Pain a l’Ancienne

Before I took a loooooooong blogging break, I was a member of the BBA Challenge group and baked my way through most of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’m finishing what I started and following along with the few remaining  formulas.

As it happens, once I decided to do this  my stand mixer decided to break. It broke soon after I bought a new hand mixer. My old hand mixer broke soon after I bought my stand mixer 4 years ago. I’m thinking there is a strange vortex in my house that doesn’t allow mixers  to mix with each other. Anyway, all this means is that I am now kneading all my breads by hand. Yes, kneading dough is a wonderful relaxing experience. Yes, it’s a good workout for the arms. But, darn it, I miss being able to do things while the machine did the work.

I encourage you to read Peter Reinhart’s story of Pain a l’Ancienne in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It reads very cloak and dagger (for bakers) in the streets of Paris and how the flavor of this bread is amazing because the delayed fermentation method allows the release of more sugar (flavor!) from the starches than typical bread making methodologies.

It’s true, this bread is full of flavor. It’s also not a lot of work when you don’t have a mixer. You combine the ingredients and then stick in the refrigerator. Not a lot of kneading. 🙂

You can find the recipe for this bread on page 191 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

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