Pain a L’ancienne

Yep, I baked them breads myself.  And despite the name, “Pain a l’ancienne” it was relatively pain-free….. badum-cha… okay maybe my humor is a bit off, but for real, for real, I am feeling the call of breadmaking.  And yes, Wendy, I’ll be bringing some to the office in the morning.

So, yeah, Pain a L’ancienne is a slow-fermenting bread that actually proofs in the fridge overnight, and in the process develops a really unique flavor.  And how do I know this?  Well, I know it because I read about it in Peter Reinhart’s book of genius:

Extraordinary bread, indeed!  They are super crispy and crusty where it counts, but so airy and light and soft inside.  The nice thing about this bread was that the whole thing was mixed & kneaded on my stand mixer (best garage-sale find ever), which is why that crack about these pains being pain-free was actually the truth!  The thing is, even though I didn’t get to really work this dough with my hands, I found that it was still very rewarding to make.  Plus, it just is so nice to have this really amazing bread on my kitchen counter that I can say, “I made it!”  Don’t they look pretty?

okay okay, so I made some bread.  Well, yes.  But then I showcased these breads by making delicious sandwiches for dinner.

they were supposed to be pear & gruyere sandwiches, but the pears I bought yesterday did not get ripe enough today, even though I tried the “brown bag with a banana” trick.  So I used an apple instead.  

Delicious Sandwich

  • 2 pieces of crusty bread, a small roll, halved, or a piece of baguette, sliced in half 
  • 2 slices of gruyere cheese (one for each piece of bread)
  • 1/2 apple, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 onion, sliced very thin
  • a few leaves of lettuce
  • honey
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F
  2. slice onions & caramelize over low heat (use butter or olive oil, sparingly – you only want to use what you need to to keep the onions from sticking to the pan)
  3. arrange one slice of gruyere on each piece of bread (you don’t want to go overboard with gruyere, its pretty high in fat, plus its very pricey, but I guess if you like a really cheesy sandwich, go for it)
  4. place sandwich halves in the upper-section of the oven, and bake 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted
  5. toss lettuce leaves with honey
  6. top sandwich half with caramelized onion, apple (pear) slices, and lettuce
  7. enjoy remaining apple slices instead of chips, hooray!

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3 Responses to “Pain a L’ancienne”


  1. 1 LV Transplant September 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    You may not have planned it, but your sandwich featuring apples and honey is a nice tribute to traditional food for the recent Jewish high holidays!

  2. 2 capri September 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    I may not have planned it, but I happened to buy both of those things in anticipation of new year’s celebrations last week. Had to get those last few items in before the fast!

  3. 3 Wendy September 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    LOL!!!
    I made soup last night I was going to bring in for you, until I remembered that while it was vegetarian, I did use chicken stock. 😦
    But reheated soup and crusty bread sounds like a winner to me!!!


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