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)
- 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.