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Pain de Campagne

There are some beautiful tomatoes coming out at the moment in this part of the world in all their reds, yellows and purples, and, we hope, all sorts of gnarly shapes. This is a super-simple little sharing starter for lunch or a main supper event to make the best of them, to treat them to the things they love and to elevate the humble bruschetta or the Catalan tomato bread of which my family and I are so very fond. The fresh oregano in the pain de campagne base, fresh, best olive oil, infused with a little garlic and herby seasoning, the texture of seasonal rainbow chard; all sounds the season like birdsong. You will end up with a lovely little, teary-sharey loaf in addition too. There is some proving time for the bread but very little prep required. Gather your darling buds, break bread, and enjoy.

Ayurvedic Note
I love tomatoes, but I am aware that raw tomatoes are not on the FAVOUR list for any dosha types (for a full and comprehensive list of ideal foods for each dosha, consult The Body Balance Plan book). So, we make the exception in that we use them only when at their sweetest, ripest and most inarguably in season. When they’re not, they have quite an acidic pH (around 4), but when they are perfectly ripe their pH is closer to 5.5… while they’re not the staple part of any good, honest, true Ayurvedic diet, tomatoes should still have their place, and their goodness can be enjoyed for the few weeks of the year when they are at their sweetest and best.

Ingredients

For the pain de campagne:
380g plain flour / white spelt flour
90g rye flour
1 tbsp active yeast
60g organic butter
1 handful of fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp of sea salt

For the topping:
7 / 8 small, ripe, local tomatoes, cubed
A couple of rainbow chard leaves, finely sliced
1 garlic clove finely sliced
1 sprig of fresh oregano
6/7 fresh leaves and stalks of flat leaf parsley
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Organic, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
Half a lime

Method

  • 1 For the bread, give your yeast a little warm water in a small bowl and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to get frothing
  • 2 In the meantime, combine your flours in a mixing bowl, add your salt and softened butter. Press the butter into the flour with your fingertips and tease it through until you have a texture like breadcrumbs
  • 3 Add your yeasty water and enough warm water to bring together into a dough. Tip out onto a board floured with the rye flour and knead until your dough cleans the board and springs back from the press of a thumb (about 6 or 7 minutes). Add flour if sticking. Form into a ball, return to your bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for 2 hours if using plain wheat flour or 1 ½ if using spelt
  • 4 Preheat your oven to gas mark 7 for the last half hour, with a pizza stone or greased baking tray in there
  • 5 Press the air out of your risen dough and cut in half. For the bruschetta base press one half of your dough out on the hot stone or tray into a rough circle about 1 cm thick with your fingers (fingerprints are good, little hollows for your olive oil). Bake in the preheated oven for about 14 minutes, or until the base sounds hollow to a tap. Remove to a wire rack
  • 6 Form your remaining dough into a ball on your floured board. Slash a cross into the top with a very sharp knife and dust with rye flour. Place on your stone or tray and bake in the oven on the same heat for 25 minutes or so, until you have the same hollow sounding base, while you top your bruschetta
  • 7 For the topping: Using a pestle and mortar, muddle up your oregano, parsley, garlic and olive oil and set aside to infuse and combine. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar simple stir and squash in a bowl with the back of a spoon
  • 8 On a chopping board combine the cubed tomatoes and chard and dress with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and the juice of half a lime. Spoon onto your pain de campagne base and drizzle your bruschetta with your herby, garlicky oil, allowing it to permeate the bread and collect in all those finger hollows. Serve with the base still warm and a slice or two of your fresh, warm loaf for mopping