The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recipe Help needed

titus's picture

Recipe Help needed

I need some help with a recipe for pain de campagne that is printed on the bag of flour I am using (I'm trying a new tactic in my struggle to bake bread here in Europe; I'm going to try out a regular French recipe).

Here are the ingredients:

1 kg flour (the whole bag)
800 grams water
60 grams yeast (yes, that's 60 -- they don't say what kind -- I assume it's fresh)
15 grams salt
3 grams sugar

The amount of yeast is really freaking me out! It seems way, way out of line. The suggested rising time of the dough is only one hour! There's no way I'm going to make bread that way!

Any advice on how low I can cut the yeast down to? I'm also planning to do an overnight rise in the refrigerator.

Thanks in advance.
(pulling my hair out in Lux)

pmccool's picture


From looking at a few other recipes posted on the web, it appears that they call for 20-24g of "bakers yeast", or 1 packet of "dehydrated" yeast, for a formula using about 500g of flour. My guess would be that your recipe is calling for fresh yeast, rather than active dry or instant varieties.

I hope that helps.


titus's picture

Yes, I think it's fresh yeast as well. Active dry yeast (baker's yeast) comes in packages of 8 grams here.

But my question remains -- how much can I cut down the amount of fresh yeast in this recipe and still get a good loaf? 60 grams really seems too outrageous.

pmccool's picture

or a poolish, or some other form of a preferment. That is a very typical way to build a pain de campagne, with a slow bulk ferment that allows the flavors to develop. You could start with as little as 1 or 2 grams of active dry or instant yeast. You could even use a sourdough starter, if you have one.

Not having worked much with fresh yeast, I really don't remember how much would be typical. For some reason, I'm thinking that the stuff is packaged in 1 ounce blocks here in the U.S. If so, 60 grams is just a shade over 2 ounces, which doesn't sound out of scale for leavening 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of flour in a straight yeasted dough. It is definitely high for an artisanal style bread.


JMonkey's picture

Well, the traditional formula for a French baguette is 60-2-2: 60% water, 2% salt and 2% fresh yeast. So if you're using 1 kilo of flour, that'd be 20 grams of fresh yeast.

Most folks these days, though, go much wetter than 60% and use less yeast. Anyway, it's a good starting point.

titus's picture

Thanks, y'all!

manxman's picture


assume you have bought a bag of mixed flour for pain de campagne which will include rye flour

most recipies I see that want a quick rise (2hrs then 1 after shaping) call for 30grms fresh yeast for 400/100 grm white/rye flour.

If you are in Luxembourg asume you can read french, maybe you can find help in the french flour firm Francine which has about 700 various recipies.

They tend to use instant yeast ,  web site

have you tried a pinch of absorbic acid powder when using fresh yeast?




titus's picture

Hi Manxman:

I have a bag of locally milled flour that has:

Farine de froment
Farine Pana (I have no idea what this is -- I can't find the translation for this anywhere)
Siegle grillé
Vitamin C

Because I'm having so much trouble using American/UK recipes with the French and German (lower protein) flour that I have here, I decided to try to make the French recipe that's on the bag of flour to see how the dough behaves (the ingredients are what I posted on my first inquiry).

The recipe, however, calls for only a 1 hour rise after kneading,and only a 15 minute rest after shaping the boule!!

There's really no way I want to make a bread that rises that quickly, so I'm going to make some adjustments. Maybe use a preferment and definitely going to use less yeast.

Thanks for the link to Francine. I have picked up a bag of their flour and noticed that they have a some additives and treatments. Since you seem familiar with them, do you happen to know what exactly they mean by "levain de blé désactivé". Does that imply that you would use less yeast in a given recipe?

When give a choice, I'd rather use the locally milled flour, as it doesn't have any treatments done to the flour, but I will give the Francine flour a chance.

Mini-Oven: Thanks for the tip and encouraging words. Yes, the recipe really does call for 3 grams of sugar. I'm probably going to leave it out altogether.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

...And if you squish the sugar (must be more than 3 gms) into the yeast lightly with a fork and give it a minute, the block will liquify making it easier to blend into liquids. Good luck  :) Mini Oven