BBA Challenge #22: Pain de Campagne

I figured I would like this next bread in the BBA Challenge.  I generally like the French style breads, white but with a little “oomph” thanks to the pre-ferment.  And no exception.  This starts out, like so many others, with a pate fermentee.  And as I have done so many Friday nights since beginning this challenge, then, I made a starter dough to rest overnight in the fridge.  (I think this makes me sound kind of pathetic.  I am in my third trimester with a toddler.  There’s only so wild I can get).

The photo included with this recipe included an assortment of many beautiful loaves–so while I could have just made a regular loaf I was inspired to try my hand at more artistic dough shaping.  I ended up making the three following shapes, with the help of a knife and kitchen shears:

A scissor cut boule (back), a couronne (front)

a fendu.

…and I learned that I should have been a little less dainty with my snips and indentations–I failed to remember that (at least if things go as planned) the dough is going to rise quite a bit as it rests (and even more in the oven).

This resulted in what should have been little spikes on my loaf looking more like moon craters.  (Maybe I was supposed to do this AFTER the second rise…)

I don’t typically prepare the oven for artisan baking (adding a pan of water to the base of the oven, and then spritzing at 30 second intervals for the first few minutes of baking, creating a steamy environment that allows for even more oven spring).  While it’s not necessarily that much trouble, my oven is pretty old and I don’t really want to test it by trying to create a miniature steamroom in there.  I wonder if people find it makes that significant of a difference?  I don’t doubt that it does come closer to replicating a boulangerie loaf, but how much? 

 I left the bread in the oven a bit too long (little E’s bath taking a bit longer than anticipated) so here’s a photo of some very well browned loaves.  Still, they turned out well.  The dough contains a little bit (just a quarter cup) of wheat or rye flour (I used wheat) which I think is a nice touch (and apparently makes it de campagne, i.e. “country style”).  It’s still firmly within the white bread genre, but has a bit more complexity.  I had quite a few nutella slathered slices while it was still warm from the oven.

Then, I went ahead and completely forgot to wrap the loaves in plastic.  The next day they were pretty tough.  To salvage this (because not to use this bread would really be a waste) I used one loaf to make bread crumbs and the remaining 1 1/2 loaves to make apple cardamom bread pudding.  Yum…I may have to “forget” to wrap up my bread more often!

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4 thoughts on “BBA Challenge #22: Pain de Campagne

  1. Too bad the shaping didn’t work out that well. But glad to hear you liked the bread. I didn’t really like mine, it was ok, but not awesome. Pretty tight crumb. Oh, when I forget to wrap the bread, I usually use it for toast. But bread pudding sounds good. I’ve never had bread pudding – I don’t think it’s ubiquitous here. Wikipedia says it was several decades ago, though. Have to try that! Just checked: HTCE and HTCEV have some versions (I think yours is one of them, isn’t it) – YUM!

  2. I love your Moon Crater bread! Looks like a little happy face~ Just found you on twitter…got to get back on the BBA wagon and start my pain al ciene bread….

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