Planet Kitchen

A Headbanger's Guide to Awesome Food

Pain à l'Ancienne


Original recipe by Peter Reinhart, to be found in his book "Bread Baker's Apprentice".


  • 100 grams whole wheat flour (T200)
  • 400 grams plain flour (T55)
  • 420 grams water
  • 10 grams fresh yeast
  • 2 tsp salt (9 grams)


Mix both flours with 400 grams icy cold water. Refrigerate overnight.


Dissolve yeast in a little bit of cold water, mix with salt and autolyzed dough. Knead or mix in bread machine until the liquid is incorporated. This may take a few minutes, since the dough has already developed a fairly strong gluten structure. The dough will also be very cold, so you may not be able to work it by hand. As for the consistency - the dough will be very loose and sticky. It should come off the sides of the bowl but will be sticking to the bottom of it. That's alright, it should be this way.


Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, then briefly knead again or fold a few times. Place in a bowl and let rise for 4 - 6 hours or until doubled in bulk.


Preheat oven to 230oC, with the stone in.


Place the dough on a flour dusted board, dust the top too. Cut in three portions. Degas each portion properly, fold gently and pinch to seal. Place on a shovel (I'd suggest lining it with a piece of baking paper because the dough is really very sticky) seam side down and stretch to form a roll. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let rest for 30 minutes or so.


Slash the rolls and gently place on a baking stone. Put a dish with boiling water inside and bake with steam for 10 minutes until the crust settles. Then remove the dish and continue baking for another 20 minutes.


Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Pain à l'Ancienne

This one sat a long time in the "to do" tray. I was reading and re-reading the recipe but somehow I've never gotten around to making it, until today. What I have noticed is that everybody seems enchanted by this particular bread the moment they taste it. My significant other loved it anyways, I liked it too, but have to admit I was expecting something slightly different. Not at all in a bad sense though


First of all I thought that the crumb would be more chewy but in fact it was quite soft. Interesting. And a nice surprise. It was also very fleshy, while I'd expect something more light, seeing the open, airy structure. The taste was very mature, much like a long forgotten taste of "real" bread, and ever so gently sweetish. Truly nice.


About the recipe though: This is Peter Reinhart's recipe for the Gosselin's bakery's trademark rustic baguette. The recipe is slightly different from the one included in Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice". In the book, Reinhart says that he modified his original recipe, to make it easier for home bakers. Having plenty of time on my hands and always being up for an experiment, I chose the raw version of the recipe. I had to change a few things here and there, basing on my observations while working with this bread but I was quite thorough with the first step, involving Philippe Gosselin's method of autolyze. What did I change?


First of all I used fresh yeast instead of dried and slightly less of it. Secondly I used different flour mix. I was also forced to use some more water than stated, the hydration was a little bit over 80% but this may actually be caused only by the differences between flours. And the last thing: with the first batch, according to the instructions, I only went for the oven spring, not letting the rolls fluff beforehand - and unnecessarily so. With the second batch I've obtained much better results when I degassed the dough properly and then let it rest for about 30 minutes after forming. It didn't rise much, but I was able to slash the rolls properly, I've had much better oven spring, the crumb was more opened and I didn't have any air bubbles forming on the surface. Yes, they did form on the first batch, most likely due to me being too thorough, trying to handle the dough as lightly as possible and thus not degassing it properly.


Here I give you the recipe along with my modifications.

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added 01-07-2014 by 1


added 01-07-2014 by 1