Pain de Campagne

A classic white sourdough – this is the bread the food writers mean when they talk about sourdough. The photo shows a 2 kilo loaf. Notice the attractive effect created by a scattering of sesame seed in the proving basket and the strong but simple slashes which were made with a sharp, serrated  tomato knife, blade at 90 degrees to the crust.

Mix all the ingredients and knead using your normal method. If you’re new to baking check out the Sourdough pdf under the Library Menu.

Form into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover. Allow to ferment for about four hours stretching each hour for the first three hours. This is not essential but will improve the dough structure.

Alternatively ferment overnight in the fridge.

Prepare a proving basket. If you like, sprinkle the base with a little sesame or poppy seed for effect. Shape the dough and place it in the proving basket seam side up. Cover and leave for 3½-4 hours checking with the finger tip test after 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to about 210C.

Gently turn out the dough onto a baking sheet floured with wholemeal rye. Slash and bake for about 50 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.