Saturday, November 10, 2007

sloppy makes perfect - Pain à l'Ancienne baguettes

today's lunch - Pain à l'Ancienne with Roquefort

Fresh off my ciabatta victory, I attempted Pain à l'Ancienne baguettes from The Bread Baker's Apprentice (aka BBA). I'm glad to report I had another scrumptious success. The crust was gorgeous, crisp. The flavor was slightly sweet. The crumb was holey, silky, and just chewy enough. It reminded me of our Paris trip this year, when we got bread from La Grande Épicerie and other fab bakeries in the neighborhood and would simply eat bread with butter and jam for breakfast. Heaven. If only it didn't take a whole day to make bread like this.

to some, this may just be some sloppy dough
but to me, it's a thing of beauty

Apparently "pain à l'ancienne" refers not to a type of bread, but rather a delayed-fermentation technique for making the dough. In this case, I shaped it into rustic baguettes (no rolling this dough), though it can be used for ciabatta, pugliese, foccacia, pizza (I'm very curious how that would turn out), etc. The recipe yields 6 baguettes (it's only good for one day, who can eat 6 in one day?) so I halved the recipe. Here are measurements I used:

- 13.5 oz bread flour (or in my case, Halbweissmehl at 13g protein plus 3 tsp vital wheat gluten)
- 1 1/8 tsp salt
- scant teaspoon of instant yeast
- 9.5 to 12 oz ice cold water (40F) - I used the whole 12 oz

You can find the instructions here (as well as many other places on the web).

after the overnight rise in fridge
followed by 6 hours on the counter

divided in thirds with pastry scraper

placed carefully on parchment paper

puffed up after only a couple minutes in 550F oven

crispy and golden, but my scoring is still terrible
must learn how to use my lamé


Kelly Mahoney said...

Those are beautiful! The color is really impressive.

Astrid said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful! It looks better than mine, I must find out how you do it. Could the vital wheat germ on its own have such a strong effect?
A suggestion: don't halve the recipe, freeze the extra bread! As soon as it is cool, wrap it in plastic and pop it in the freezer. I then defrost it with a combination of microwave and oven so it's nice and crisp. It's a shame to fire up your oven for only three of these gems...

Astrid said...

Wow, six hours on counter! The one time I let it go for more than 3 hours, I thought it had a strange, bitter fermented after taste. But maybe it was due to something else.

Tanya said...

Welcome Kelly. Thanks for your nice comments. I had fun looking at your blog. Happy cooking!

Aluwicious said...

So beautiful, yet so complicated. If only I had that kind of patience.

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