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Sourdough Campagne Loaf with Rye

One of my favourite loaves with a subtle taste of rye, sour notes from the leaven and great texture from a long rise.

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Recipe makes one fairly large loaf or two smaller ones.

  • 125g sourdough leaven
  • 500g plain/bread flour *
  • 75g light rye flour
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 360ml water
  • 12g salt

* The loaf pictured here uses Shipton Mill French Bread Flour.


Note. This recipe produces a delicate dough that is initially quite wet and sticky. It will elasticise gradually over time so don't panic when you first mix it. If your dough really is much too wet (this depends on the how absorbent your flour is and how wet your leaven is) then sprinkle in some more flour, but ONLY AS MUCH AS IS NECESSARY TO ALLOW THE DOUGH TO COME LOOSELY TOGETHER. The resulting dough is quite delicate so if you want it to rise well you need to handle it carefully so don't pummel it like a boxing bag. Sourdough loaves take a long time to rise - you can't hurry it. This loaf will take the best part of a saturday to make but can also be made overnight ready to bake in the morning or left while you go to work and baked in the evening. It's worth every slow minute it takes... 

  1. Add the rye flour to the plain flour and stir in the salt
  2. Stir the water gently into the leaven till it's not lumpy
  3. Add leaven/water mix to flours along with half the olive oil and bring it together with your hands or a wooden spoon.
  4. When it has come together in a sticky mess, cover the bowl with a damp tea towell and leave it alone for 15 minutes
  5. After 15 minutes, spread 1tsp of the remaining olive oil on to a clean work surface and tip your dough on to it.
  6. Knead it lightly for 10-15 seconds. cover with the tea towel again and leave it for another 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes, lightly knead the dough again for 10-15 seonds. if the surface is sticky add a bit more olive oil so the dough turns over without sticking. By now the loaf should no longer be sticky. It should be very soft and beginning to stretch. The correct kneading technique for this loaf (or any sourdough loaf) is more to gently fold and stretch than to bash or squeeze.   
  8. Cover with the towel and leave now for an hour.
  9. After an hour repeat the kneading process and cover again for 2 hours.
  10. After 2 hours the dough should be risen quite well. Knead it again briefly and tip the dough into a rye basket if you have one. If you prefer (or don't have a basket) you can continue rising the loaf on the worktop or in a bowl. Leave it now for 3-4 hours depending on how risen it is.
  11. When the loaf has about doubled in size pre-heat the oven to 230C.
  12. Tip the dough onto a well floured surface and form into a shape. The loaf in the picture is round but you can make it any shape you like.
  13. Then tip the loaf gently onto a well-floured baking tray.
  14. Slash the dough with a razor balde or other very sharp knife to help it expand in the oven.
  15. Optional: set a roasting tin with some water in it in a low shelf in the oven. The steam can help the loaf rise and form a better crust.
  16. Gently slide the baking tray into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  17. After 20 minutes turn the heat down to 190C and continue baking for another 30 minutes.
  18. Check the loaf is cooked by tapping the bottom. It shold sound hollow. If not, put it back for another 5-10 minutes.
  19. If you like a thicker crust you can add another 10-15 minutes to the baking time. You can leave a loaf like this in the oven for up to an hour before it starts to spoil. 



Added by: John Kilroy

Tags: Bread Rye Sourdough Pain de Campagne

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Thank you

Thank you John for sharing this recipe. I have used it a number of times now and been very pleased with the results. It is a shame that I am unable to attach a picture otherwise I would have done.

Graham Atkins 16 November 2014

Rye sourdough recipe

The recipe says make into shape and put it in the oven. Does it not have to rise at the end after shaping and before baking?

Mrs Eleonora Knowland 04 October 2014

RE: Rye sourdough recipe

Hi Eleonora, The short answer is no :) Longer answer: Step 12 says 'tip the loaf gently onto a well-floured baking tray'. Gentle is the operative word here - just roll it out of the bowl as gently as you can to retain as much of the rise as possible. The loaf will deflate slightly when you tip it out but it will retain its core buoyancy even if it tears slightly (keeping the loaf in an oiled bowl or on an oiled surface as per the recipe will reduce or eliminate tearing). You can shape the loaf VERY GENTLY but only in a very minor way. One type of shaping I use with these loaves is simply to allow the dough to stretch as I tip it then very gently fold one half over the other creating a beautiful book-fold (actually more of a cornish pasty) shape that blooms brilliantly in the oven. Sourdough and other long-rise loaves are usually proved in baskets to provide the final loaf shape - however I usually leave mine in a bowl as I like the shape it produces - or fold it as described above. If you want your loaf in a certain shape (ie a loaf-tin or rye basket) then it's always best to conduct the final rise in a container that will provide it. You should not: beat, manhandle or knead a slow-rise loaf before it goes into the oven otherwise you will need to conduct the final rise all over again or suffer a dense unrisen product. A final reason to bake immediately is that Sourdough and other loaves with very soft doughs will just puddle if left too long on a baking tray under their own weight. In other words, they just sort of collapse and spread out over the tray. A loaf will never bloom impressively when this happens though you can get a decent ciabatta-type shape with a low rise (adjust the cooking time as thin loaves bake faster). I would probably advise re-rising a sourdough loaf that has puddled. Hope that helps... John.

John Kilroy 06 October 2014

I make my bread every day. i had no yeast today so decided it was time to make this.didnt follow mixing to the letter but its probably best bread ive made for years

v8rick 11 September 2014


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