This is a variation on the Pain a l’Ancienne theme. To be honest, I struggled with the Pain a l’Ancienne recently. I switched to another flour and it just couldn’t take the 79% water the recipe asked for. The dough was like liquid mud. It tasted great but the Baguette I made were flat. Not nice! So with this recipe I reduced the water to 65%. And hey presto, wonderful.
500 gm Bread Flour (organic) (100%)
10 gm Salt (2%)
3.5 gm Active Dry Yeast (0.7%)
325 gm Water – ice cold (65%)
Same as with the Pain a l’Ancienne, everything should be cold. I added ice cubes to the water, 30 minutes before I used it. But don’t get the ice cubes into your dough because the water wouldn’t get incorporated into the dough. If you can put the mixing bowl into the freezer and maybe the flour as well – even better. The colder you can get it the better. Put a bowl into the fridge you will use later to put the dough into. I love to use the 7 liter Clip-It containers from Systema. They are great for this.
This is really an easy and straight forward bread. Mix all ingredients for 2 minutes on low. Then increase the speed to medium and mix for 10 minutes. Take this as a guidance. The longer you mix the more the dough will take on temperature. And you want to keep it cold. A guidance that you might stop the mixer is when the dough gets off the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom.
Spray the bowl from the fridge with cooking oil. Scrape the dough into the container and put it straight into the fridge. Leave for at least 10 – 12 hours. I prepare the dough in the evening and leave it over night in the fridge.
Take the dough out of the fridge and put at a warm place. I had it at 30 deg C (use a styro box or a chilly bin and add hot water in a bottle). Leave there for 2 –3 hours.
Make sure you heat your oven so that it is hot after the 2 – 3 hours period. Heat it to 240 deg C or hotter. As hot as possible.
Lightly flour a bench and tip out the dough onto the bench. For the rolls I cut 90 gm pieces and form them as little rolls or mini-batards. Don’t work the dough to much. You don’t want to deflate it more than necessary. Score (cut) them lengthwise with a sharp serrated knife or razor.
Put them straight into the oven and steam the oven with a steam pan or spray some water into the oven. Bake until they have a dark golden brown crust. I baked at 245 deg C for 15 -20 minutes (on a stone). I also baked some for only 10 minutes, packed them in plastic bags after they were cool and put them in the freezer for later finishing.
I was very pleased with the result. The cold fermentation brings out a huge amount of flavour. And with the reduced moisture the crumb was perfect as you can see below.
This whole process fits nicely into our current activities. I put them into the warm box before we start milking, set the oven on the timer and when we come up from milking it is just a 20 minute bake (and 10 minute cooling) and we have fresh rolls for breakfast. And I can make them in advance for later finishing. Haven’t tried it yet but I would think if I put them frozen into a cold oven, set at 200 deg C and bake until golden brown they should be just right.
Any feedback is more than welcome. Enjoy!
Coquo, ergo sum!