Pain Compagnon Au Levain

The French word compagnon is from the Latin cum panis, to signify the person with whom we share bread. We are sharing our bread today with Karl-Peter’s parents Ralph and Marilyn, who arrived at four this morning, having driven straight through the mountains to Minnesota from Seattle for spring break. Such a blessing to have reached the stage in life when parents are among the dearest and most beloved of companions.Image

Pain Compagnon Au Levain

Adapted from the Village Baker

Compagnon starter (Levain)

¾ cup warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

Combine and let rise in a warm place for 8-10 hours. Punch down, shape into a round, and continue to let rise in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours (cold fermentation, to develop flavor!)


1 tsp active dry yeast

1 ½ cups water

2 cups compagnon starter (see above)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ tsp salt

Egg white glaze (mix egg white with a tablespoon of water)

Proof the yeast and break up the compagnon starter into a large bowl and add water (hot from the tap). Mix until starter has dissolved into yeast, start adding flour, handful by handful, stirring gently and then vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add salt toward the end of the flour additions, and knead on a work surface for 4 or 5 minutes.

Let dough rise covered for one hour. Punch it down and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. Divide dough in half, square the edges and fold into a tight log—I made two batard loaves—found another good video that demonstrates shaping (from a kneading conference, what fun!) To clarify, a batard is something in between a boule (a round) and a baguette. As they say, “Not a boule, not a baguette, a batard” (which means bastard in French). Image

Glaze with egg white whisked into water, slash a couple of times, preheat the oven to 450 and bake at that temperature for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 400 and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes longer.


Very snazzy loaves. This is some spring. The ground outside remains coated with frost until well into the afternoon. Izzy seems still to be hibernating, adding the treats proffered by her grandparents to her thick winter coat. Marilyn is currently practicing taking Izzy for a walk, as she will be our dogsitter in June for a week. From personal experience I can say, walking Izzy is what I imagine it would be like to “walk” an excited ox.Image

Mother-in-law of the Year.

5 thoughts on “Pain Compagnon Au Levain

    1. Marilyn can’t help giving Izzy little snacks here and there– Izzy follows her around now like she is her new best friend.

  1. LOL at the analogy of walking Izzy to walking “an excited ox” 🙂 Enjoy your time with adventurous road-tripping in-laws to the fullest!

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