“Pain” in French has nothing to do with “pain” in English, but this bread gave me plenty of pain. Let’s start with the good news: the crumb.

I’d be embarrassed to meet Peter Reinhart after BBA#22. I managed to mangle the “epis” shape. In my defense, I couldn’t resist the challenge of shaping it, as one of our favorite boulangeries in Paris is called “Pain d’Epis“. I’ve now developed an increased sense of respect for their wonderfully shaped breads, baked to perfection, day in and day out.

Back to the recipe. It calls for pate fermentee, made the day before and refrigerated overnight. In the morning add all the other ingredients (I used rye flour as the whole wheat component), and complete the recipe. I folded the dough (3 times) instead of kneading.

To make the “epis” shape, first form a baguette-type loaf …
then make scissor-cuts in opposite directions.

After one more hour of rising, into the oven it goes….

Well, well, well … hmmmm, something went wrong. I guess the cuts should be more parallel to the surface, and deeper. When properly cut, the lobes of dough can be moved further apart, because if not the dough will rise and join the “epis” together again.

I lost the battle, but not the war, because the bread was very tasty, with a good crumb, nice crust,  not as as hard as a sourdough’s crust, just right… I want to perfect this shaping of the epis, though, and if anyone has advice, ideas or suggestions, I’m all ears!

Twenty-two breads down, twenty-one to go!

Check some of the “pain de campagne” made by my fellow bakers (maybe they can give me some lessons!):

Carolyn, from Two Skinny Jenkins

Joelen, from “What’s Cookin’ Chicago?”

Oggi, from “I Can Do That” (and evidently she can do a fantastic job!)

Mags, from “The Other Side of Fifty

Paul, from “Yumarama Artisan Bread

Txfarmer from (very nice step by step photos)

12 thoughts on “BBA#22: PAIN DE CAMPAGNE

  1. Hi!

    Hey.. at least your bread came out golden brown and DELICIOUS looking.. that’s way more than I would accomplish, believe me. 😀

    I’m so happy you decided to start writing a blog! I wish you many years of enjoyment with it! I look forward to seeing what else comes out of your kitchen. 🙂

    Hugs, Sally!


  2. Try cutting the epis from the top at about a 45° angle and turn it to the side before doing the next cut. At almost the end of the video that Gary posted on CT the baker demonstrates this beautifully. I think even I could do it after watching him.


  3. It’s so artistically free-form! I actually love the way yours turned out, although I get that you had envisioned something else. I’m making this one this week, and I’m a little nervous after the last one. Just hope I can get anything close to your gorgeous golden-brown color. 🙂


    • You are beyond kind! Loved the “artistically free form”! I guess I’ll be using this line next time a bread does not cooperate…. 🙂

      as to the golden brown, I always bake my breads underneath an inverted large metal roaster (you know, those cheap pans that are sold for camping?) – I fill it with hot water, then dump the water out and invert it over the bread. After 3/4 of the way I remove it. It is amazing the difference it makes, I don’t even bother with steam pans or spraying the walls of the oven, this trick, which I learned at “The fresh loaf” website, works like a charm.

      Drop me an email if you need more clarification about it…


  4. Pingback: COTTAGE LOAF and YEASTY DOGS « Bewitching Kitchen

  5. Pingback: Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Pain de Campagne — Pinch My Salt

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