I’ve been working on a French bread recipe from King Arthur Baking Company for a type of sourdough bread called Pain de Compagne, which translates to “country bread”. This type of bread utilizes a long ferment period to develop complex flavors. I’ve been very happy with the flavor but have been working on improving the oven spring for an airy and open crumb. This is the best one yet but still room for improvement!

weighing bread dough ingredients Pain de Compagne French sourdough
Weighing the salt

One major improvement in my bread-making success was due to weighing all or most of the ingredients instead of relying on volume measurements. This mainly affects flour measurement as it is easily compacted using a scoop. If a scale is not available, then spoon the flour into the measuring volume, and level with a bench knife or similar straightedge.

Pain de Compagne French sourdough ingredients
Bread and whole wheat flours, starter, salt, and water.
Pain de Compagne French sourdough after mixing ingredients
After mixing, but before stretch & folds. Note shaggy appearance.
Pain de Compagne after room temperature proofing
Nice volume increase after 16 hour proofing. Normally 12 hours should suffice but kitchen temperature was low.
Pain de Compagne timing
I followed recipe timings for the most part on the left. On the right I lengthened the covered baking period, and shortened the uncovered period, plus used aluminum foil to cover the top. Somewhere in between would be optimum.
interior of pain de compagne boule 1
Here is the first boule sliced in half to show structure. Another inch or so rise in the center would have been better. The sides are nice and airy.
second boule pain de compagne sliced
A look at the second boule sliced in half. Similar to the first one.
pain de compagne sliced
Just before application of butter! Taste was great with a nice chewy texture.

Overall this batch of Pain de Compagne, aka French sourdough, or country bread, was an improvement over the previous one. For the next batch I am going to reduce the oven temp about 50 degrees F as the bottom was nearly burnt, and of course the top of the first boule was on the dark side.

Consider a stay with us at The Sidecar Inn to sample this and other baked goodies!