The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

spring baking in England!

Zeb's picture

spring baking in England!

I hope this is ok to do this as I can't find the posts I wanted to add these too as I am new here.  Yesterday I made these breads, a yeasted dough cottage loaf, following Elizabeth David's method (first time I have ever baked a loaf from a cold start!)  and the pain de sielge d'auvergne, I think its lineage goes as follows, Daniel Leader, LeadDog and Mick of Bethesdabakers, thank you all for this recipe -  and my usual Pain de Campagne.  


Anyway I wanted to share the photos with you. The rye burst at the side because I wasn't sure whether or not to slash the top, obviously I should have done.

Sun shining here in Bristol!  all the best Zeb (on the internet nobody knows you're a dog!)


isobel gildon's picture
isobel gildon


I was up early baking bread and I saw your photos. Excellent. Please, please can you share your pain de campagne recipe - and how did you bake it. You seem to have got wonderful oven spring!

Not sunny here in Suffolk!



Zeb's picture

Hi Isobel,


Of course, here we go.... no it's not sunny any more, that was a one day thing, now it's rain and more rain, good for the garden though.....

One way to make a Pain de Campagne

White  Starter (100 % hydration)     300g
Water    240g at room temperature
Strong white    280g
wholemeal *    100g
Rye    50g
salt    9g
olive oil    15g
optional tsp of spraymalt (this gives that colour to the crust, but makes the dough a bit sweeter, I don't always use it)
total flour    430g
Makes just under a kilo of dough..

Use mature white sourdough starter at 100 % hydration. Use strong bread flour (or very strong bread flour if you want a bit more height to the loaf)  for the starter.  Mix flours and salt in sep warmed bowl.  Mix starter with the water in another bowl. Add these to the starter and water mix,  mix till all combined, but don’t knead at this point. Leave the mixture for 20 minutes so the flour can hydrate. Add in oil (or leave it out for a slightly dryer dough, maybe compensate with more water)  and knead lightly on a board, the oil should stop the dough sticking to you, if it feels sticky, lightly oil the board as well. Return the dough to a clean lightly oiled bowl and cover.

Leave for an hour, knead lightly or do folding the dough and repeat hourly until dough is well aerated and has increased in size by about 50 percent. Takes 3 - 5 hours usually. Weigh the dough and divide into two pieces if you want 500 g approx. loaves and shape into boules, leave for a bit and then reshape if they need it, put in bread form or a bowl lined with a linen cloth with lots of rye flour rubbed into it. .

Leave to rise, it should be at least half as big again, and a finger lightly pressed into the dough should leave a dent that does not bounce back at you, though this is a matter of judgement.

Preheat oven as hot as you can get at least 240 C if you can.  Turn out onto onto heated tray on fine semolina. Or bread stone. Brush any excess damp flour away. Sprinkle new flour on top. Slash the loaf. Put boiling water in metal tray on shelf below. Cook in middle of oven ideally.   Then cook in a 450/240 oven for 1st 10/15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 220 for the next half hour If you can get the oven really hot and steamy to start with this helps. So give it at least 50 minutes if not an hour, test for doneness, should sound really hollow when tapped, not just a bit thuddy. I take the steam tray out after about 20 minutes and let some of the steam that has built up in the oven out. These timings are for a 1kg loaf, so you would need to reduce them for 2 x 500 grams, maybe aim for 40 - 45 mins total.

* You can use any combination of flours instead of the rye and wholemeal, i.e. spelt or Swiss Dark Flour from Shipton is good. I use that usually instead of wholemeal.

This dough is not as hydrated as some and I find it easier to shape and work than the very hydrated doughs which I am not so good at shaping....



ps if you want spraymalt, you can get it in smallish quantities at bakerybits online. I also use barleymalt syrup sometimes for the same effect from the local wholefood shop.