Ever been to France?
Pain de campagne is a staple bread that you will find in all boulangeries around the country. It translates as “country bread” and is typically made with a levain or sourdough starter and both wheat and rye flours. In order to get a nice light, but chewy texture this bread takes a bit of time to complete. I will tackle this sort of recipe on a day when I know I have chores at home and will be present for the various steps along the way.
When I moved to France as a young woman to study languages I came to love this hearty loaf of bread; it wasn’t one that was made in any large quantity in my family’s bakery here in California. Along with the baguette, I remember it being on the table of many homes in which I lived and visited, and I have hoped to duplicate it in my kitchen. It’s like a hearty dose of the good earth, and so good as sandwich bread, in the morning with eggs, or alongside a hearty vegetable soup. Yum!
I have tried a variety of recipes and finally found one that worked for me. Rejoice with me!!! That’s about ten years of trying! If you like to bake, and don’t have this bread book, titled Dough, by Richard Bertinet–then onto the Christmas list it should go. That’s where the recipe is found…
As an aside, this is a horrible representation of pain de campagne. I’m sharing this link because it’s the very first in line when you search for it on google. Good grief. Don’t follow that recipe.
As for the giving! I’ve made three batches now of pain de campagne in the last month and have given three of the six loaves away. One was eaten by a glowing pregnant mama, another went to my son’s first grade teacher, Miss Conway :), and the last ended up in the hands of my parents, who are currently in a long phase of house reconstruction…
Hope you get to France one day to try one of their many amazing breads–but if not, have fun giving this recipe a try. Or come knock on my door and I’ll make you a loaf!
Really, I would love to 🙂