Monday, 27 May 2013

'Levain de campagne' bread - a random recipe

This months random recipe challenge from Dom at Belleau Kitchen is all about bread and I just had to join in as I have been trying very hard to improve my bread making and if you follow this blog you will have seen some of my recent efforts.

The challenge this month is to choose a recipe from a book with breads in it...I only have two books and so it was in a bit of a 'dip dish blue sash...' fashion that I chose 'How to make bread' by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. I bought this book fairly recently as it was recommended to me by Vivien Lloyd, not only an expert in preserves but a keen and skilled bread maker...I know I have eaten her amazing home made breads!

A quick flick through the book and I opened a page at this recipe for 'Levain de campagne', this is described as a French country sourdough loaf. There are several sourdough recipes in this book as one of the chapters is completely given over to sourdough breads; this covers white sourdough, wholegrain sourdough, grissini, polenta sourdough, tomato, beetroot, spiced cheese and herb, potato, fig, walnut and anise sourdoughs, hazelnut and currant, chocolate and currant, caraway rye sourdoughs. Every loaf looks outstanding!

Luckily I had some sourdough starter on the go, I have been nurturing the thing for weeks now and have attempted a couple of recipes using it but with varying success. My sourdough starter was made using rye flour this recipe called for a white starter but I took the risk.

This was definitely the best sourdough loaf I have made so far. The flavour was amazing and it had a lovely sweetened taste from the addition of the rye flour in the recipe. I am not sure the texture of my loaf is as light and airy as it should be, though it did look just like the finished loaf in the book.

I would certainly make this loaf again and I would recommend this book, not only for the lovely recipes and great bread making instructions but for inspiration alone it ticks all the boxes. The kneading techniques for this recipe are really easy as long as you are staying in the vicinity of your dough. I haven't described what these are as I think you should buy the book for that, trust me you won't regret it if you love good bread.

250g strong white flour
100g wholemeal flour
50g dark rye flour
1 tsp salt
150g white sourdough starter (I used rye)
300g warm water
1. You make this bread by mixing all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the starter and warm water in another.
2. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together - this mix will be very wet and sticky. Leave the mix to rest for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes follow the kneading instructions in the book (p 95 for this recipe). After this kneading let the dough rise for an hour, shape the loaf and put in a flour dusted proving basket to rise.
4. This is a loaf that needs a bit of time to make and proving can take up to 6 hours, depending on how lively your starter is. (you can be getting on with other things while this is going on)
5. When the dough is proven bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C fan for 30 minutes.

Don't forget to check out the round up on Dom's blog its always a cracking and inspirational read...


  1. Good Afternoon Susan, I am showing my ignorance now, as I have never used a sourdough starter and actually I'm not sure what it is. I am assuming it is yeast, which you keep for a period of time. I will have to look this up.
    I love bread making, as I find it so therapeutic. I shall take a look at the "How to Make Bread" book. I think I shall take a trip into Waterstones and have a little look before I buy it.
    There really is nothing like homemade bread permeating the house.
    Best Wishes to you,

    1. Hi,
      You make a sourdough starter with flour and water, you keep adding to it with more flour and water (called 'feeding' the starter), there are various methods around showing bakers to make one. Worth it if you like sourdough bread - this has a different taste to bread made with conventional yeasts.

  2. i'm seriously impressed by the effort that people have gone to for this months random recipes... your sourdough looks incredible... bread is just so wonderfully satisfying to make isn't it? And whilst it's so simple it's also so wildly varied too... I wish I could take a bit out of your beautiful loaf... thanks for the entry and thanks for the kind words in your email... back home and on the mend! xx

    1. Thanks so pleased to hear you are getting better. x

  3. oh that does look good. Very authentic looking and I'd go for flavour over texture every time.

  4. That's a lovely looking loaf. I too have had mixed success with sourdough and for the moment am baking yeasted breads as they suit my timeframe better. I've heard good things about that book though (mustn't buy another baking book....) so it's great to see that the recipe worked well for you.

  5. Looks like a lovely loaf and sound like a great book too. I keep telling myself that I should start making my own bread but have not gotten round to it yet!

  6. How good does this look! What a great colour - I can just imagine a nice warm slice of this dripping with butter. Yum Yum

  7. That is fantastic looking bread. My sourdough starter died a couple of months ago (a long story_ and I keep meaning to get another one going. This is the push I need!


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x