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.


13 thoughts on “Pain a l’Ancienne

  1. That bread looks so good! Sorry to hear you don’t have a mixer right now. Glad you are still enjoying the process. I am sure you will love it so much more when you get a new one. 😉

  2. That looks awesome! I need to start making more bread instead of just saying “I need to make more bread” all the time. Not without my stand mixer though.

  3. Oh yikes, there are some bread recipes I just would not want to do by hand. You’re a better woman than me 🙂 I think my KA is dying, it makes these horrible noises anytime I use it lately. I should probably get it looked at I guess…

    Your bread looks awesome, love the crust on it!

  4. Wow, it is so impressive to me that you made this by hand. I am truly not a bread person (well, I like eating it, just not making it!) and even using my mixer to make bread is vaguely annoying to me. I don’t have the patience to knead by hand! It looks absolutely beautiful.

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