Monday, November 24, 2008

Pain al’Ancienne

To me, there is nothing better than fresh bread, or even better baguettes. After eating out at places like Panaras, and such bread shops, I thought that it would be impossible to make the amazing bread that they serve. But I was wrong, and this bread is amazing. It has that crisp crust, and soft interior, risen perfectly. Not only is itamazing, but also easy- probably one of the most simple breads that you can make. The original recipe makes six baguettes, but they are basically only good for a little over a day. I always cut the recipe in half, so it is more managable, plus three is usuallygood enough... haha rightt.

So for thanksgiving I have been put in charge of dessert. Im kinda excited because that my favorite thing to make. Im planning on baking a pecan pie, and a pumpkin pie, all the night before of course. Probably really really late at night... lol. Happy early thanksgiving!!
Pain al’Ancienne
The bread bakers apprentice
6 cups (27 ounces) flour
2 1/4 tsp (.56 ounce) salt
1 3/4 tsp (.19 ounce) instant yeast
2 1/4 cups plus 2 T to 3 cups (19 to 24 ounces) water, ice cold
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting
Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and 19 ounces of water in the bowl of the electric mixer with the paddle attachment and mix for 2 minutes on low speed. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 5 to 6 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be sticky on the bottom of the bowl but it should release from the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in a small amount of flour until this occurs (or dribble in water if the dough seems to stiff and clears the bottom as well as the sides of the bowl). Lightly oil a large bowl and immediately transfer the dough with a spatula or bowl scraper dipped in water into the bowl. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Immediately place the bowl in the refrigerator and retard overnight.
The next day, check the dough to see if it has risen. It will probably be partially risen but not doubled in size. Leave the bowl of dough out at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours (or longer if necessary) to allow the dough to wake up, lose its chill, and continue fermenting.
When the dough has doubled from its original prerefrigerated size, liberally sprinkle the counter with bread flour (about 1/2 cup). Gently transfer the dough to the floured counter with a plastic dough scraper that has been dipped in cold water, dipping your hands as well to keep the dough from sticking to you. Try to degas the dough as little as possible as you transfer it. If the dough is very wet, sprinkle more flour over the top as well as under it. Dry your hand thoroughly and then dip them in flour. Roll the dough gently in the sprinkled flour to coat it thoroughly, simultaneously stretching it into an oblong about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide. If it is too sticky to handle, continue sprinkling flour over it. Dip a metal pastry scraper into cool water to keep it from sticking to the dough, and cut the dough in half widthwise with teh pastry scraper by pressing it down through the dough until it severs its, then dipping it again in the water and repeating this action until you have cut down the full length of the dough. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes.
Now, place a baking stone in the bottom of your oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F. Also, place a baking pan or a cast iron skillet on the top rack of your oven. Cover the backs of two half sheet pans with parchment paper and dust with semolina or cornmeal.
Cut the dough into 6 roughly equal strips using the dough cutter. Using floured hands, gently transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheets (3 to a pan). Be careful to space them as you do not want them to touch. Using a very sharp knife or kitchen scissors, make three incisions on the top of each loaf. Spray with oil and then cover with plastic wrap and let them rest until the oven is ready, roughly an hour.
Heat about 3 cups of water to a simmer. Measure out 1 cup of it. Have a spray bottle full of room temperature water at the ready. Open the oven and slide the parchment paper (with the bread, of course) directly onto the baking stone. Then pour in the 1 cup of water into the baking pan or cast iron skillet. Close the oven door and wait 30 seconds. Then spray the walls of the oven with water. Repeat two more times. Then reduce the heat to 475 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating midway through the baking time if the loaves are baking unevenly. When golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 205 degrees, transfer the loaves directly to a cooling rack. Repeat the baking process with the remaining loaves, remembering to increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees.


Mary Coleman said...

What beautiful bread, Jessie!!!
You are the bread queen of the blogs, no doubt about it! I hope you and your family have a grand Thanksgiving.

Mary Coleman said...

I spelled your name wrong! I should never multi task! Sorry Jessy!!!
love ya honey!!

Psychgrad said...

I would love to make a baguette like that! Once of these days I'm going to try. I don't know why I get so nervous about bread. Probably past failures.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

oh my! i just baked my first bread...very very happy about definitely won't be my last time ^_^

Bellini Valli said...

I am imagining this on my plate slathered in butter with its crisp crust!!!

white on rice couple said...

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

I ate so much bread lately, but your pictures give me the cravings again! Oh, how delicious this would be with a nice bowl of warm soup!

pinknest said...

nothing's better than a baguette. i wholeheartedly agree!

Parker said...

Nothing better smelling then bread in the oven. The baguette looks terrific.

Lori Lynn said...

YAY for baguettes! I like the photo of the 3 baked ones. Argh, I am just now remembering that I wanted to make your cupcake cookies with my nephews when they were here visiting and I forgot. Won't see them til April :(

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Lol aw. Def gotta make them next time, they are so good!

alexandra's kitchen said...

Look at that crispy crust! That is a serious feat. You're a champ for even taking a stab at the Bread Baker's Apprentice recipes. I always feel like they take days to complete.

Chocolate Shavings said...

I agree, there's nothing better than fresh bread and yours looks delicious!

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

There really is nothing like oven fresh bread! gotta try this..

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Jessy - hope you and Winnie and the rest of the fam are enjoying the holidays!

Lori Lynn

Mochachocolata Rita said...


Parker said...

These look so wonderful, can't resist homemade bread.

marryjohnsonbond said...

I just love to have dish which contain fresh bread because I am lover of backing items since childhood.And so I love your blog very much. I have tried all of these recipes posted in your blog.

m3 real