Pain de Campagne (French Country Bread) 2

This is my favourite bread recipe at the moment – a French country style loaf using a sourdough starter. I’ve been making a loaf every Saturday morning for months now. The original version of this recipe is from Treuille and Ferrigno (1998), which is a book I’d thoroughly recommend for those just starting to make bread.

Pain de Campagne (French Country Bread)

Steven Thomas
A French country style loaf using a sourdough starter. This variant adds some extra yeast.


  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 200 ml water 1/3 boiling water and 2/3 cold tap water
  • 325 grams strong white flour
  • 50 grams rye flour or wholemeal flour, or just more white flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 250 ml about a cup of Sourdough Bread Starter


  • Sprinkle yeast over the water. Leave for 5 min. Stir to dissolve.
  • Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre
  • Pour sourdough start into the well in the flour mixture.
  • Pour over the yeasted water.
  • Mix in the flour from the sides to form a stiff, sticky dough. (If the mixture is too dry then add up to 1 tablespoon of water - 1 tablespoon is a lot.)
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 min)
  • Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 2 hours.
  • Knock back. Leave to rest for 10 min.
  • Shape the dough into a round loaf.
  • Place on a floured baking sheet, cover, and prove until doubled in size (about 1 hour; the book says 1 1/2 hours but I found this too long and the dough becomes over-proved.)
  • Dust the loaf with flour.
  • Cut slashes in the top (a grid formed by 3 parallel slashes crossed by another set of 3 is traditional)
  • Bake at 220º C until golden brown and hollow sounding (about 30-40 min; the book says 60 min, but I've never had to cook for longer than 40 min).
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.


Adapted from Treuille and Ferrigno (1998)

2 thoughts on “Pain de Campagne (French Country Bread)

  1. Reply Rolf Seringhaus Oct 9,2013 8:29 pm

    Hello,could you please explain what you mean by ‘strong white flour’?
    I have never heard that term in 70 years!

    • Reply Steven Thomas Oct 9,2013 10:22 pm

      Rolf, UK supermarkets sell “Strong flour” and “plain flour”. Strong flour has a much higher gluten content than plain flour, which is what makes it good for baking bread. It might be called “Bread flour” in other countries. This recipe calls for strong flour that is also white – as opposed to brown, wholemeal or wholegrain.

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