Pain de Campagne (100% sourdough)


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421 users have voted.


dimitry1 2010 January 24

You have wonderful bread thank you for sharing it with all of us. 


There is one thing I don't like about this web site, There are so many good recipes and breads that all I wont to do is bake bread and try it all, but then I would have to spend each day baking and eating. Just kidding great bread and great web site. Thanks.

rossnroller 2010 January 24

Good to actually receive a couple of comments! Thanks, guys!

And yeah, dimitry1, I identify completely with your second comment. I also have a never-ending queue of wonderful-looking breads to try, mostly from home bakers who have posted on this and my other favourite bread site. So much so, that I don't often bake the same one twice! There are about 5 that I do again and again, including this pain de campagne. But isn't it exciting having so many more to try?


shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 January 24

Fabulous loaves and fabulous crumbs!  It is nice to have our favourite "regulars" to bake.  Do you mix two types of white flours to get the protein level you want?  Normally organic flour has higher protein.  Which all-purpose flour (or substitute) do you use?


rossnroller 2010 January 24

I am chuffed indeed to receive praise like that from you, Shiao-Ping. As you know, you are one of my bread gurus. And your marvellous 'House Miche' is one of those favoured 5 breads I referred to.  Actually, I have baked more of your breads than anyone else's, and they've all been terrif. Your version of 'Chad's SD' is another of my favourites.

In the bake that these photos came from, I used Wheatfields unbleached AP flour + Eden Valley Premium Organic Bakers Flour (as you state, the latter is higher protein than AP but I know this just going by the texture of crumb it produces...I'm not sure of the exact protein content because I buy it in bulk, not by the packet).

Recently, I have changed to Woolworths Organic AP flour, which I just used in your 'House Miche' (without any bakers flour). I couldn't swear there's a big difference between this and the cheaper Wheatfields flour in terms of finished bread product - both are fine IMO.

What I have noticed, however, is that using only AP flour creates a softer, spongier crumb than baker's flour or a combo of AP and BF. I wouldn't say it's better, necessarily, but it's certainly different. I do really like it. Then again, I love the stronger structure you get from baker's flour, too.

shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 January 24

I am so glad that you told me Woolworths has AP flour.  I don't know why I am so blind.  There are two Woolworths within 5 km radius of my house.  Every time I am in my local supermarkets (Coles) all that I can see is plain flour, self-raising flour and bread flour.  I never see AP flour and I was very disappointed every time when I looked.  I had just rung my local Woolworths store and the girl confirmed to me YES they have AP flour!  Happy Day.  And thank you.

Your description of sourdough made with AP flour -  "a softer, spongier crumb" is the same as how I would have described the Plain Sourdough at my favourite local village bakery, Banneton Bakery, in my Where is Waldo post.  I think the French are known to favour softer flour (that's why they use T55 and T65 flour) and as MC said in her recent meet-the-baker story, Gerard Rubaud had said that bread flour is what you use to make "car tires."    Talk about different taste buds!

rossnroller 2010 January 24

Shiao-Ping, we may have some terminological confusion here. When I mentioned WW's organic AP flour, I was actually referring to their organic plain flour. Ditto, when I referred to the Wheatfields brand as "AP flour." I have always assumed that plain flour and AP flour is the same (ie: I thought 'AP' was simply the American term for what we call 'plain flour'). Certainly, 'plain flour' has been working fine for me in my bread-making.

I don't think I've ever seen any flour in either WW or Coles labelled AP. I wonder whether the WW staff member you spoke to also regards 'plain' and 'AP' as interchangeable descriptors?

ramat123 2010 January 28


Can you please explain once and for all (couldn't understand it for some reason) what 80% hydration is?

Thanks a lot,


rossnroller 2010 January 29

Hi David. In baker's percentages, the quantity of flour used is always 100%, and all other ingredients are relative to that. So, an 80% hydration starter is 100% flour and 80% water. In weight terms, this would translate to, for example, 100gm of flour and 80gm of water. Or 50gm of flour and 40gm of water...etc

Occabeka 2010 January 29

Those are great looking loaves! The crust is beautiful.

May I ask if you misted the dough before you put it in the oven?



rossnroller 2010 January 29

Hi Occabeka.

Yes, I did mist them just before putting them into the oven. Just a quick spray, then I also sprayed the oven walls quickly just after sliding them on to the stone - more mist no doubt ended up on the loaves then, also.


ramat123 2010 January 30

Thanks for the answer! But making a good starter may take couple of weeks. How do you calculate the % after adding som much water and flours?

rossnroller 2010 January 31


I'm not sure I understand your question. I can just tell you that I keep my starters in the fridge in between feeds and bakes. This fridge storage time is usually not longer than 2 or 3 days, but I alternate between a 30%rye/70%flour starter @ 100% hydration, and another 100% plain flour one at 80% hydration...on occasions I have used solely the white starter for a couple of weeks, and during this time the rye/flour starter has just been in the fridge. That's never been a problem, as it activates again as soon as I take it out and feed it at room temperature.

So, let's say I want to make this pain de campagne and the white starter has been sitting unfed in the fridge for a week. I take out a teaspoon or so and feed it 30g of flour and 24g of water (ie: 80% hydration), then 8-12 hours later feed it 70g flour and 56g water. 8-12 hours after that I have a fully ripe starter at 80% hydration that is ready to make the pain de campagne dough. If I am not intending to bake again for a few days after making the dough, I simply put the remnant of the starter back in the fridge.

This way, you can build a starter at any hydration you want (since you start the build with only a teaspoon of starter), and after a couple of feeds it's raring to go. Give it 3 feeds if it's a bit sluggish to begin with. I don't have that problem because the ambient temperature is pretty bloody warm here at the moment and that encourages the starter back to full ripeness very quickly. Also, I think I have a very active starter, because even in winter it was never a problem to get it climbing the walls of its container after a short stint in the fridge and a couple of feeds. I do bake 2 to 3 times per week on average, sometimes more, so that probably helps the starter to remain in primo condition.

Hope this helps. If not, maybe you could clarify your query.


ramat123 2010 February 1

This is the best answer I've ever gotten. Now I understand it. Thank a lot! I will put 10% from any loaf aside for you.

Thanks again, David

rossnroller 2010 February 1

And thanks for your generous acknowledgement!

It took me a while to get my head around this stuff, but any time I asked for help on this and other forums, people were so willing to if I've helped you as others helped me, that's just positive karma in action!

Good baking!

ramat123 2010 February 1

Hi Ross,

Can you please tell me who is the manufacturer of the flours you mentioned in the recipe?


  • 300 g Premium organic bakers' flour
  • 170 g All-purpose flour
  • 50 g Organic whole-grain rye flour


I am from Israel and want to find the equivalents here.


Thanks again,



rossnroller 2010 February 1

Hi David. I doubt you'll be able to find the ones I use in Israel, because I don't think they're even widely available in Australia outside my state (WA).

I use Eden Valley premium organic bakers' flour, and I think the organic whole-grain rye is from the same people (I buy it in bulk from a local organic supplier, so don't get a bag with brand details on it). The AP flour - or plain flour as we call it here, and perhaps elsewhere outside America - is just Woolworths or Coles (local supermarket chains) own organic brand.

I think any organic flour equivalents you can source in Israel will be fine. They may even be better if they come from Europe, where there is a long tradition of quality SD bread baking and a tremendous variety of top quality flours. I do happen to believe that organic is generally better environmentally, and probably also in terms of potential flavour, but I don't think it's necessarily the case that non-organic flours won't produce great if you can only get non-organic, they will probably work fine. I suspect the whole-grain part and the milling processes used are more important to flavour (not the environment) than organic growing - but Maedi or Graham or others who have more experience in this area will be better able to comment on this.


ramat123 2010 February 1

Hi Ross,

Understadning the hyderation issue what the best way to build a volume of starter for a few loafs?

Let's say I have a 200gr of an active starter. How do I make it 500 gr  or 600 gr?

Thanks again,

Occabeka 2010 February 2

I tried making the bread using the same formula as yours. Or as close as I could get it to be. The main difference was the ambient temperature here, which was in the low 30's degrees C, being in the tropics.


I managed to get some orhanic bread flour, rye and AP flours. I have an active starter. The dough did not rise much after the kneading. In fact, 2 hours after kneading it had only risen by about 30%. I put it in the fridge anyway. It stayed there for nearly 24 hours.


Shaping was done as soon as I took it out of the fridge. I had some difficulty there as the dough was quite wet. It took well over 2 hours to double in size before I felt confident enough to bake it.


Oven spring was good. I forgot to lower the temperature after 15 minutes and a part of the loaf got more "tanned" than I prefer.


(Ooops! I have a problem loading the pics. Help!)


It tasted good. I wonder if I can increase the sourness by increasing the amount of starter while still maintaining the same amount of flour and hydration.








rossnroller 2010 February 2

Occabeka, I am pretty sure you over-proved your dough. The ambient temp here in Perth has been similar to yours - I have made this bread twice in the last week, and the inside temperatures were around 34 or more both times.

I pre-shaped the dough straight out of the fridge, gave it only about 20 minutes rest, then shaped and proved for another 25 minutes. That was plenty! In fact, next time I am going to reduce the bulk proof also if the ambient temp is still over 30. I've got the feeling that 2.5 hours is enough at 30C+.

Please note, also, the dough definitely does not need to double in size during the proofing period (most of the expansion will already have taken place during the bulk proof and in the fridge). As long as you don't de-gas it when pre-shaping and shaping, the rise should be fine with a post-shaping proving period of 30 minutes or so in your sort of ambient temperatures.

Try it again as above, and I'll bet you'll get a better result.


ramat123 2010 February 3

Do you keep a 100% starter as a base then build the desired hydration or you keep the % you are working with.

rossnroller 2010 February 3

David, my apologies - I didn't notice your previous post.

To get a starter of 200g to, say 500g, work on doubling the weight with each feed. I'm assuming your 200g starter is already fed up, active and ripe. 500g is only a bit more than double 200g, so IF it's already ripe, I'd just add a total of 300g water and flour for your next feed. That double-up rule is not hard and fast, either. I've built my starter up more gradually often, and it works fine. I think you need to add more than its current weight when you feed it though.

Also, an effect you might like to note is that if you feed it up to the desired weight gradually, it will get more sourness about it.

I keep two starters in the fridge at all times (just a tablespoon or a bit more of each in a glass jar with lid tightly on). One is 30%rye/70% flour @ 100% hydration; the other is 100% white flour @ 80% hydration. This is because those two hydrations are the ones I use in most recipes - or used to. These days, I am making quite a few that specify 65% or 75%, or whatever...firmer, in any case. I just build up my small quantity of fridged starter accordingly.

PS: The above works well for me, but others will have other thoughts on your queries. SD methods vary a lot, I've noticed.

Occabeka 2010 February 3

Just managed to get the photos of the loaves I made on Sunday last on the net.


I sliced the bread the day after.




rossnroller 2010 February 4

Yeah, slashing is such a simple thing - apparently! - and yet I think most of us are challenged by it sometimes. As you say, practice is the key, as with just about everything to do with baking...

Monique 2010 February 25

Confused about what autolyse means! Is this a ferment stage where I cover a leave or is it something i have to do or add to the dough?


rossnroller 2010 February 26

 The autolyse is a period of resting the dough after it is initially mixed, before the yeast and salt is added. I actually do mix in the starter in the beginning, because I like to part-dissolve it in the water of the dough mix so that it is more evenly distributed throughout the dough when the flour is added. So, for this recipe, the autolyse is simply a period of resting the initially mixed dough before the salt is added. And yes, the dough bowl is covered during the autolyse.

Some like to cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel or plastic bag. I also lay some plastic directly over the dough, but if the mix is very wet it can stick and get messy, so ignore my compulsive behaviour in this instance!

PS: Quote from Wikipedia on autolysing: Autolyse refers to a particular period of rest after the initial mixing of flour and water, a rest period that occurs sequentially before the addition of yeast and other ingredients.[2] This rest period allows for better absorption of water and allows the gluten and starches to align. Breads made with autolysed dough are easier to form into shapes and have more volume and improved structure.

Monique 2010 February 26

Thank you for clearing that up! Can you believe I am a student at the National Bakery school and none of my tutors could tell me that! I did find the dictionary definition, after I had posted my question!

Thanks again, Monique

ramat123 2010 February 27

Hi Ross,

I am thiking of trying the recipe (which I have tried many times before) with a while starter.


Can you reccomend a good white starter recipe - % of flours?


Thanks a lot,


rossnroller 2010 February 27

 Hi David.

The recipe quantities are calculated for a starter hydrated at 80%. So, a white starter would have 72gm of white flour and 58gm of water. Of course, if your starter is not ripe, you would build it up to 130gm in two or three builds, starting with a small amount of starter and approximately doubling it each feed (doesn't have to be very accurate - just make sure you end up with 130gm starter for this recipe, plus a bit more to keep).

ramat123 2010 February 28

Hi Ross,

Sorry to ask so many questions.

You've answered about the flours and I want to make sure that

  • 300 g Premium organic bakers' flour and 170 g All-purpose flour are both "white" flours. One organic and the other is not.


Thanks, David

rossnroller 2010 February 28

 Yep, both white, David.

Basically, 'organic' just means certified as grown without artificial fertilisers or insecticides/fungicides etc. Organic products are generally more flavoursome (although some would dispute this, I would not) because their development is natural, rather than hurried along artificially, and healthier for consumption because of the absence of toxic chemicals during their nurture and growth. So, you can have organic white flour or organic wholegrain.

Bakers' flour is higher protein and higher gluten than plain or AP flour, and gives a stronger structure to the crumb in bread. AP or plain flour tends to produce a softer crumb. Both have their roles to play IMO.


Kiint 2010 March 12

I didn't have enough bread flour and no AP flour at all left, so I have tried this with a relatively young starter (week old, but has a nice yeasty odour) and I have substituted semolina for the AP flour in the measurements.

It resulted in quite a gloopy dough, but I am hoping 24 hours retarding in the fridge will help this.

Anyway, I will see how it turns out tomorrow. 

rossnroller 2010 March 12


Semolina has different water-absorption properties from AP. Not sure how this formula will go using semolina in place of AP...I think the bread should turn out fine, though. The dough is fairly gloopy, as you say, and yes, you'll find it easier to work with cold during the pre-shaping, but it will have warmed by the time you get to shaping. Just keep your bench and hands floured - that will make the shaping easier. 

Funny, when I first encountered wet doughs, I made such a mess of them, getting sticky dough all over my hands and fingers (and everywhere else a lot of the time!) and having a hell of a time trying to shape the dough, get it on to the peel and into the oven without sticking etc...but in time, I just became used to it. Shiao-Ping remarked similarly a while back. Now, doughs like this one I find easy to work. I suppose it's sorta like paying your SD baking dues!



Kiint 2010 March 12

Thanks for that Rossnroller. Really my first time playing with Sourdough starters, I live in the tropics so they can be quite hard to manage, hopefully feeding it on and off with rye will overcome the failures I have had in the past keeping them healthy.

I plan on using a "recycle" method of keeping my starter going, basically take any bread recipe and add 100g of starter to it before adding any salt. Then after mixing but before adding salt, taking back out 100g of dough and giving it to the remainder of the starter, that way I always have 200g of starter on the go that is constantly replenished each time I bake. From my reading this is common practice for bakeries and ensures a well flavoured starter.

TONYK 2010 April 30




rossnroller 2010 April 30

Most of the breads I've baked have been from recipes contributed by other home bakers, so it's great to be able to give back to the community. Thanks for your feedback - and look forward to your pics next bake!


kvanderaa 2010 August 17

It is true that a lot of these forums tend to be so advanced in their subject that some of us (me) feel a little uncomfortable asking the  basic questions, I have just baked my first loaf of sourdough, it was a bit flat but I worked out that I did a few things wrong (oven temperature too low and not rising it long enough in the first place) but the tast was very good just the same

davidjdh 2010 September 12
Hi there, A question about the final rise on this recipe. You mention that the bread only proofs for 45minutes after shaping and removing from oven. Is this really long enough? Most of my sourdoughs go through roughly 2 10 hour rises; although I've yet to try the fridge thing. Does it really rise enough? Thanks for any clarification you can offer.
rossnroller 2010 September 12

Proofing times, both bulk and final, are always dependent on ambient temperature in your baking environment. I should have made it clear in my recipe that the proof times are not hard and fast. AND, you'll note that I posted the recipe in January, which is a stinking hot mid-summer month in Perth, where I live - so proof times are minimal!

As always, you need to adjust proof times to your own ambient temperature - and go by the dough, rather than timed duration of proof. The poke test is a simple and generally effective way to check that a final proof has run its course.

It's pretty cool here at the moment, and my average bulk proof - whatever bread I'm doing - is 5-6 hours, with 2 hours final proof followed by an overnight retardation in the fridge. I am baking straight out of the fridge most of the time these days...and the fridge retardation period is very flexible. If you can't bake next morning, it can wait until afternoon or early evening. The only difference in the bread will be that a sour tang may develop if you prolong the retarding period. I'm not big on sourness in bread, but when I say tang, I do mean tang. It's not very sour at all with this recipe.

A bonus is that you often get a 'singing' loaf when you bake straight out of the fridge, along with some crazing of the crust.

Hope that clarifies things.


Makkos 2011 July 16
I baked bread and roasted chickens and yams last night outdoors in about 32F conditions. It worked beautifully - this first serious outdoor baking adventure with snow on the ground. So I went str8 ahead and shovelled off a path to the oven after the snow last night,i was thinking I should keep it accessible. Now, after drying off, it's hot chicken soup and slices of whole grain sourdough. I didn't imagine I would be checking the weather in winter for baking as I would in the spring with a sailing adventure in mind. Markos unimestre unibes

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