Pain de Cristal

I subscribe to King Arthur Baking’s newsletter and occasionally they distribute a new recipe, or technique that I cannot resist trying. Well, this is one of those times. They included a video that demonstrated the techniques required to handle very high hydration breads. This one is 100%, which means 1:1 water to flour ratio and I could never have made this bread without their technique, (which worked perfectly.)

QC says it’s like eating air.

Big holes and perfect crust. Pair with butter, honey, or oil and vinegar. Oh my!
This was my dessert tonight. Buttered Pain de Cristal and honey.

While KAF’s videos demonstrating the bowl and coil folds I decided to make my own. (Theirs are better quality, mine may be truer to life.)

Mix all ingredients then let rest 20 minutes
First fold with extremely slack dough. With wet hand stretch a portion of the dough up and into the middle of the dish. Repeat at least 12 times then rest, covered, 20 minutes
This is the second (or third, I forget) coil fold. With wet hands pick up the dough about 3/4ths of the way, stretch it up and let it fall back under the bulk of the dough. Repeat with the other end, then repeat the entire fold several times. Note the dough becomes easier to handle and less sticky with each coil fold. There are a total of 4 coil folds.
Tip the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Cover top with more flour so there are no sticky spots. Use a bench knife to cut into four equal pieces and flour the edges where you cut.
Carefully, without deflating, shape the dough and place on parchment paper. Let rest for 2 hours.
Note the bubbles formed in the dough. For future bakes I would let the dough rest longer than 2 hours to develop more aeration, bubbles and holes in the final brea.


  • 500g water (80 F in warm weather, 100F if cold)
  • 500g Bread Flour
  • 2.5g (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 15g olive oil



  1. Pretty much see the captions in the above videos.

2 thoughts on “Pain de Cristal

  1. Thanks this was super helpful. I saw the videos on the KAF website but it looked pretty intimidating. I preferred your “real world” videos. You’ve convinced me to try it!

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