The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain_de_Campagne from "Local Breads"

dmsnyder's picture

Pain_de_Campagne from "Local Breads"

My usual sourdough starter is semi-firm. I make it at a 1:3:4 ratio of starter to water to flour. Many of the sourdough bakers on TFL favor a 1:2:2 ratio, but fewer seem to use a true "liquid levain" which is more like 125% hydration. I was curious to try a pain au levain using a liquid starter and found the Pain au Campagne recipe in Leader's "Local Breads."

This recipe calls for a 50% hydration dough to which you add 62% (baker's percentage) liquid levain, ending up with a moderately tacky dough. The levain is added after the flour and water are mixed and allowed a 20 minute autolyse. The autolyse mixture is very, very stiff, and it takes a lot of mixing to get the very liquid levain incorporated into the dough. 

The resulting bread has a very nice flavor, but not significantly different from the pains de campagnes I make with my usual starter.

Of greater interest was the final shape of the loaves. They are formed as boules, and I proofed them in round, linen-lined wicker bannetons. I scored them with 3 parellel cuts, as Leader recommends. The loaves took an oblong form even before I could load them in the oven. This is a graphic illustration of the effect of this pattern of scoring on loaf shape, as described by Suas in "Advanced Bread and Pastry" and referenced in my Scoring Tutorial. (See the TFL Handbook.)



trailrunner's picture

to see your baking and to read your clear and concise descriptions. Thank you ...Caroline

dmsnyder's picture


Susan's picture

David, I can certainly recommend this technique; first used it in 2007 in an attempt to make a round loaf into a more sandwich-friendly oval.  It worked!

Triple Slash

Susan from San Diego


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Susan.

I think this loaf shape is pleasing to look at as well as practical.

I see you cold retarded your loaf. Beautiful crust!

SylviaH's picture

Lovely loaves,  I love the way those slashes work their wonders!


blackbird's picture

thx for info, made a note, will work on it, pics are excellent