The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pain d'épi

cristina.w's picture

Pain d'épi

I had intended to try baguettes again a few weekends ago, but some cookbook photos of a pain d’épi changed my mind. So much crust on these!

I made a basic baguette following this formula:

-       500 g levain

-       750 g AP flour

-       10 g salt

-       0.5 teaspoon instant yeast

-       430 g water

The dough got a 30 minute autolyse, about 30 stretch-and-folds, a bit of a rest, and a few more S+F and repeat. To experiment a bit with flavour and fermentation time, I put 2/3 of the dough in the fridge overnight, and made one épi after a few hours. 

This first one was 560 g of dough, and I discovered was too thick to cut and shape into a nice looking épi. The ears started out alright, but the top of the stalk looks a bit more like a zig-zag than wheat. Despite its less-than-perfect looks, we were still able to stomach it…

After about 14 hours in the fridge, and 1.5 hours coming to room temperature, I weighed and divided the remaining dough. Instead of 2 loaves as planned, I divided it into 3. These were 375 g or so each, and I shaped them thinly enough to cut and shape nicely this time. They baked at 480 F for about 20 minutes.

The flavour was great after the overnight fermentation, and I found they looked nicest with a good sprinkling of flour before being sliced up! They also got a decorative double point, which I saw here:


It was so much fun to make (and eat) these, and they were just great for sharing at a dinner party! 


cranbo's picture

very pretty epis! Nice job! 

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

One of my favorites - very nice!

Floydm's picture

Hey, those are really nice!  Would you mind if I featured these on the homepage for a bit? Other folks would enjoy this post too.

cristina.w's picture

Thank you both!

And Floyd, I would be honoured - thank you!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Oh, those look just perfect! Such a simple technique, but hard to get them looking just right like that. And a bonus that they taste good too. :)

dabrownman's picture

when you can have pull apart Epi's that looks so much better instead?  Well done and Happy baking 

foodslut's picture

... seeing people realize, "hey, I can just rip a hunk of bread off this thing and eat!"

Well done - thanks for sharing!

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

Congratulations on making world class Pan Epi's.  They are beautiful.

Ru007's picture

Those are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for posting! 

Happy baking! 

cristina.w's picture

Thanks so much for your kind words, and all of your insights on the site! 

muddypaws87's picture

wow those look awesome!! making me hungry for a piece.

cristina.w's picture

I'm hungry looking at them again!

Happy baking! 

Skibum's picture

Nice bake Christina! I presume your levain is 100% hydration, which if I do the numbers right yields a 68% hydration loaf.  I have never used such a high percentage of levain in any natural yeast bake. Why so much?

Nice bake and happy baking! Ski

cristina.w's picture

Hi Ski, 

I was hoping for a good sour flavour and had a lot to use up so I went for it! A bit of a silly answer but there it is! 

Thanks, happy baking to you! 


FrenchGuy's picture

I'm from and I can defenitly say that your pain d'épi looks absolutely delicious!


cristina.w's picture

Thank you! Happy baking! 

T. Fargo's picture
T. Fargo

  Very good job!  I tried these, but my dough was over hydrated.  I did not exaggerate the left and right pull enough either.   It ended up looking like a baguette that went through a mosh pit, but still tasty, IMHO.  I must try again..


cristina.w's picture

It was a tricky one because of the high hydration - I really found I had to make the baguettes very thin in order to be able to cut the epis nicely.

I'm thinking it's about time for me to try them again too... 

Happy baking! 

The Bread Stone Ovens Company's picture
The Bread Stone...

Looks great! :)


Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

Inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

anmoo's picture

Congratulations, they look so good! I really want to try making them - so a question:

When you took them out of the fridge, and let them rest, you then shaped and cut and bakes straight away or did you give the dough some bench rest?

Thanks and HAPPY HOLIDAYS ;)