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Pain de Campagne Poilane

27 February 2010


I’ve been looking up on the web, my baking books for inspiration for my next bake.  Looking around,  I’m still drawn to french bread,  where the taste is good,  with a long preparation time.  I decided.  I’m determined.  I’ve tried this before,  but it turned out pretty when I decided to shape it too small.  


Pain de Campagne Poilane - Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads.  This is the one.  I really dislike this book,  because it does not have any pictures of how the bread should look like.  I had to read and reread,  to figure out what the bread looks like,  I still don’t get it.  I looked up another book,  ok,  I can settle for a boule or I can probably do it like baguette.  I’ll think about it when I need to shape the dough.




Day 1: Starter


100g Whole Wheat Flour

3 g dry milk

3 g yeast

100g water


Mix well,  cover and put aside for 24 hours at room temperature.


I also remembered I had an old dough from the last batch that I had in the freezer,  I’m taking it out to put into fridge and defrost.  


After 24 hours - bubbly and strong yeasty smell.  Interestingly, Shanghai’s weather has been good - probably around 18 degrees celcius.  I left the bowl in my little oven that I didn’t turn on. 


Day 2:  Sponge


100g Water

150g Bread flour


Add water into the starter, stir and add the flour in.  It’ll become a harder mass than the starter, but still soft.  Now the colour turns lighter. The yeasty smell is still there. Covered up and pop it into my oven again.  The weather is cooler the next day,  i wonder if it’ll bubble as well. Let’s see.



Day 3:  Dough


I couldn't wait to get home from my dinner.  I need to get my dough done.  It's already 9.30pm when I got home.  I quickly set about to change, get ready to do my dough.


100g old dough

150g Bread flour

3g Salt


Cut up the old dough.  Mixed with my hands and started the laborious effort to knead.  I think I knead for a good 20 minutes by hand.  Slowly adding flour as I go along,  and dabbing my hand with a little water to mix everything together.


1st Rising - 60 minutes,  at 50 degree celsius. Well covered,  and changing the boiling water twice in the process.


I wanted to see the results of my dough.  I decided to put into my oven for a quick first rise.  The dough rose nicely,  doubled.


Shaping - with the nice rise,  I didn't want to destroy the gas,  decided to go for a 1 fold.  Stretching it well,  I just did a fold of the dough and let rest for 5 minutes. And I also left aside a 100g as old dough.  I decided to try 2 shapes - Baguette and Boule.  I was researching a little on claypot baking and decided to do a boule. I cut the dough into half.  Shaped one round and the other baguette.  I let proof.  For the boule,  I needed some kind of shape,  love those circular flour that appeared on bread that I've seen,  I don't have a basket,  I found my vegetable plastic basket, the shape and pattern looks good.  Ok,  this will do.  I floured it and gently put my round dough in.


2nd Proofing: To let it proof to 3 times the size.


Boule - 90 minutes in oven at 50 degree celsius.  Has not risen enough,  I decided to let it proof for another 4 hours.

Baguette - let proof in an unheated oven 5 hours.


I checked the thermometer. It's about 12-14 degrees celsius - room temperature.


I was afraid of over proofing.  Therefore, I set my alarm clock at 5am to check out my dough and bake it.


5am, Saturday morning.  I'm awake and my dough looks really good.  Looks much bigger than the last that I saw.  I wonder if I have overproofed it.  I got my oven ready at 250 degree celsius,  10 minutes prior to putting the baguette,  I put boiling water in the pan. Baked for 25 minutes.  An additional 10 minutes was added to brown the bottom.


For the boule,  I have a korean claypot that I bought sometime back,  the size fits in nicely.  Gently,  I took the dough from the basket and put into the claypot.  For this I baked at 25 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.



Both crackled for a good 10 minutes or so.  


Surprisingly,  with the crust is crispy,  the inside is soft and yet crunchy.  It turns out a little darker in colour because of the whole wheat that I used. It is not as sweet as I expected but it has a good taste even with the old dough.





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