Pain de campagne



Ok, they’re not entirely perfect shapes with all that rupturing, but they’re pretty tasty.

Pain de campagne – what Richard Bertinent describes as “sourdough’s little brother” – are, alongside baguettes, the classic French bread, though of a decidedly more rustic bent (the name, means “country bread” for anyone with even more rudimentary or non-existent French than me).

This Bertinent recipe uses a ferment that you leave for 4-6 hours, or overnight in the fridge. For mine, I chucked in a few tablespoons of my rye leaven, to hopefully add some flavour and make up for the fact that my fresh yeast stash was looking decidedly tired. So my ferment was 200g strong white flour, 100g rye flour, 10g of salt all mixed dry. Then 350g water,  2T rye leaven, teaspoon or so of sad-looking, not-so-fresh fresh yeast, a sprinkling of dried active yeast all mixed then blended with the dry ingredients (not strictly the Bertinent method).

I left that ferment overnight out of the fridge. Our kitchen was about 15C overnight, and in the morning the ferment looked nice and active.

In a large bowl I mixed: 500g strong white flour with 100 rye flour and 15g salt. I sprinkled 5g of dried active yeast on 400g water, let it ferment a bit, then mixed this, as well as the ferment, into the flours. Kneaded until it felt good, formed a ball, rested for an hour. Then I gave it a turn, formed a ball, rested for half an hour. Then I gave it a turn, formed a ball, and rested it for another half hour. Then I split the dough into two portions or around 650g each, formed two balls, and proved them until doubled in volume – about two hours.

Baked them one at a time in an oven pre-heated to 250C. I misted the oven, slid one onto my baking stone, baked for 5 minutes, then turned the oven down to 220C and baked for a further 25 minutes, until it sounded hollow when knocked on the base.

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