Bored With Sourdough? Try This Instead – A Pretty Perfect Pain de Campagne

Get a taste of the good life with this delicious rustic country bread (the French equivalent of Sourdough)

The slow proving process gives this French country bread a depth of flavour that’s incomparable with shop bought breads

Ingredients

Day 1 – Dough Starter

  • 142g organic strong plain white bread flour
  • 142g dark rye flour (or use the white bread flour for a less tangy taste)
  • 2g fresh yeast (or use 1g instant dried yeast)
  • 204g cold water

Day 2 – The Campagne Dough

  • 475g organic strong plain white bread flour
  • 65g dark rye flour (or use the white bread flour for a less tangy taste)
  • 6g fresh yeast (or use 3g instant dried yeast)
  • 290g cold water
  • 16g fine sea salt
  • 490g Dough Starter

Method

Day 1 – Dough Starter

Note: make sure you use cold water directly from the tap. We’re going to be working the dough which will warm it and that combined with using warm water would activate the fermentation process too quickly, leaving you with a less tasty loaf

  • In a bowl, mix together the water and yeast until the yeast has dissolved then add the flour and mix until combined (with instant yeast, stir it through the flour then add the water)
  • Give the dough a good stretch and tear for 5 minutes (ideal if you’ve had a rough day!)
  • Cover with cling film and leave to ferment at room temperature for 2 hours then it’s in the fridge for 12-24 hours

Day 2 – The Campagne Dough

  • Combine the flour and the salt in a bowl
  • In another bowl, mix the yeast with the water (with instant yeast, stir it through the flour instead)
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour then add the water and the Dough Starter and gently bring the dough together then stretch and knead it for 10 minutes on an un-floured work surface. Alternatively, use a food mixer with a dough hook attachment on low speed for 5 minutes then medium speed for 5-7 minutes (the slow speed brings the ingredients together and the faster speed warms the gluten in the flour which makes the dough elastic and creates the right conditions for the fermentation process)
  • You should be able to stretch a small piece of dough between your fingers without it breaking, otherwise keep on kneading to get the desired level of elasticity
  • Shape the dough in to a ball then place it in a bowl and cover with cling film and leave at room temperature (20C) for an hour to increase in size. Make sure your room is no hotter than 20C otherwise this will activate the fermentation process too quickly. Also, a draughty room would add a crust to the dough so be careful with where you place it
  • Divide the dough into two and pre-shape into a loose round shape then leave to rest for 10 minutes
  • Either heavily dust a proving basket or line a flat tray with non-stick baking parchment paper
  • Shape your dough into a tight round shape on an un-floured work surface. Take the palms of your hands and place them either side of the dough, now turn the dough over in your palms bringing the edges of your palms together as you work underneath the dough. This creates the right level of tension in the loaf to get a lovely texture
  • Place the dough seam side up in the proving basket or tray. Cover with a clean cloth (to prevent it drying out) and leave to prove at room temperature for an hour, or until it has doubled in volume. Test it by pushing a finger in to the dough, it’s ready if the dough springs back, if there’s an indent it needs more time to prove
  • Slide a baking stone or upturned baking tray in to the middle shelf of your oven and place a small roasting tin on the shelf below then preheat your oven to 250C (without the fan) / gas mark 9 or as hot as it’ll go
  • Dust the loaves with flour then using a sharp serrated knife, score the loaves with three diagonal cuts each way to form a diamond pattern. The cuts should be around 2mm deep
  • Slide the loaves onto the preheated baking stone or tray in the oven
  • Quickly add a jug full of boiling hot water into the roasting tin being mindful not to let too much heat out of the oven
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until the bread has a golden crust and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom

This loaf is ideal for a simple rustic lunch, like a sandwich of cooked ham and gruyere cheese. Simple and delicious!

Copyright © misterrands.com

Published by misterrands

Mindful living blogger (recipes, lifestyle & travel) based in beautiful rural north yorkshire 🚜 🐮 🐑

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