This bread ended up being somewhat abused, but it still turned out very tasty and nice looking! I had planned out the day and while I had a meeting at school, that I was expecting to take quite a bit of time, things still ended up funky. My best estimate for when I would get home left the dough for this bread with about 2 to 3 hours left on the bulk ferment. As it turned out, I had to have my mom give the dough a quick stretch and fold for me and stick it in the fridge. But of course then things started moving fast, so it never should have gone in the fridge…
Why don’t we go back to the start… The recipe for Pain de Campagne in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice calls for a pate fermente, however, as I am wont to do, decided to make it as a sourdough (my first time making this recipe too, I always tell people not to do that). So I started the recipe out with a sourdough adaptation of the pate fermente, added some of my starter and subtracted an equivalent amount of water and flour from the recipe. I keep a stiff starter these days, I’ve found it easier to keep, work with, and get the flavor I want than a liquid starter like I used to have. Usually I put the starter in the water for the recipe and mix it fairly thoroughly to get a milky looking fluid with small bits of dough still in it.
Well, the next step is obviously to mix those ingredients together! I gave them a quick mix with my dough whisk, scraped the dough down into the bowl and left it to rest for 10-20 minutes. Not quite an autolyse since the dough has salt and wild yeast, but I find it still helps to make the dough more evenly hydrated and develop the gluten.
After the rest, time to turn it out and give it a quick kneading to make sure everything is well incorporated, and it was!
I forgot to take a picture of this step, shame on me, but I left the pate fermente to rise until about doubled, degassed it, and stuck it into the fridge to wait for making the final dough the next day. I purposely removed it from the fridge right before making the dough as I wanted the bulk ferment of the dough to proceed rather slowly. The recipe calls for bread flour, with a small portion of either whole wheat or rye, my starter already has some whole wheat flour in it so I decided to use rye flour in the final dough.
As with the pate fermente, I mixed the dough loosely and let it rest for a while to incorporate.
After kneading I wasn’t sure if the dough was going to get bigger than the container it was in or not, so I stuck that container without lid in another larger bowl.
Around that picture is where I left from school, and well, I wasn’t there for the stretch and fold so no pictures of that. And I was rushing too much for most of the rest of the baking process (I was also making prebaked pizza crusts for my dad), and sending good rise vibes to the dough. What helped a little bit was putting some hot water in the larger bowl the dough bucket was sitting in, sort of a little dough sauna.
Looking through the book, I opted for 3 different loaf shapes. Auvergnat, Tabatière, and Fougasse.
So, for dough that really got abused with the attempted retardation, then right back out of the fridge shortly thereafter, and baking after midnight when I needed to get up early, I was really happy with how this turned out! The flavor was really amazing, the second day after it was baked it was starting to get a bit more sour than what I generally prefer, but it was still really good.