Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne



My first pain a l'ancienne, formula from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. As you can see from the finished product, my dough handling skills need a bit of work when it comes to such slack dough.



Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 September 7

......... these look most delicious!!  Nice colour, nice crumb - wish I could have one for brekky!

High hydration doughs are a challenge all right, but end up so nice.  Have you tried making ciabatta?  Now that's interesting!  That dough was a nightmare to handle!

I aslo have this book, so will make some and get back to you.


hitz333 2010 September 11

I love how you put the picture of the dough pre-shaped. I just made this recipe twice in the past week and I feel like my dough wasn't as wet as it was supposed to be (and now I know it wasn't). I went with it, though, because I have no stand mixer and so was working the dough by hand. It was also my first time trying the stretch and fold technique, on my second batch, and it went very well, although I guess I didn't exactly prevent the yeast from activating this way. Overall, the crumb of yours looks very similar to the crumb of mine, and mine was pretty yummy! I'll have to try it again now that I know for sure the dough is supposed to be wetter.


If you convert it to sourdough, let us know! I know Shiao-Ping has done a sourdough a l'ancienne and if I had ANY idea yet how to convert a yeast recipe to sourdough I'd be on this one myself. I keep looking back at your pictures and wishing for a taste. I'd better hop into the kitchen now for a bit of this afternoon's bake before I starve myself through sheer longing.

saltandserenity 2011 February 9

I think everyone's Pain a l'Ancienne looks like this the first time! What it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in taste. I loved making and eating this bread.

EatandSmile 2012 February 7

I've seen this recipe only in measure cups and spoons, but I am use to baking with ingredients measured in grams. So I can't workout what is the hydration % of this recipe. But I have been making for quite long breads and baguettes with 70% hydration and it is not so hard. There are few tricks and also Ciril Hitz also demonstrates handling very wet dough on his YouTube tutorials. Please let me know what was the hydration % of your dough. Thanks!

andrewd 2012 February 12

Hi EatandSmile,


The formula from Bread Baker's Apprentice is:


Flour 100%

Salt 2%

Instant yeast 0.7%

Water 79.6% (approx)


The book describes the dough as "sticky on the bottom of the bowl but it should release from the sides." Assuming you're using an electric mixer and dough hook.





EatandSmile 2012 February 16

Thank you for your reply,

I just calculated my measurements and it turns out my hydration is 71.42%.

560 gr baker's flour

400 gr water

10 gr salt

5 gr fresh yeast 

I mix only with my hands, or lately I use the dough whisk.  I mix the ingredients until all are incorporated with the water.  Water is room temperature.  It looks lumpy, but I leave it like that in a plastic kitchen bucket for about 2 hours or until I see it slightly raised.  Then I do the "folding".  Again - two hours left on room temperature.  Another folding and then I put it in the frindge for atleast 12 hours.  Please note - I don't use any oil, just get your hands wet and fold the dough fast and with confidence.

My recipe is borrowed from Djibril Bodian who was the winner of Grand Prix de la Baguette de la Ville de Paris 2010.

I will increase the % of water and see if my air pockets will become bigger.

Thank you,


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