Swiss Bread: Pain Paysan

With a name like “Pain Paysan” (a.k.a. “Peasant Bread”), you could imagine this bread baking in home kitchens for centuries throughout the Swiss countryside.


In reality, a professional school and a Swiss employment association developed Pain Paysan in the 1950s, according to Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse. Using a combination of white and rye flour, this new recipe also called for milk, as was a way to use up a surplus commodity.

Over half a century later, it’s clear the marketing strategy worked. You can still find Pain Paysan on grocery store shelves and boulangeries all over Switzerland. I bought a small loaf at our local market for about 2 CHF this week. It’s a good, everyday bread and recommended for sweet (chocolate) or savory (cold cuts and cheese) accompaniments .

My homemade and allergy-friendly version of Pain Paysan contains rice milk. It’s extremely easy to make and has few ingredients. We’ve been eating the bread with jam, and in particular, a delicious homemade “confiture de pruneaux” (plum jam) from a friend.



Bauernbrot / Pain Paysan / Pane del nonno or Pane Paesano

Adapted from the Swiss agricultural information center’s recipe.


375 grams white flour
125 grams rye flour
7 grams active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
200 ml rice milk
150 ml water

1. Whisk together dry ingredients: white and rye flours, yeast and salt. Combine and gently bring the water and rice milk to room temperature.

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir until a dough forms, and knead until its soft and airy. The dough should gently spring back when pressed. Cover and let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Shape the dough into a round loaf and sprinkle with flour. Using a sharp knife, make shallow slices across the top of the loaf to form a grid. Cover and let the dough rise again for about 15 minutes.

4. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes until the loaf is lightly browned. When tapped, the bottom of the bread should sound hollow.


This morning, I made little jam sandwiches with Pain Paysan for the boys’ breakfast. We were on an early train to Bern. It was a crisp and sunny morning in the Swiss capital city. Bon week-end, everyone!

2013-10-18 11.19.44


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