The twenty-first Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge (from the book by the same name authored by Peter Reinhart) is Pain a l'Ancienne, and is found on pages 190-194.
This is a two-day bread, and I thought it was going to be complicated
because it was such, but in fact, it is one of the easier breads that
we have made so far. Sure, the dough is a bit difficult to handle
because it is so wet, but we have tricks for that which we have already
learned from the other breads. There is really very little handling of
the dough. I was so excited that I managed to get big holes inside, it looks even better than my ciabatta did as far as getting the proper holes inside the bread.
The baking is simple, preparing the oven for hearth baking
only takes a few moments, and other than misting the oven for a bit
every 30 seconds in the beginning, there's not much else to do that
requires babysitting. My kind of bread on a busy day.
Mark and Matt finished off both of these loaves in one meal, minus the two little slices that I had, and both expressed a great desire to have it again soon. I only made a half recipe, and saved a third of that to make a pizza for Friday night as the author suggested using this dough for pizza, giving the instructions for that as well. The dough works great as a pizza, light and flavorful with just a little bit of chew to it. It managed to support the Greek inspired toppings (Olive Oil, Caramelized Onions, Sliced Tomato, Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, Basil, Oregano, and Pine Nuts) quite nicely and remain crisp right until the last bite.