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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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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Overnight White Forkish Bread

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The first experiment with the Dutch Oven was simply awesome and the next experiment with the Forkish recipes was the Overnight bread – a crusty, full-flavour, bread that has a richer flavour thanks to the overnight rise. I’m way behind my posts and it’s now getting embarrassing to tell people that they will have to wait to get the recipes. So I’m going to skip all the story-telling and dive into the recipe-telling. Here goes:
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Saturday White Forkish Bread

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I’ve been drooling looking at all the crusty airy loaves on Artisan Bread forums and wondering when will I ever be able to get there. It’s been 8 months since I started baking and I must have baked over 100+ different loaves and most of them have made baking easy thanks to the butter / olive oil or the milk / eggs that have gone in. While the no-knead breads have built my confidence, I knew I was missing something. And, thanks to the Artisan Bread Bakers group on facebook, I learn’t a term – Forkish bread – essentially recipes from Ken Forkish. And I learn’t that his recipes need a pre-heated Dutch Oven. So, I invested in one and it landed home on a Friday. And as if the Universe was conspiring to help me bake one of Forkish’s breads I noticed one of his beginning recipes was a Saturday bread. This was a recipe that you start with a little early in the morning and have ready by lunch time. Was delightful. Here it is:
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No-knead Whole Wheat Loaf – Hundred Percent WW

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Every now and then, when the ‘bread’ of my labor has been gratifying, I’ve been seduced into believing that I’m ready for whole wheat loaves. And every time, I’ve ventured into the 100% WW space, I’ve had the carpet pulled from under my feet and have rushed back into the APF space – a space that’s a whole lot more forgiving. The success from the slow ferment, no-knead loaves made me feel confident and I knew deep down – my time had arrived. It was time to spread my wings and fly. And while there were some trying minutes that diverted my attention and led to the dough over-proofing, I was very happy with the result. Here’s what you’ll need to do if you want to make this at your end:
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No-knead Light Whole Wheat Loaf

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So, the last 2 experiments on wet and sticky, No-knead dough yielded results that were surprisingly good. And I’ve been wanting to venture into the whole wheat space for a while now. So, this recipe from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day sounded like the perfect place to start. In all my previous experiments, I’ve resorted to an overnight refrigeration of the dough. This time around, I just couldn’t wait that long. So, after the initial ferment of 2 hours at room temperatue, all I managed was 4 hours of refrigeration. Am sure if it sat in the fridge overnight, the flavor would have been a lot better. If you find parts of this recipe exactly like the earlier No-knead recipes, don’t be – it’s the same process with slightly different ingredients. 🙂
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