Pain de Campagne (French Country loaf)

This has become my “go to” bread recipe recently. The first few loaves did not come out well. I let the bread rise for the amount of time the recipes suggested, but didn’t really pay much attention to the temperature in the kitchen. As a results, the bread never rose enough. Once I started letting the dough rise for a longer period, the results were much improved. This improvement came as an accident (we went to a friend’s house and stayed longer than expected), but has now become a regular part of the 36 hour cycle of making this bread. Yes, 36 hours is a long time to make a loaf of bread, but very little of that time are you actually doing anything.

Bring starter out of refrigerator and make levain by adding:
135g Flour
175g Water

Let stand for 8-12 hours. Then mix:

250g water (room temp or slightly warmer)
440g Bread flour
30g Whole wheat flour
30g Rye flour

Let stand 20 minute to hydrate the flour. Then add:

310g Levain (sour dough starter)
2g Yeast (optional; not needed but speeds up the process)
10g salt

Knead for about 10 minutes. Let stand until it double in size (between
3 and 12 hours depending on room temp). Divide and form 2 or 3 loaves.
Let rise until it grows to about 1.5 to 2 times it’s size (1-8 hours).
Dock tops of loaves with a razor or other sharp knife. Bake at 450 F
for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 400 and bake for another 15-ish
minutes. When putting the loaves in the oven, throw 1/2-1 cup of ice
into the bottom of the oven (preferably into cast iron fry pan or
skillet)

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