There was a time when I was making bread because there was no good bakery around. Now there is no excuse, but I’m still drawn into the habit of making a mess in my kitchen by sprinkling it with flour and leaving traces of dough on the sink and kitchen counter.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter. When you open the lid of a cast iron pan, the smell of fresh bread is amazing. The first bite into a slice of bread – the soft flesh and crunchy crust, the perfect slight tang from the sourdough and the long rise is worth all the cleaning that you need to do.
Pain de campange
Traditional, delicious French cottage bread
For a starter
- 25g active sourdough starter
- 100g lukewarm water
- 100g strong flour
- 25g wholemeal flour
In a medium bowl mix together starter, water, and flours. Cover it with a cling film and leave in a warm place for 6-8 hours.
For the dough
- 300g strong flour
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 310g lukewarm water
- 10g salt
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 180g starter from the previous step
Add salt, yeast and 180g starter (you will be left with some starter left so you can use it for next loaves of bread). Knead shortly for a few minutes. The dough will be loose and quite sticky.
Cover the bowl with a towel for at least 5 hours until it doubles in size. During the first 2 hours fold the dough 3 or 4 times – see how the author does it.
Form it into the ball and place it into the floured basket or a bowl covered with floured tea towel. Cover it with a cling film and put it into a fridge for 12-14 hours.
After this time put the cast iron pan into the oven and heat it to 240°C. Leave the pan to heat for 45 minutes.
Take the dough from the fridge and put it into the heated pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
Take the lid off and bake for another 20 more minutes or until dark golden. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool the baked bread on the cooling rack.