Pain de Campagne Honfleur (Honfleur Country Bread)

Last week I ventured to the cooking section of my library and  checked out my favorite bread book, Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Bread Book. This must be the third time I’ve borrowed this book, and I really should buy a copy. In fact, Julia might have just bought me a copy, because as we were reading it together, she suddenly ripped out the page on which this recipe appears (that would be page 214).  The ripped out page has functioned as a nice bookmark, but I am not too pleased with this two year old’s lack of respect for this book.  Could it be that she was bored by the nearly 700 pages of mostly picture-less recipes? I suppose she prefers to see Elmo on all of her books.  Anyway, I think my dreams of owning this book may soon come true, thanks to my public library and Julia.

Here’s the starter right after I mixed it.

This is the first bread I’ve ever made that requires a starter. I have avoided making bread with starters before because I usually need the bread that day, so I don’t have hours to wait for the starter to do its thing.  We still had some bread in the house, so I decided to experiment and use this recipe with a starter.  Using the starter added a complex tang to the bread that I’ve never achieved in my prior breads.

This is what the starter looked like a day later. Kind of a soupy mix.

Doctor Frankenstein’s horrified moaning, IT’s ALIVE!  kept coming into my head every time I checked on the progress of the starter, and then later on the rising dough.  The yeast had a longer chance to develop and do its yeasty thing, so the smell of beer permeated this pregnant woman’s kitchen.

Once I mixed in the flour and the rest of the ingredients into the starter, I was amazed to be able to actually  watch the dough rise.

Here is the fully risen dough, two hours after adding the rest of the ingredients to the starter.

I decided to create a wheat stalk braid for the loaf, but I think it looks kind of odd.  I probably should have researched what these wheat stalk braids actually look like because it ended up looking like a braid going across a round loaf of bread for no good reason.  It was exciting to braid bread, though. I’ve never tried that before!

Divide one cup of reserved dough into three pieces.

Braid it together! I was supposed to braid everything but the last few inches and cut those pieces into wheat stalk shapes, so I undid part of it.

The four pound hearth loaf turned out tangy and delightful sliced up for sandwiches. I cut the large loaf in half, and used one half for lunches last week, and the other half for lunches this week.  Thank goodness for freezers!

By the way, this is your last chance to enter my jewelry giveaway.  Just click on over to that post and sign up.  You need to do it before midnight central time today, May 2nd!  

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8 Responses to Pain de Campagne Honfleur (Honfleur Country Bread)

  1. What a fantastic looking loaf! Love the braid in the middle.

  2. Kim Van Rheenen says:

    You might enjoy 52 Loaves by William Alexander.

  3. betsy says:

    I’ve been wanting to bake more bread. This looks like a wonderful loaf. I like the braid. It doesn’t look silly at all.

    • Thanks! This is definitely a good book to try out if you can find a copy of it. Let me know if you want me to type up the recipe. I didn’t do it for this post because I didn’t know if anyone would find it useful, and I probably won’t bake it again.

  4. Joni Bratney says:

    Nice looking bread and the braid is distinctive not silly looking!! Did you bake the bread on a stone?

    • Thanks! I just used a cookie sheet, but I bet a stone would have made a crustier crust. I couldn’t believe how much it rose. It barely fit on the cookie sheet!

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