two skinny jenkins

090916 – Pain A L’Ancienne | BBA #21
090917, 9:48 am
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Pain A L'Ancienne

BBA #21

my biggest bread baking blunder yet…

thankfully, this is a resilient recipe and it came out pretty darn good anyway.  I will start by saying that i was having people over to our apartment for the first time last night and so i had been multitasking at the time (at least in my head).  I was reading along the recipe for the first time while baking.  The oven was preheated and I was just about to slide the bread onto the baking stone when i realized i needed a steam pan.  The broiler pan i was used to using for this application had to be left behind in DC, and i just grabbed the closest pan i could find.  It was glass.  Multi-tasking.  I was probably only thinking about all of the flour i was going to have to clean up in the kitchen, the food i still needed to buy…


I have been through this before with the Italian bread when my parent’s oven light bulb got a sprinkle of water on it and shattered all over the bread.  At least this time, our oven is so narrow that the baking stone had completely protected the baking bread from the glass below.  As a testament to the resiliency of the recipe, after i had let the oven cool down and cleaned out all the glass, I reheated the oven and continued baking those three loaves.  They came out fine, and were met with many complements!

The last three loaves came out even better (so i recommend following the recipe the first time).  WHEN i make this bread again, I will try leaving it out on the counter for an hour or so, to mimic the Ciabatta recipe.  I noticed that my oven probably did not make it to the 500°F that it claims on it’s plastic knob.  In order to get a good golden brown color, the loaves baked for a rough total of 40 minutes, not the 18-23 that the recipe called for.

  • I observed that the recipe called for quite a bit less flour than i found necessary.  I found myself repeating this phrase in my head, ‘the dough should be sticky on the bottom of the bowl  but it should release from the sides’  as i kept adding flour and watching the dough hook glop around in the mixing bowl.
  • While shaping the baguettes, take extra care to only minimally manipulate the dough and only stretch them.  I made a few yo-yo moves with my baguettes, pulling them out too far then pushing back together.  While the dough is sitting on a heavily floured counter, this creates some funky, dense areas on the bottom of the loaf.


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15 Comments so far
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Sorry to hear about your glass pan~ you have some beautiful loaves there…can’t wait to make this next bread!

Comment by Frieda

I just moved, and I am afraid to try the “hearth baking” technique. My old oven didn’t have a light or glass pane on the front and the new one does – I am scared of an oven explosion.

I find that most of these recipes need more flour than stated. I wonder if it’s because I usually start mixing by machine, and Reinhart is used to doing it by hand. I often wind up finishing kneading by hand in order to add in enough flour.

Comment by Victoria

As soon as I read “glass pan” I flinched. Glad you were able to save your bread. It looks delicious!

Comment by mags

Sorry about your glass pan… at least no one got hurt!

Your pain a l’ancienne looks awesome, I can hardly wait to make this one, but I am not looking forward to the shaping, as me and baguettes do not understand each other very well. Unless I’m doing the eating.

You did a great job!

Comment by sallybr

I live in fear of cracking the glass in the oven door and yet whenever he says prepare the oven for hearth baking I do it. The bread looks beautiful.

Comment by AnneMarie

Nice! I have been eagerly awaiting posts on this bread. Too bad about your oven pan. As soon as you said glass I knew where it was going to go.

This is my favorite recipe from the book, and the first one I did, before even starting the challenge. I even made it again today, so I can’t wait to do it “with the group”.

Comment by misterrios

Thanks (to everyone) for your sympathy about the pan — it was pretty dumb. This bread was so good. We just finished it up at dinner tonight. I think i might take a bread from BBA and make some sourdough next!

Comment by twoskinnyjenkins

I am envious of the holes in your bread. Those loaves are beautiful. Glad no one got hurt (especially the bread) with the exploding glass.

Comment by saltandserenity

I confess I did that with a glass pan once… you only ever do it once.

🙂 I did that bread this weekend and the taste was spectacular but it was really really flat… still need some work.

Comment by Brandy

I’m in the process of making mine right now – it’s in the fridge waiting for me to get back from work this afternoon. Your batter looks very… battery. I’ll have my blog post up soon and you can see how mine was. I actually needed to add a couple tablespoons of water.

I’ve recently switched brands of flour and noticed a HUGE difference in the absorption ability between them, the new one needs a fair bit more water. Perhaps your issue is the opposite; your current flour takes barely any and turns to soup easily.

Bread looks great though in spite of the glass disaster.

Re: water on the oven door glass:
Get and cut a piece of cardboard big enough to cover the oven door and just place it over the window when you’re ready to toss in the water. Takes 2 extra seconds and saves more glass mishaps.

Comment by Paul

very nice, looks good

Comment by nico

Eek! Sorry about the pan. I can sympathize. I shattered a glass pan years ago when I ran cold water into a very hot pan that was in the sink. CrrraAAK!

Your BREAD, though, looks amazing! I’m a bit nervous about this one and hope my looks as good.

Comment by kelly

[…] Carolyn of Two Skinny Jenkins […]

Pingback by BBA#21: PAIN A L’ANCIENNE « Bewitching Kitchen

[…] It didn’t have a nice crunch crust like Pain de Campagne, it wasn’t nice and airy like Pain a L’ancienne, and it wasn’t as tasty as it’s twin, Italian Bread.  I think that the next time i […]

Pingback by 100131 – Poolish Baguettes | BBA #26 « two skinny jenkins

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