Yesterday and today I have been baking bread… Maybe it is the winter blues, or just too cold outside to venture out, so I have opted for the warm and cozy job of working on my bread skills. Yesterday I tackled the Classic Country-Style Hearth Loaf and got my poolish started for the Pain De Champagne by Daniel Leader from his Bread Alone book. (The true bread bible in my opinion!) Today I finished the final dough of the Pain De Campagne. As always I learned a few things as I went…
Classic Country-Style Hearth Loaf: Overall this was a success, both crust and crumb were excellent. The bread is delicious with comb honey and butter or as sandwich bread. For this batch I was rushed for time so I did all the minimum raises, and the bread still turned out well. I think if I had more time and did not rush my dough so much it would have only added to the flavor. Also the recipe calls for 20% bran wheat flour. To achieve this I combined 3 parts white unbleached flour to 1 part whole wheat flour. The image to the left is of the bread right before I removed it from the oven. They are sitting on fire bricks I purchased from Menards to give my bread that hearth baked flavor. One of the best $11 dollar investments ever. The book has a few more recipes using this bread as a base but adding in different flavors such as sun-dried tomatoes and thyme or cilantro and cracked pepper. Once we work our way through this bread the goal is to try making one of these other delicious options.
Pain De Campagne: To quote the book “In France, any bread made from baguette dough but not shaped into a baguette is called pain de campagne.” This bread turned out amazing, the crust and crumb were so very flavorful and chewy. With a glass of french wine, this bread and butter you will feel like you are in a french bistro on a warm spring day. (It’s good to think warm thoughts in the winter!) Each time you make bread there are so many environmental factors that play into the outcome which is why I love baking it, you are always learning or observing something new. I think the Pain De Campagne turned out so well because the poolish sat unrefrigerated for almost 24 hours before using it so the yeast really had time to build flavor plus all measurements were done with a scale for most accuracy. I would 100% recommend trying to make this bread it has a delicious artisan feel and flavor. According to Huz it the best bread to date regarding flavor.
If you are in the mood for some home-baked, home-made artisan breads, pick up this book, and happy baking. Any one have any good artisan breads to try?