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Thirties 09-10-2006 10:53 AM

l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
New member, first post..

I'm having great sucess with Reinhart's technique for Pain al'Ancienne. This is very good bread indeed.

I bake on a rectangular pizza stone at the lowest rack position in my electric oven. I start at the max temp. of 550F for the 3 half-minute interval water spritzes; then I lower temp to 470F and let it alone for 18 minutes.

I was thinking of trying the pure convection setting. Anyone tried convection baking for breads? Is there any improvement over regular (electric coil) baking? None of the cookbooks I have ever refer to convection baking.

james 11-15-2006 04:21 AM

Hey Thirties,
Sorry that you didn't get a response to your posting. Whoops.

I cook bread with convection and various methods for making steam -- so yes, I think you should give it a try and see if works. I've tried bricks, cast iron pans and the spray bottle, all of which are a lot better than not using steam at all.

Still, my current favorite is the technique going around this forum, where you us a very moist dough and bake your bread in a heavy, preheated pan and with a tight cover. I'm working on that right now for dinner tonight.

The thread is here:

http://fornobravo.com/forum/showthre...4&page=1&pp=10

Welcome aboard -- and keep posting!
James

Thirties 11-12-2007 02:12 PM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
James, I got good results with the "pure convection" oven setting. Interestingly, the crust was snappier with the pure convection bake. So there may be a change in my bread baking. I'm definitely a non-fixer if it ain't broke, when it comes to bread. I know what I like, and I cannot find it anywhere but my own kitchen.

My time/temp . . . instead of 555 deg for the initial 2 min while I spritz every 30 seconds (Reinhart book), I used 500 deg with the convection. Then I turned it down to 400 deg instead of the usual 475 deg. for the baking. Time ended up being 25 min at the 400 deg instead of my usual 23 min at 475 deg standard bake (bottom coil). I used a pizza stone on the bottom rack in both cases.

I was forced to use the pure convection setting (heating coil behind the back wall fan) due to my bottom element having died, and I'm awaiting spare part and installation -- Dacor wall oven.

Regarding the NYTimes cast iron Dutch oven article/method, I read the long thread, and I had seen the original article in the Times. Unfortunately, I am living with my wife, and no one else in the household, so I never make boules. I use the a l'ancienne method to make little dinner rolls, and occasionally longer loaves when company is here.

I like the little loaves because I can wrap and freeze what we don't eat. When I want to eat the frozen bread, I thaw it for a couple of hours in a bread box -- never re-bake it! Works for me... I get six pieces from a 3-cup flour a l'ancienne recipe

--T

Dutchoven 11-12-2007 07:27 PM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
Sounds interesting, the l'ancienne method definitely makes for some sublime flavors and shaping them in smaller rolls is unique also. I have never had any of the ones I made reach the freezer so I am curious how are they after freezing?
Best
Dutch

Thirties 11-13-2007 03:31 AM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
After freezing they taste very good. The crust is not as crunchy, but the taste is still there. Do not re-heat them. Or, rather, try re-heating them and you will learn that is not the way to go. In fact, now that I have tried re-heated frozen bread of my own, I realize how some less than excellent restaurants are actually serving frozen bread, re-heated. You get a crunchy crust, but all the flavor of the crumb is lost. There is a moist but not gummy quality to the crumb of a fresh baked a l'ancienne loaf that is unbeatable. By all means freeze. Wrap each piece well in Saranwrap, then seal all pieces together in a large ziplock after sucking out the air. Like I said above, thaw the frozen bread unwrapped in a bread box for a couple of hours.

Dutchoven 11-13-2007 04:18 PM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
Thanks. I sell those loaves at farmer's market sometimes and when I asked people if they froze it their answer always was "it didn't lst that long!"
Best
Dutch

Frances 11-14-2007 01:45 AM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
On reheating bread, I don't know if this has been discussed before, but the trick I learnt at a summer camp years ago (while cooking in a metal drum over a wooden fire...) is to hold the frozen bread under the runing tap for a second, before putting it in the oven to reheat/defrost. Or is that another no-no like eating warm bread?

Thirties 11-14-2007 02:37 PM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
Frances, after holding the bread under running water for a second, how do you heat it?

I assume you wrap it in aluminum foil to keep the thing moist?

Thirties 04-10-2008 10:02 AM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
Folks, I have discovered an improved technique for pain a l'ancienne . . .

You divide the original dough into several smaller batches and put each batch in its own bowl in the 'fridge with plastic wrap. This allows you to bake smaller batches and . . .

The improvement here is the bread gets tastier the more days the dough is in the 'fridge. I've not gone more than one week, but there is a taste improvement with the even longer fermentation.

I'm using King Arthur bread flour + SAF instant yeast.

Frances 04-10-2008 10:48 AM

Re: l'ancienne very good in my oven -- should I try convection?
 
Hey Thirties, I never saw that question, sorry!

The answer is no, you don't put it in aluminium foil because the crust stays miost enough from holding it under the tap. To my mind it tastes like fresh baked when heated like this...


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