I’ve just finished reading Samuel Fromartz’s great little book In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Bakers Odyssey. I, like Fromartz did once, hope to one day make a great baguette at home. For now I’m happy to focus on rustic loaves. I don’t want to push my nascent bread-making skills too far.
This Pain de Champagne is perfect. I wanted to try working with something other than all-purpose or whole wheat flour and this loaf incorporates rye. I didn’t want to just bake it once and move on, so with encouragement from my bread-baking cousin, I’ve dedicated September to this one country loaf. I’ve made six boules so far.
Fromartz is clear up front that In Search of the Perfect Loaf is not a recipe book. And indeed, it is more of a memoir which frankly I enjoyed reading. But the recipe, which is categorized as “moderate” in terms of difficulty, was clear and easy for me to follow. Prep time is two days. I don’t have a baking stone so I just use my Dutch oven.
The rye flour gives this loaf a great flavor. The sourdough flavor is present also but not too much so. I really like it.