Bake wholesome #realbread at home with tried and tested recipes from The Bread She Bakes
Category: Sourdough recipes
Baking bread with sourdough is the purest form of baking. Commercial yeast isn’t needed as naturally occurring yeasts are taking care of the rise. Keeping the sourdough in harmonious balance, baking with it again and again and transforming the most basic ingredients into wonderfully complex loaves is the essence of #realbread baking. Based on slow fermentation, the excellent flavour and texture of sourdough loaves are sure to reward your patience.
If you are the beginning of your sourdough journey, start by creating a sourdough culture from scratch. All you’ll need is flour and water. I’ve typed up step-by-step instructions for both a rye sourdough starter and spelt sourdough starter.
If you’ve already got your sourdough starter at the ready, here are my sourdough recipes:
I started using Kamut khorasan flour in bread baking two months ago and have not stopped using it since. It tastes excellent in sourdough breads and I’ve baked some of the best loaves of bread I’ve ever tasted with this beautiful flour. Here is my Kamut bread recipe, also incorporating flax seeds. I recommend it!
“Kamut” is a trademark which has been set up for a species of ancient wheat called khorasan to guarantee certain qualities of the grain. For example, the name KAMUT® certifies that khorasan wheat has been organically grown.
The khorasan grain is not suited to the UK’s soil or climate conditions and is currently grown in North America. In the UK, you can buy Kamut Khorasan Flour from Doves Farm, the licensed UK supplier of KAMUT® khorasan grain.
Kamut khorasan flour is high in protein and has a mild, slightly nutty taste and golden colour. It contains gluten, but is reported to be tolerated well by those sensitive to gluten. It’s generally advisable to mix Kamut flour with plain flour – your loaf of bread might otherwise be quite dense due to the khorasan flour’s high gluten content.
Mix together and cover overnight (about 12 hours).
200g preferment (see above)
165g flaxseed soaker (see above)
250g Kamut flour
100g bread flour
100g plain flour
Combine all ingredients
Knead for 10 minutes
Leave to rest for an hour
Stretch and fold and carefully cover with a layer of flour
Place in a well floured proving basket, cover with a polythene bag and rest at room temperature – the proofing process might take quite a few hours depending on the temperature in your room (recently I had to proof the dough overnight – 6 hours – before baking as it was quite cold)
Preheat the oven to 240°C half an hour before baking
Bake for 45 minutes, turn down the heat to 200°C after 10 minutes
Described as ‘the antithesis of the industrial factory loaf’ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, pain de campagne (French for ‘country bread’) is my favourite everyday loaf.
What is pain de campagne?
Pain de campagne is a large round loaf of sourdough bread typically made with a combination of white and wholemeal flour. I always also add in some rye flour to enhance the flavour of the loaf.
The French country boule is the purest and most fundamentally satisfying loaf of bread there is. I love the chewy crumb, the thick crunchy crust and the characteristic wild bread aromas.
Pain de campagne sourdough baking
I found a way to conveniently fit pain de campagne baking into my daily routine. Although it takes about forty hours to prepare and bake the bread, the actual active working time spent on the loaf is no more than an hour.
The time spent preparing is rewarded with a loaf of brilliant longevity as the extra fermentation time traps more moisture in the dough and keeps the bread fresh. Sourdough also contains mold-killing compounds which act as natural preservatives.
If you are based in Edinburgh and looking for a sourdough starter, I’m happy to share some of mine! I have tried to bake pain de campagne with baker’s yeast instead of sourdough, but the taste, texture and flavour are just not the same.
Pain de campagne recipe (sourdough)
The recipe offers a guideline for timings, but you can easily adapt this to fit around your schedule. In terms of dough hydration for this pain de champagne recipe, I’m working with 71.5% here but feel free to adjust this slightly based on the flour you are using or personal preference.
Day 1 7am – Refresh your sourdough starter
100g rye sourdough starter I’m using a pretty firm and mature starter at roughly 100% hydration for this recipe. (*)
100g strong white flour
50g wholemeal wheat flour
50g wholemeal rye flour
160g water, lukewarm(*) If you are new to sourdough baking and have used my how-to-guide to making a rye sourdough starter, make sure you add some extra flour so it’s not too wet. I would recommend to use 67g instead of just 50g wholemeal rye flour and slightly less water, 144g instead of 160g.
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, cover with a lid and keep at room temperature.
Day 2 7am – Prepare the dough
250g strong white flour
100g wholemeal wheat flour
50g wholemeal rye flour
300g sourdough ferment (from above) The rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake.
Combine all ingredients and knead for about 10 mins.
The dough should be quite soft, it should still slightly stick to hands and worktop, so carefully add a little more water in case the consistency is too tight and firm. Equally, if the dough is too wet to be workable, carefully add a little bit more flour. In general, for pain de campagne, wetter dough is better dough but it should be easy to work with and definitely not runny.
Shape the dough into a pile on your worktop and cover with a plastic bowl. Moisten the rim of the bowl before placing it there. The dough is going to expand and flatten and will stick to the bowl otherwise.
Leave the dough for about an hour.
Use your dough scrapers to stretch and fold the dough a few times to tighten its structure.
Prepare a plate with wholemeal flour, then pick up the dough and dip it into the flour, turn it over to ensure it’s completely covered.