One of the biggest deterrents to making sourdough bread is nailing the timing. First, there’s the question of your starter. Has it been fed recently enough? Will it be ripe in time for baking? And then there’s the dough itself. Will you be available to divide, shape, and bake it when the recipe indicates? Do you need to quit your job in order to tend to your sourdough?
The answer to that last question is, happily, no — there's a better solution, and a delicious one: this killer recipe for Pain de Campagne (Country Bread).
Here’s what makes it great: It can be made with unfed sourdough discard directly from your fridge. No need to prep eight hours before to have an active, ripe starter for mixing. It’s mostly hands-off — the dough is developed with folds, rather than kneading, then goes straight into a long bulk fermentation that’s flexible enough to fit your schedule. (Those folds also make this higher hydration dough easy to handle.) Once shaped, it undergoes another long rise, anywhere from 8 to 12 hours — whatever fits your schedule, not the bread’s. The final loaf (which gets baked in a Dutch oven for bakery-worthy crust) has an open crumb, glossy interior, and gorgeous height.
Is this the bread you need in your life? Probably. The only bad thing about it is that it might ruin every other bread recipe for you.
Watch our own Martin make Pain de Campagne below, and see what you’re missing:
Cover photo by Martin Philip.