One of my favorite recipes from Crust and Crumb was the sweet fougasse or sweet rustic bread (p54). I wanted to make that again, but using Peter Reinhart’s recipe for Pain a l’Ancienne in Artisan Breads Everyday. My husband insisted on whole wheat, so I went with the whole wheat version of that recipe. I made two ciabatta and four sweet fougasse.The sweet fougasse, inspired by bread at Ecce Panis, is a three day affair.
The Artisan Bread Everyday Pain a l’Ancienne is a two day affair. Much quicker and easier. (BTW, If you want to see a tutorial on the pain a l’ancienne (BBA version), go to Joe Pastry.)
The idea behind the sweet fougasse is a bread that evokes the richness of a croissant without all the fat and very little sugar. The exterior of the bread gets sprayed with oil and dusted with powdered sugar, and the interior is moist from a long fermentation for the dough. The effect is that of a much richer bread.
And it is delightful made with all whole wheat.
The formula for the whole wheat version of Pain a l’Ancienne is actually closer to that of the French Bread: same amount of flour and salt, but 19 ounces of water, 1 1/4 tsp. of yeast, 3 Tbl. of sugar or 2 Tbl. of agave syrup or honey, and 3 Tbl. og oil. The method, though, is the same as for the Pain a l’Ancienne.
The recipe states that you can get three smaller ciabatta from the recipe. So, I took the third loaf and cut it into four triangles and baked them with the other loafs. After taking them from the oven, I sprayed them with oil, and then dusted them with powdered sugar when they were cool.
I used regular whole wheat instead of the white whole wheat. I think it would be even better with white whole wheat.
I experimented with the ciabatta. One loaf I prepared as instructed in the book, and the other loaf I dimpled (instructions for Craig Ponsford’s ciabatta in Maggie Glezer’s book Artisan Baking Across America). To see what I mean, take a look at Lisa Michele’s post.
Actually, I think I got bigger holes with the loaf that was dimpled, but neither loaf looks like the Ponsford ciabatta. I’m not sure if I did something wrong, or if it was the recipe, or if it is a result of it being a whole wheat recipe.
I’m sending this over to YeastSpotting. Maybe some of the great bread minds over there can give me ciabatta advice . . .