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Pain de Campagne

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
There are easier breads to learn baking than this one; but few as satisfying. Whether or not this is a beginner's baking project is up to you. If you want instant success, my suggestion is to start with something easier. Something which requires neither a poolish nor begs for free-hand loaf formation.

Pain de campagne is a traditional French country style loaf -- a thing you already know if you speak enough French to interpret the name.

It=s a bread type that=s currently very popular B and is the sort of thing most people think of when they hear the words Aartisanal@ and Abread@ used together. A couple of things separate it form a typical American white bread. This bread has a chewy crust with crackle, a denser but irregular crumb, more chew, some complexity to the taste, and a definite sour tang.

If you=ve never baked "artisanal" bread before, you=ll find forming the loaves to be the biggest challenge. If the dough on the surface isn=t stretched tight, the loaves will collapse.

The poolish needs some undisturbed time to develop, so look at the scheduling and budget your time accordingly. The first time around, it=s best if you have the freedom to start around lunchtime of the day before baking and the recipe is written that way. You may moderate the sourness by starting the poolish in the evening and only feeding it once before bed time.

Old peasant trick (from an old peasant): If you like this bread, you can save either a little bit of the old poolish, or the some of the dough, use it to control the maturation process the next time, and save some time. That remaining dough or bread is called an "altus."


PAIN DE CAMPAGNE
(Yield: Two full sized miche or batards)

Ingredients:
Poolish aux campagne (Country style preferment):
2 cups water, divided (1 cup + 1 cup)
1/2 cup rye flour (light rye flour if you have a choice)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup AP flour, divided
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp instant yeast

Bread:
All of the starter
5 cups unbleached AP flour, or 3 cups unbleached AP + 2 cups bread (aka strong) flour
1-1/2 cups water, divided (1 cup + 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp table salt, 1 tbs fine sea salt, or 1-1/2 tbs kosher salt
1 cup bench flour

Technique:
Around dinner of the day before: Heat 1 cup water to 100F, and stir the honey into it until fully dissolved. If using any other kind of yeast other than instant, proof the yeast in the water. Add the 1/2 cup rye flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and instant yeast to a ceramic bowl. Stir the warm water in, and make a batter. Cover with cling wrap and let sit on the counter until doubled, around 5 hours.

Before going to bed the night before: Mix 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water into the poolish. Cover with cling wrap and leave on the counter overnight.

Baking day morning: Dump the starter into your mixing bowl, or the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Add the other ingredients except for the water, and mix together. Add 1 cup of water and mix as long as necessary to incorporate nearly all of the flour. (Total: 7 c flour/ 3 c water)

After mixing, cover your mixing bowl and allow the dough to "autolyse" for 20 minutes. This allows the dough to hydrate evenly, and gives the yeast a head start. It will also make the dough easier to knead.

Knead the dough in your usual way -- by hand or machine. The poolish may make this bread feel very wet as you knead (or look that way if you=re using a machine). The dough will easily absorb any flour that did not mix in. Just keep adding flour as you knead until the bread won=t stick to the board. Knead to the window-pane stage.

Pull the dough down into a ball, and set it on your board. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Pour a little extra virgin olive oil in the bowl. Pull the dough down again, close the seam, and turn it several times in the bowl until it=s well greased. Use the oiled dough to spread oil up the sides of the bowl.

Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Fold as follows, while trying to deflate as little as possible doing so: Dump the dough out on your board, and stretch and press it into a rectangle, and fold it into thirds. Turn the rectangle 90 degrees and fold it into thirds again. Don=t worry about the seams, return the dough to the bowl, and cover with cling wrap. You may refrigerate the dough at this point for a retarded rise. Allow to rise again until not quite doubled.

If using a baking sheet, flour the sheet or spread some corn meal on it. Deflate just enough to form into miche (slightly flattened hemisphere B the less flattened the better), either by pulling down into a ball and hoping for the best, or pulling down and using a banneton. Or, form into batards or baguettes, leaving as much gas in the dough as possible. Set the loaves on the sheet, and cover them with cling wrap for their final proofing before baking. If you want a little more tang and a little less yeast, you may take the last rise, “retarded,” overnight in the refrigerator. Allow to rise until almost doubled.

Note: The loaves will only hold these shapes if the surface is stretched very tightly. It=s tricky to do this without completely deflating the dough. It takes some practice to develop the touch. It=s likely that no matter what shape loaf you try and make the first few times, you=ll come out with ciabatta. Pretend you did it on purpose, and count on getting better as you go along. You will.

Note also: I prefer this bread as a batard, but there’s no reason you should. Boule, miche are easier to lean; and anything from a banneton is easier still.

Meanwhile, while the bread rises, set one oven rack on its lowest groove, and another in the groove immediately above it. Preheat oven to 450. Fill your mister with cool water.

You want to reserve some spring for the oven, by preventing the dough from completely doubling. Catch it after it=s increased in volume by 1-1/2 times to 1-3/4 times (i.e., a 50% to 75% rise) and slash the tops with diagonals or Xs. If you’re going for a screaming AFrench country@ look, dust the loaves with flour; or you may leave them plain.

When the oven is preheated, fill a 9x9 pan with the hottest water you can get from your tap, place the pan in the oven, and allow another fifteen minutes of preheating for the water to get hot and the oven’s thermostat to adjust.

Get your mister ready. Take the cling wrap off the loaves. Working as quickly as is safe, follow this sequence, exactly:

$Open the oven door;
$Set the loaves in the oven;
$Mist the oven door, the oven ceiling, the loaves, and the universe generally with the mister;
$(If using a pan and not a stone) turn the pan; (in any case) spray everything again;
$Close the oven door, ASAP;
$Wait 90 seconds, open the door, mist everything again;
$Close the oven door, ASAP;
$Wait about 10 minutes, remove the water pan before it warps beyond repair; and
$Again with the closing the door, ASAP, already.

Bake until done, approximately 32 minutes total. Cook to 200F internal (very done), or use the thump test to test for doneness. A dark crust, and even a little scorching, is not undesirable with this bread B as though as it just came out of the village oven is a good thing. This final color and crust texture is partly dependent on how well your oven holds the high temperature.

BDL

PS. This recipe is original with me. If you like it and want to share it (but not for gain) with someone else, you have my permission on condition you attribute it to me, Boar D. Laze. I would consider it a kindness if you would also mention my eventually to be finished book, COOK FOOD GOOD, American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates.

PPS. If you haven't done so recently, take a look at my blog on CT, ChefTalk Cooking Forums - COOK FOOD GOOD, Blogging BDL's Cookbook. Suggestions welcome.
post #2 of 14
Woah...major procedure! Am guessing this is a Sourdough...?

Being not a baker - some queries.
"Window pane" stage - define pls :) I'm sure all baker's are now laughing:) I just don't know
If you have a fan forced oven - will this alter the method?
How to store the starter (poolish) for the next time?
Plus how long could it keep?
At what stage would you save some of the poolish- does it matter?

I like the comment to mist the universe in general - paints a great picture :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi DC,

Not exactly. It's a "pain au poolish," which is about halfway towards being a sourdough. There's an Italian equivalent to a French poolish, called a biga. They're both ways of giving the bread some interest beyond bland yeastiness, without going all the way to sourdough.

"Window paning" is the most basic and best way to test if bread dough is sufficinetly kneaded. When the baker thinks the dough is fully kneaded on the basis of color and feel, she tears a bit of dough from the ball and carefully stretches it. If she can see light through it, like a "window pane," then the dough is kneaded.

Up to a point the rule is that the more translucent and transparent the better kneaded. It's worth mentioning that it's nearly impossible to go past that point when kneading by hand; and that's one reason I recommend to people who do use machines to switch tho hand kneading when the bread is almost completely kneaded.

Something that it's not in the recipe, which I wrote a year or so ago, and is also worth mentioning is to continue kneading by hand for a couple of minutes more after the bread first passes the window pane test.

[quote ]If you have a fan forced oven - will this alter the method? [/quote] I've never used a home "convection" oven, and don't know what the conversion is. IIRC, it's somewhat dependent on the particular oven; but is something like 20% less time at the same temperature, or 20% lower temperature at the same time.

Best way: Spread it very thin on a piece of parchment, waxed paper or a small silpat. Freeze it, peel it off, and break it into very small pieces. Store in the freezer. It can also be dried and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Quite awhile.

Just set aside a couple of tbs before mixing it into the bread.

Wilde observed, "Nothing succeeds likes excess."

BDL
post #4 of 14
you're going to give ingredients by mass (and baker's percentages, I hope) for the book, right?
post #5 of 14
Wilde observed, "Nothing succeeds likes excess."

BDL[/QUOTE]
Pending success.....
Well the battle is on.....my mother and I are going make it at the same time. Then we will dare and compare....
She asked me where I got the recipe ? ....she sends a big " Thank You " to Chef BDL.
I mentionned that there was a Spanish Duck Recipe I was going to make.....guess who is coming to dinner ?

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oops!

I left out a short instruction to allow an autolysis -- the rest between mix and knead. It's a step I've added to almost all my bread recipes about a year ago. Unfortunately, there have been a couple of crashes between then and now, and the disc this recipe was saved on seems to have made before my conversion. I hope Petals and her mother read this before the Le Gran Bake-Off.

Ladies, let me know what you think.

Dick -- Probably, but I have mixed feelings. I'd like to talk about it with you or any other home baker who's an advocate of weighing. Dick, please leave a post on whatever's the most recent Cook Food Blog when you think about it. That's a better place to get into the shoulds and shouldn'ts.

Additionally, I am starting to get the idea that people who cook food with non-American measurements should (and will) be accomodated with metric conversions -- which are mostly weights.

BDL
post #7 of 14
Pardon me for saying, but aren't there problems with consistency giving measurements in cups? Eg. Sifted flours can contain up to 100% more volume than none sifted flours, also specifics such as protein content of flours would be pretty important as different levels of protein will absorb different levels of moisture- so as much as your recipe if specific, if you used half a cup of none-sifted bread flour at 11.5% then the recipe would never work with half a cup of sifted flour at 13.5%.

Weights (and knowledge of your protein content) are the only way of guaranteeing consistent results (in my humble opinion).

Not trying to attack you *hides* just wondering if you've considered that possible problem.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Chris and Dave,

The recipes I post as BDL on CT are usually meant to teach technique and provide room for improvisation and individuation as technical skill improves, rather than have the cook replicate a particular success I once had. Unlike most recipes they aren't meant to be the last word on the best, single formula for a specific dish and presentation. I'm just BDL, not Christian Etienne.

Most of the recipes are written to be simple enough so a beginning cook can be successful, while providing an intermediate with enough challenge to keep it interesting. This recipe is a little different, in that it's not for beginners; but the goal of developing the reader's individual style remains.

I'd like to keep this thread a little more involved with the particular recipe which heads it, rather than entering the ongoing, perpetual and insoluble mass vs. volume measurement argument.

If either of you wants to start a thread, I'll be more than happy to take part; or if you want me to devote a blog post to my ideas -- especially as they pertain to how I try to teach breadbaking -- I'll be happy to do that as well. Or, no reason we can't do both.

BDL
post #9 of 14
I'll start a new thread. Give me a few minutes to compose some thoughts on it.

[My first name is David, by the way. Dick Scheidt would be a very amusing name. (Scheidt is pronounced the same way as shite, eh?) ]
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Dave,

Cool.

I have a virtual friend with a similar nick who's real nickname is Dick. Sorry about the confusion.

BDL
post #11 of 14
Yes, noted, thank you.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #12 of 14
I have been making this bread recipe twice a month for the past several months and it has turned into my favorite dough to work with and my favorite to eat (even passing up Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe). The dough is so soft and silky it is my easiest recipe to take to the window pane stage (I still haven’t figured out why some of my recipes are easier to knead than others). The dough is incredibly soft but never sticks to my hands when I knead.

My husband and two year old daughter prefer a softer crust so I usually skip the water pan and misting and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes. The results are perfect for us. I made the mistake once of increasing the whole wheat flour ratio and the results were disappointing. Since then I have stuck to the original ratios of rye, whole wheat flour and all purpose flour and have been pleased. I also use dry active yeast and increase the amount of yeast by 25%.

I notice a difference in taste the longer the rise and have found the following time frame my favorite:

4pm: Mix poolish
9pm: Add flour and water
8-8:30am: Knead dough

I have never had trouble forming the loaves but prefer the batards over a miche. I’m grateful for your description on your previous post on how to free some of the poolish for later use. I would love to hear what the next steps are for when one is ready to use one of the frozen pieces of poolish. Do you just thaw and add to the new batch of poolish and how would this affect the recipe?


Thanks,
Emily
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Emily,

You wrote: Before freezing the poolish, you want to spread it very thin on your wax-paper, parchment, or silpat. After it's frozen, break it into small pieces and store frozen. When it's time to make a new poolish, use a couple of tablespoons of poolish instead of yeast. If you don't get any action at all from the saved poolish, you'll have to add some yeast to get the new preferment going.

But even if you do have to use fresh yeast, and only a few spoors survive from the old poolish, those old spoors give the poolish tang a little more presence, yet make it smoother at the same time.

Let me add my appreciation for the help you've given to improve my bread recipes, formulas (alright, formulae) and instructions, by your intelligent feedback. This is a good example, so was the offhand comment you made in a PM about using the orange-walnut bread as a straight "wheat bread" by removing the oranges and walnuts. It should and will be presented as two or three variants. Since oranges and walnuts are out, is there anything else you'd like to see in a wheat bread? And by the way, did I ever give you my recipe for "Celtic Harvest Bread?" I don't think it ever got posted here.

Thanks,
BDL
post #14 of 14
Thank you so much for the direction on how to use the poolish piece for future loaves, I'll give this a try next week.

Glad to hear the feedback has helped, however "intelligent feedback" is a bit of an overstatement. I'm currently recovering from a pretty bad concussion and my thoughts are a bit scattered and jumbled right now.

I really like your Orange Walnut bread as a straight wheat bread because it is unique that it's a quick yeast bread that isn't enriched with eggs but still has a great crumb and soft texture. My daughter has an allergy to dairy and eggs. It is easy to avoid these in the artisian breads but the quicker yeast bread rely heavily on milk and eggs for flavor. Your recipe is best with buttermilk, but when I make it for my daughter, I use homemade rice milk curdled with lemon juice as a substitute. The results are close to the buttermilk version (at least in the eyes of a 2 year old, who surprisely does have a very strong opinion on breads).

I'd love to see your "Celtic Harvest Bread" recipe. I enjoy filtering through a wide variety of breads through out the year and haven't found a great harvest bread to keep in my rotation. I would also like to find a wheat bread recipe that includes a few other flours like oat flour.

Thank you again for the additional insight on the poolish starter.

Emily
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