Last week, during my lunch time break, I walked around inside a well-known supermarket and came across a popular bakery. Bakeries interest me as I am always curious to see what different breads are offered, their shape, presentation, their composition and content, etc. On one of the shelves I saw a Pain de campagne which was priced at $16.00 a loaf ( or $8.00 for half a loaf). I said,” Wow! Got to try baking this”! So after doing some research, I decided to try my hand at making these French sourdough breads.
” Pain de campagne (“country bread” in French), also called “French sourdough,” is typically a large round loaf (“miche“) made from either natural leavening or baker’s yeast. Most traditional versions of this bread are made with a combination of white flour with whole wheat flour and/or rye flour, water, leavening and salt. ” – Wikipedia.
Poolish or Biga.
60g Light Rye flour
52g filtered water
1/4 tsp dry yeast.
Mix.Leave 1 day ouside, 2nd day inside, fridge.
300g Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour
200g filtered water
1 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup mixed dried fruits.
Two days before, mix the ingredients for the Poolish and leave this covered overnight at room temperature, and the next day in the refrigerator. Remove 1 hour before using on third day.
On the third day, mix together the 300g flour and the water in a Kitchen Aid bowl, and let this stand for 20 to 40 minutes to autolyse.
Complete the dough by adding in all of the Poolish and only the dry yeast, and mix thoroughly at low speed till the dough comes off the side walls of the bowl. Stand in the bowl for 20 minutes and then add in the salt and fruit mixture, and mix briefly again till the ingredients are well incorporated. Proof inside the bowl for 40 minutes, and then transfer to a floured surface to gently fold a few times.
Allow about 20 minutes for the dough to relax and then shape into a ball, and transfer on to a baking paper. Let the shaped dough proof for another 40 minutes to an hour till double it’s size. Meantime heat up the oven to 240˚C with a shallow metal tray on the baking stone which you will add hot water to for steaming.
When the dough has risen to almost double it’s size, place it on the hot baking stone and add in 1/3 cup boiling water on to the metal tray for steaming. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Then remove the loaf and place it on a metal rack to cool before cutting.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
– Francis of Assisi.