Mmmm. Buh-licious bread!!

[acidfree:4694]Finally a crust and crumb that I can brag about. This is a loaf that I started as part of a Toastmasters speech. The speech was about how to make the best pizza dough ever. Since for demonstration purposes, the pizza dough and the pain a l’ancienne dough are identical to start with, I figured nobody would notice. Really the only difference is that the pizza dough has slightly less water in it, which makes it less sticky to the point that you can handle it. The pain a l’ancienne dough is so sticky that you really don’t want to touch it unless you are armed with copious amounts of flour.

The first and only time previously that I made this recipe, I found myself just a little bit rushed (smaller holes) and slightly over cooked them (dry crumb). This time, rather than shaping them as baguettes, I shaped a fat batard, which puffed up nicely. And differently than other batches of bread I have done, I did my final shaping right on the foil I was going to bake it on so the final transition to peel would not degas it. I think this was especially important on this loaf because the dough was so wet.

To round out the meal (It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone) Lauren made a batch of delicious beef stew with home-made noodles. I am telling you, we eat like kings (and queens) in our house.

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