Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shaping up

It's been a while since I posted anything for the BBA Challenge.  Wow, in fact, it's been three months since I wrote about the Light Wheat Bread.  Why?  Well, it's not because I haven't been baking bread.  It's because I got stuck.  Kind of like my friend Kayte did with the Focaccia.  The next bread up (alphabetically) is the Marbled Rye Bread, which this obviously is not. =)  For some reason, I just haven't been in the mood to make it.  I like rye bread, so that's not the problem.  One issue is that I can't find white rye flour here, so I'm going to have to try to sift my whole rye flour to lighten it, and I just don't feel like it.  And I prefer hearth breads over sandwich loaves.  So to get past my block, I'm cheating a bit.  I just skipped over that recipe and the next one (the multigrain sandwich bread) to get to something I would like.  I did make the Pain a l'Ancienne a while back with some of the other Slow and Steady Bakers.  It was okay, but I wasn't that excited by it, and actually neglected to take pictures of it.  So next up after that is Pain de Campagne.

This bread is a close cousin of the French Bread that I made earlier this year.  The difference is that Pain de Campagne has a bit of whole grain, rather than just white flour.  For mine, I used white whole wheat flour.  Like the French bread, this one starts the day before, with a firm preferment, pâte fermentée.  Since the next bread on the list (Pane Siciliano) also uses pâte fermentée, I made a double batch of it.  On day 2, I mixed up the dough.  To avoid the mess I had when mixing the French bread, I first mixed the preferment with the water, to soften it.  To that I added the yeast, flours and salt.  Once the dough is kneaded, it gets a 2-hour bulk fermentation.  My dough was quite active, and doubled in size in about an hour, so I gently deflated it and let it rise for another hour.  

As for the shaping, Pain de Campagne is often formed into interesting shapes, not just baguettes.  I only tried out one of them, an epi, which is shaped like a stalk of wheat.  First you form the dough into a baguette, then cut the dough as shown in this handy shaping document from Jeffrey Hamelman.  I used about a third of the dough for the epi, and baked it on a sheet pan so I didn't disturb the shape once I made it.  The rest of my dough was simply shaped into a bâtard.  I'm actually getting pretty good at shaping those, again thanks to Hamelman and the great shaping instructions in his book, Bread.  My loaves baked for about 25 minutes.

The verdict?  Not bad.  Tasty, but like the French bread, the bread is a little dry for my taste.  I need to work on my epi shaping--I think my main problem is that I used my kitchen shears, which are a bit too short to do the job right.  And my loaves didn't brown as well as I would have liked.  I did like the addition of the whole wheat flour.  I'll probably make this recipe again at some point, especially since I want to try some of the other shapes.  But for now, there are lots of other recipes to make!

Next up is Pane Siciliano.  And never fear, I will go back to the Marbled Rye Bread and Multigrain Extraordinaire at some point.  To see what the other BBA bakers have been up to, you can check out the blogroll.  And for updates on the Slow and Steady subgroup of bakers, watch Nancy's blog for round-ups.  


  1. mine did not brown well either, but loved the shaping.

    your epi looks fine to me. wasn't this one fun.

  2. The epi looks lovely!!!

  3. Your breads look so perfect, inside and out! Love the epi, am still practicing on that one to get it to look as good as yours and Nancy and Margaret's. I have a bit to go yet. We are going to make marbled rye together on Twitter one's the only way it will get done, I think! Until then, onward!

  4. I would be proud to make an epi that looked like yours! I'm glad you moved on past the marbled rye and made a loaf that you wanted to make. I was stuck on the marbled ry for a long time and I finally got over my fear of it looking crappy and just made it. Let me know if you want me to mail you some white rye!