The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie question - FWSY Pain de Campagne

SeattleStarter's picture

Newbie question - FWSY Pain de Campagne

This is my sixth time following this recipe. First time using a new AP flour (Wheat Montana natural white "premium" AP flour), along with whole wheat flour from Trader Joe's.

What kind of flour do you recommend I use? I'm on a budget so have been using what's at Costco. The new flour I used here has more protein than the previous I had been using, and shaping went more like it does in the videos. Crust is really nice too. But it's not "bread flour". How much difference does that make?

I'm also being a bit shy about following Forkish's oven directions, feeling like previous loaves were leaning a bit toward being "burnt" rather than dark and mysterious as aficionados describe. This loaf I did at my oven's 470, then turned the oven off at 40 minutes but left in for full 50. Any advice would be appreciated.


edited to add - cooked in dutch ovens (one lodge double, the other a big oval shaped one), lids came off after 30, per FWSY.


pmccool's picture

Those look beautimous.


SeattleStarter's picture

Thank you.

IceDemeter's picture

You should be really proud of those loaves, and of yourself for tweaking the timing and temperatures to get a result that YOU prefer, and for working with the ingredients that make the most sense for your budget and needs.  Nice job!

Realistically, a "bread" flour will have a higher amount of gluten-forming proteins than an "all purpose" flour, even if they have the same overall "protein" count.  The more gluten is formed, the stronger the structure is, which allows for holding in more of the gases formed in fermentation, and thus a higher rise.  It also makes the crumb more chewy and "toothsome" (and, in many opinions, more tough and unpleasant).  Flour higher in gluten-forming proteins can also absorb more water, making a higher hydration dough work and feel more like a lower hydration with lower-protein flours.

You are obviously doing a fine job in building the gluten structure with the flour that you have, and are getting a lovely rise out of it.  If you are happy with the rise, crust, crumb, and flavour - well, certainly no need to go looking for any other type of flour!

Nice job, thanks for sharing!

SeattleStarter's picture

Thanks for the feedback. I'll keep experimenting!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Well done; those look amazing. :)

I also buy my flour at Costco. They have two kinds of Rogers (western Canadian company) unbleached flour - one is their Silver Star which is a commercial bread flour (20 kg bags) and the other is Rogers All Purpose flour. I buy and use both, and they both work well. As Laurie says, some bakers recommend AP flour instead of stronger bread flour (especially in North America) because it makes the crumb and crust more tender and less chewy. Depends what you like, really. AP flour here is probably closer to some of the European flours used for bread.

As to temperature - I bake almost all my breads (at least the lean ones) the same way: for breads baked on the big granite stones I pre-heat the oven at 475F, add bread and steam, then after five minutes turn the temp down to 425F. Most sourdoughs I bake for 15 minutes, then turn and another 15 minutes and they're perfect. In Dutch ovens (actually smaller cast iron pots, in my case) I pre-heat to 475F, then as soon as the bread goes in I turn it down to 450. After 25 to 30 minutes (depending on loaf size) I take off the lids, rearrange the pots and turn the oven down to 425F for another 20 minutes or so. This results in a nice dark crust without burning. I suspect ovens are all different, so whatever works for you is the way to go!

SeattleStarter's picture

Seems like costco in different areas carry different flours. Can't hurt to put in a request for "bread flour" at my local store.

I bought a stone from amazon which has been ok for pizza, but leaves the underside of loaves not as well cooked as the outside (when using steam for first 15-20 minutes), so I've been sticking to the dutch ovens.

Thanks for the info on temperatures. For a rook like me, nice to be reminded that they're not sacrosanct.

WatertownNewbie's picture

"I bought a stone from amazon which has been ok for pizza, but leaves the underside of loaves not as well cooked as the outside (when using steam for first 15-20 minutes), so I've been sticking to the dutch ovens."

Perhaps move the stone down one level in your oven and see what happens.

SeattleStarter's picture

Good idea. I don't recall how or why I decided on the current rack level and had forgotten it was another variable to play with.

Great avatar pic ;)