Sometimes it's good to make bread for no other purpose than good, plain fun! A little creative play to indulge the senses. This bread won't be for lunch boxes, or toast either for that matter, but it did go well with our soup for dinner, and was very satisfying to pull apart! (I always wondered how one would actually eat a loaf shaped this way..).
The loaf is a Pain de Campagne (or 'country bread' in French), from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Bread flour mixed with a mixture of whole wheat and rye flour, with the addition of a sizeable pre-ferment - a starter dough made the day before.
Flicking through the delicious pages of this book, I had to try it. And I had to give this way of shaping a go..it intrigues me! The épis (or 'sheafs of wheat'), are shaped by proofing a bâtard and then using scissors to make cuts down the length and then positioning the cut dough out to the sides. This was my first attempt at this kind of shaping. Hmmm, not so bad, but maybe a little puffy in my eyes. I will try deeper cuts next time. More importantly, the taste. It was really, really good, with the slightest tang. I will use this recipe again, but will be doubling it as it wasn't enough!
The bread was perfect to serve up with soup and the girls (and the man), just loved ripping them off the loaf!