very Provençal. And no way is it to be found in my local supermarket!

Some substitution required, I'm afraid! If its the orangey coloured dust visible in the dough cutter picture at the top of the page, then, maybe Bran might really be closest...

I hope that when (not if) Jane does visit, she'll tell us more about the workings of the 'Corse' mixer or kneader. (Regardless of whether its Mr Corse's or Corsican!)

 

"Fente" - my dictionary gives slit, slot, crack, (and of a jacket, a 'vent' {I'll bet fente is the origin of that English term}; of wood, a 'split'; of rock, a 'crevice').

Good work Jane! :-)

 

EXTRA: I've only just discovered that there is an English language version of his page...

http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/french-bread/baking-bread.htm

While the translation is a bit shaky (the Tourtons are 'maigre' - which really means slim or slender NOT "meager") it did explain the point that I had missed as to why there are no photos of his Fougasse!

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Much appreciated! This seems to clear up a couple of things, at least for me :-)

Reading about different local bread traditions and customs is very fascinating.

It seems that SteveB's video should be pretty close to "the real deal". Yes, 55% hydration sounds pretty dense and dry... Isn't the Suas recipe closer to 60%?

I'm looking forward to reading about your possible future visit to mr. Boyer!

Hans Joakim

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Jane, thanks for making the time and effort to contact M. Boyer.  Your conversation was quite informative!

At 55% hydration, do you think M. Boyer gets much of an open crumb?  If not, would a tighter crumb be a traditional characteristic of this bread?

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

dougal's picture
dougal

I see that (upthread) Keesmees has posted a link to some info about "Tourtons de Beaucaire".

http://www.provence-hideaway.com/506-01.html

Guess what? Its a record of a visit to the same M. Boyer ... !!! 

With some tasting notes - same dough for the Tourtons and the pains, it seems.

 

I think his web presence is more noticeable than his shopfront - which is almost as 'unchanged' as the bake-room ...

SteveB's picture
SteveB

From the above website: "... firm texture like a San Francisco sour dough".  I guess that answers the question about the presence/absence of an open crumb. 

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

keesmees's picture
keesmees

tnx jane.

I'll try a drier dough next time. btw, maybe this boyer is family of andré boyer in sault, the famous patissier and nougatier.

 

fente: when speaking about the consistency of dough, soft and firm like a baby's bottom, I would suggest the word cleavage ;-)

holds99's picture
holds99

Thank you for doing the research and making the call.  I, for one, truly appreciate you contacting Monsieur Boyer and getting such good, authentic, first-hand information and for doing such a great writeup.  Your description, including the 55% hydration and "compact" crumb/loaf really helps a great deal in understanding how the authentic version of this bread is made. 

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

You will have to head out for a visit. If for no other reason than the great beauty of the region and to get pictures of that bread!

This has become a quest, I fear, and we have found a bread with strong traditions which vary from baker to baker and probably sub regions within regions.

So, I may have to abandon Beaucaire as a source, but will certainly include Cavaillon. If the Boulangerie Auzet is still in operation, I may be able to compare and contrast.

Thanks again, Jane for your work!

keesmees's picture
keesmees

did some googling on the "pétrin corse". 

interesting thing. on the third pic there is a toothed wheel underneath, so the wooden bowl is rotating:

http://dilaurus.club.fr/ponteves/notre%20boulanger.htm

Janedo's picture
Janedo

You're most welcome! Steve, yah, the crumb is tight. I asked him about it and he said that the oven makes a huge difference in the final texture of the bread. His 300 yr old word burning oven makes a thicker crust and a tighter crumb.

I do hope to make a trip over there soon. Hey Pat, you should hop on a plane!

Cleavage... hi hi hi, yep that's good!

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

Oh, to be in the Luberon in December!  So tempting.

But I must defer the bread quest until early Spring.  This time I will have actually heard of"Pain de Beaucaire."

The quest continues...