Pain de campagne, or “country bread”, is bread baked in the style of the rustic loaves found throughout the French countryside. There really is no one correct way to bake a pain de campagne loaf; the formulae are as varied as the traditional ways of shaping the loaves. Pain de campagne can be made with a natural leaven or with baker’s yeast. Some prefer to add a small percentage of rye flour to their dough while others prefer whole wheat. Traditional loaf shapes include fendu (split), couronne (crown), tabatière (snuffbox), and bouton d’or (buttercup), to name a few.
The formula used here is based on the one described in Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas. The formula uses baker’s yeast for leavening and incorporates around 50% of the total amount of white flour in the form of a pâte fermentée (pre-fermented dough) for flavor. It also includes rye flour at a level of just under 3% of the total white flour used. The loaf described here was shaped in the form of a bouton d’or.
- 265 g King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
- 170 g Water
- 1/8 Tsp. Instant Yeast
- 235 g King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
- 25 g Medium Rye Flour
- 190 g Water
- 10 g Salt
- 1 Tsp. Instant Yeast
- 435 g (all of the above) Pâte Fermentée
The pâte fermentée is prepared the night before baking. The flour, water and yeast are mixed just until incorporated. The temperature of the water should be adjusted so that, after the incorporation, the pâte fermentée is at 70°F. The pâte is then allowed to ferment at 70°F for 1 hour, after which time it is refrigerated overnight.
The next morning, the pâte fermentée is divided into small, walnut-sized pieces and allow to warm to room temperature for 1 hour. The final dough is then prepared by combining the flour, rye flour, water, yeast, salt and pâte fermentée pieces, just until all the components are hydrated. The water temperature should be such that it brings the temperature of this mixture to 75°F. The lumpy mixture is then further mixed, by hand (see Musings on Mixing…), until a smooth, elastic dough is formed, about 10-15 minutes.
The dough is placed in a lightly oiled container, covered and allowed to ferment for 1 hour. After this first fermentation, the dough is divided into 2 pieces weighing 565 g and 85 g, respectively. A small piece of extra dough will remain. The two dough pieces are then lightly pre-shaped into rounds, covered with a plastic sheet and allowed to rest for 20 minutes.
The loaf is then shaped into a bouton d’or by first rounding the larger dough piece into a tight boule. Two perpendicular grooves are then rolled into the boule using a small wooden dowel. After the application of a small bit of oil (to enhance definition) to the rolled-out boule, the smaller dough piece is tightly rounded and then placed within the center of the larger piece. The combined dough is then gathered, inverted into a lightly floured banneton and covered with a Saran Quick Cover, and allowed to ferment a second time for 1hour at 80°F:
The dough is then turned out of the banneton and baked, under steam for the first 10 minutes, at 450°F for 25-30 minutes.