Pain de Campagne

Pain de Campagne, literally translated is French for country bread.  There’s no definitive recipe, some breads use yeast, some are sourdough based.  Some have added rye, some have added wholewheat flour and apparently, each French baker has their own preferred (secret) recipe.

For me, I wanted to create a loaf that I could try out and then replicate to give out as gifts for a family meal.

400g Strong White Flour
100g Rye Flour
50g Butter
10g Salt
1tbl Milk Powder
7g Fast Action Yeast
350ml Water (tepid temperature, about 27ºC)

The butter was diced into cubes before mixing in.  The curious addition is the milk powder, now this is an addition introduced to me in the past, but it came into mind reading a Heston ingredient list, so I bought some and thought I’d give it a go.  It’s a not a large quantity, but it adds some flavour and nutritional value.

The dough was kneaded and then left to rise for 1hr, punched down and then left for 45min.  It was then baked in the oven, firstly for 20mins at 230ºC and then 20min at 200ºC, quickly turning every 10min.

2 doughs of Pain de Campagne

I was pretty pleased with the results.  The bread had a crusty exterior and, because of the extra water, had a soft, springy crumb.  I shared out two versions of this dough with friends and at work, one with the milk powder and one without.  It was a split vote on which people preferred the most, but everyone liked it, which meant a lot to me.

This is definitely a bread I will continue to make because it’s delicious and quite quick and easy to do.  I’d like to try and leave the dough overnight for some slow fermentation, but for the number of loaves I had to make (seven in total), they were quite rapidly.  Next time, I’ll slow it down for even more flavour.  There’s also the option to use a sourdough starter, which I will try when I have created my own.

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