Pain de Campagne

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I’ve been guilty. Guilty of baking and not posting. It’s a whole lot easier to post on Instagram and Facebook. Putting it here requires a lot, lot more time and I’m happy I’m finally here. This is easily one of my favourite sourdough recipes and it has never ever failed to deliver. It’s a high hydration dough and shaping high hydration loaves are aways a challenge. What has worked for me is getting comfortable with the stickiness of the dough. High hydration equals sticky dough and the less you fight it – the easier it gets. It’s like swimming – you can’t do it unless you get wet. So, shall we get comfortable being uncomfortable? 🙂
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Alaska Sourdough Bread

Alaskan MG SD3

Over a period of time, one gets comfortable with certain formulae – whether its with dealing with social situations or baking bread! 🙂 I’ve played with bread for a while now and I’ve gotten comfortable with the Tartine formula. Felt very sticky once upon a time. But, the more I’ve played, the easier it’s got. And then there’s the 1:2:3 formula – another delightful formula that’s less sticky and that’s given me consistent results. But, one thing I’ve always steered away from are the long, overnight, fermentation formulae. I’ve somehow associated long ferments with strong sour tones and no one at home is a fan of sour breads (me included). And I’ve always put off experimenting on these, partly because of my misplaced belief and partly because Ive always been able to make time for baking sourdough bread (about 7 – 8 hours from start to end, in small batches of time).  But all this changed when I came across Teresa Greenway’s Alaska Sourdough Bread. It’s one of the easiest formula’s I’ve played with and perhaps an easier recipe to start with than the Tartine. And let’s face it – its always awesome to have a freshly baked loaf of bread for breakfast!

Here are a few experiments (that’s just me – can’t help experimenting all the time) So, here goes:
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Fresh Coriander and Coconut Milk Bread

Maybe it’s in my genes. I’ve always had a weak spot for food cooked with anything related to coconuts. And I’ve been meaning to bake with coconut. So, instead of using water, I used coconut milk and to balance the heady, sweet aroma of coconut milk, I added some coarsely chopped, fresh coriander stalks. My favourite Tartine method, needs me around during the first 3 hours and that works on days that are free and I have often felt the need for another method that gives me more time to do more – and that’s how this method evolved. Mix. Knead. Leave it to ferment for 3 hours. Shape. Leave it to proof for 2 hours. Bake! A lot more time in between to do other stuff. 🙂

From some background reading that I did earlier, I figured that the coconut flavour tends to ‘evaporate’ after the bread is baked. So I used some thick coconut milk along with some coconut oil to ensure that the coconut flavour stays. So here it is – Fresh Coriander and Coconut Milk Sourdough Bread. This one was steam baked on terracotta tiles using a San Francisco culture. The coconut oil that I used in the dough ensured a crisp, soft crust and the fresh coriander stalks leant a crunch to the other-wise soft crumb. The bread smells like heaven on a plate. I did say that I had a weak spot for Coconut na? 🙂

Coconut Milk and Coriander SD 1

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Country Bread streaked with Date Pickle

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My first post since we moved into Goa 2 weeks ago. And I think the pace of the slow posts will slow down even further. 🙂

The last visit to Bombay was fruitful – a gift of 2 bottles of home made Gujarati Pickles, of which one was a sweet and sour and spicy date pickle that I enjoyed thoroughly. So, while baking my daily bread, I played and added some of the pickle just before I shaped the loaf. And I loved the occasional piquant bursts of flavour that complimented the complex notes of the naturally leavened bread. Here’s how you can recreate this simple bread:
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