We end up eating a lot of bread in our household. And I make quite a bit of it myself. In fact, one of the easiest ways for me to pleasantly surprise Angela is to start making bread before she gets home. I’ve even developed a “quick” recipe for bread that I make regularly and is the metric for any bread we eat, whether I make it or it’s produced elsewhere.
This is not that bread. The bread that I make, while quite good, does not involve any special technique. I decided that I’d like to really take my bread making up a notch and improve both my knowledge of bread making as well as my technique.
This is my first attempt at a more advanced bread. Actually, it’s my second attempt at this bread. The first attempt was good but I improperly shaped it so it ended up too short. I made this using the baker’s percentages (the recipe as written makes something like 6 baguettes which is 5 more baguettes than I would eat) which made it quite easy for me to use metric measurements. The only hard part was measuring out 2 g of yeast.
The bread turned out quite well. Given it’s overnight fermentation, it developed a very nice flavor. The wetness of the dough led to a very light, airy dough; much more so than the dense bread that I normally make.
I will definitely be making this bread again whenever I have the time. It went very well with an herb brined roast chicken and a bottle of 2007 Mandolina Rosato.
Pain à l’Ancienne
Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread
300 g bread flour
6 g kosher salt
2 g yeast
240 g water, ice cold
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, salt, yeast, and water. Beat with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes on low. Switch to the dough hook and beat for 5 minutes on medium. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise at room temperature until it has doubled, 2 to 3 hours.
- Using a plastic dough scraper, transfer the dough to a well floured counter. Shape into a bâtard. Carefully transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and cover until ready to bake.
- In the oven, place a pizza stone on the top rack and a cast iron dutch oven on the bottom rack. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
- When the oven is preheated, place the baking sheet on the pizza stone and carefully pour the boiling water into the dutch oven.
- Immediately reduce the temperature to 475ºF and bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Turn the bread if it is not browning evenly. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the bread is a rich golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Makes 1 bâtard.