Pain de Campagne

pain de campagne

Pain de Campagne

I have been making sourdough loaves since I got my starter about once a week in between making loaves with commercial yeast. While sourdough is delicious it can be quite a lengthy process so I tend make it when I can, rather than when I need a quick loaf of bread. It often takes a couple of days to wake up my starter from the fridge and sometimes I leave it so long I actually have to start the process of adding another cup of flour and water all over again. I have been sticking with the same basic recipe so was looking for something a bit different. And while sourdough might take a bit longer to make, the finished result is worth it: this bread is absolutely delicious and probably the most authentic tasting “artisan” bread I have made. The kids would eat it all day if they could. I need to work on my presentation though as mine doesn’t look anything like the picture accompanying the recipe in Paul Hollywood’s “How to Bake“. Time to invest in a proving basket!

It’s a very chewy bread that will give your jaw a proper workout. It’s great on its own with some oil and vinegar or butter when it is fresh, and is also brilliant as toast.

sourdough bread

Pain de Campagne

The original recipe makes two loaves but I worked out the amounts needed to use the amount of starter I ended up with, which very usefully turned out to be exactly 300g. I made one large loaf and these are the amounts I used:



300g sourdough starter

400g strong white flour

60g rye flour

10g salt

210-270ml water


When your starter is ready to be used, put it, the flours and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add enough water to give a soft dough. I used nearly all my water but it will depend on how wet your starter is.

Knead for about 5-10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and silky. Put into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm or a tea towel. Leave for about 5 hours, or until at least doubled in size. Again, the amount of time will depend on your starter.

making bread

Cover your dough and leave it to rise

When the dough is ready to be knocked back, prepare a tin or proving basket. Paul Hollywood’s instructions are to cover the tray with a cloth and dust heavily with flour. I did as instructed and I think that is why my loaf turned out to be a bit strangely shaped at the sides.

pain de campagne

The risen dough and a tin lined with a cloth and heavily dusted with flour

Tip the dough out onto a surface and fold repeatedly inwards until the air is knocked out. Shape into an oval and taper the ends. I tried this but the tin I used wasn’t really big enough.

Put the loaf into the proving basket or prepared tin, cover and leave to prove. Paul Hollywood says a minimum of 13 hours, until the dough is at least doubled in size. Mine didn’t seem to need this long and instead of putting it inside a plastic bag I covered it with a tea towel. The dough developed a skin but this didn’t seem to impact the taste.

Set the oven to 190ºC and transfer the loaf to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.  Make a deep cut along the middle of the loaf and two diagonal slashes on either side. I think because my dough had developed a skin this didn’t work very well.

Bake for around 40 minutes, until well browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

homemade pain de campagne

Not the most authentic looking Pain de Campagne!

Categories: Baking, Bread, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Looks delicious, I had my paul hollywood book out today and tomorrows task is to make a sour dough starter 🙂

  2. This looks absolutely fantastic! I’ve been trying to make sourdough for years, but can’t get my hands on some starter. I tried making my own, but it didn’t really work.

  3. That’s my kind of bake! Lovely! =)

  4. oh how I love pain de campagne!! lovely to have made it with a starter..I’m sure it would have tasted so lovely!

    its too warm where i live and the starters i tried making didnt work out.

  5. I wish I could stick my nose in a slice and breathe deeply!

  6. The bread looks beautiful! Very nice crumb. I have yet to use my starter, for the same time reasons. Must get more organised!

    • I have just started another loaf but it took three lots of adding flour and water to get the timing right to make the dough! I do think it’s worth it though, I am really impressed with how good the first loaf was and am hoping it wasn’t just beginner’s luck!

  7. Your bread looks amazing! I am terrible at maintaining a sourdough starter so I am always envious of those who produce beautiful, chewy loaves like this. Amazing job! I’d love to try this recipe… hm, can I be bothered attempting a THIRD sourdough starter?! x

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