Friday, April 8, 2011

Country Bread-Tartine Bread Review

Even though I stopped eating gluten few months ago, I couldn't resist eating a fair amount of this bread, it is so good.

I have been a fan of San Francisco famous Tartine Bakery for a while, and if/when I get to open the bakery/café of my dreams (we are working on this, I promise), it will be highly influenced by their model. I will be selling this bread for sure.

I bought the book Tartine Bread on a whim, while waiting in line to pay for few items, after all I had to since I also own Tartine's other book, right? I had seen and heard about their new bread book, I really wanted to try making Chad Robertson's famous bread and see what else he had to offer. The introduction tells you the story of how he learned the art of making bread, about the roads he traveled to get to this particular bread, and it is quite fun to read. The instructions to make his bread are quite long, and could be intimidating, but if you have made bread before they are easily followed.

Can you resist this crust?

For detailed instructions, the recipe, and photos you can check Martha Stewart's site here. I made this bread twice, and it worked like a charm. The starter is super easy to get going (I made a starter before and the recipe was so fussy it was annoying), all you have to do is mix water, half bread flour, and half whole wheat, wait few days and you will have a great starter to work with. The trick to a mild wild starter flavor is to feed it the night before you plan on baking this bread so it won't be sour at all. If the starter is easy, the bread is a work of love though, you have to tend it for few hours, so plan accordingly. I avoided having to stay home all day by letting the bulk fermentation happen overnight, and it worked well since the temperature is still quite cold, in the summer it would be a different story. The second fermentation was done for a long time as well. I think my kitchen temperature never went past 65F this morning, so I was able to leave the house for few hours. Anyhow...once you try this recipe you can adjust the fermentation times to fit your schedule. If you want to speed things up, you can place the dough in a slightly warm oven to shorten the process.

My notes:

*I didn't bake the bread in a Dutch oven since I didn't want to invest in one, I steamed the oven well, and used a perforated pizza pan. The second time I used a pizza stone and it worked well for the small rounds but not for the big loaf, the shape was all warped.

*The bread is really slack due to its 75% hydration so it turns out really flat (that's why baking it in a Dutch oven would help, it allows the bread to rise in a very wet environment). The second time I made little rounds and they turned out pretty well, less flat.

*Because the bread is so slack you have to let it rise in a basket or a bowl otherwise you won't end up with a round shape. I guess the shape of a ciabatta would work too.

*I encourage you to bake the bread to a very dark, almost burnt crust, that is where a lot of the flavor is. The bread that was baked less did not have that interesting earthy flavor, and was a tad chewy.

The rest of the book was a little disappointing as it includes recipes of dishes they serve at their restaurant, I was hoping for more bread material, oh well. In general though, the book is great to have around, but if you don't have a budget for it, or if you don't care for the rest of the book, you can try the link above to find the complete instructions on how to make this bread.

Look at these holes!

I am sending this bread to Susan of Wild Yeast for her weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods, a.k.a. Yeastspotting.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, your bread is splendid! I also have that book and have to test their recipes...



Laura said...

Rosa, do you ever sleep? Try the bread and let me know what you think.

One Girl In The Kitchen said...

Laura, te lo ripeto, hai tutta la mia ammirazione per esserti cimentata con il famoso oane di Tartine, per me non ha rivali. E' da tanto che non lo mangio, perche' c'e' sempre una coda infinita, forse forse un giorno ci provero'. con calma. Oppure verro' ad assaggiare il tuo quando aprirai la tua bakery!
Per curiosita', che ricette hai provato dal libro dei dolci?

Laura said...

Sara, come ti ho scritto devi provarlo!

Dai dolci di Tartine ho fatto i Croissant, e le fiandre. Tutti e due mi hanno lasciato un po' delusa.

Il libro e' bellissimo ma difficile da usare per come e' rilegato.

lisaiscooking said...

I'm so jealous of those big holes! I don't seem to be getting holey, open structure in my breads lately, but I must keep trying. The crust looks delicious too!

Khadija El Mary said...

Lovely crust and those holes I like them!

doughadear said...

Your bread looks great! I purchased a copy of Tartine a while ago and have every intention of baking some of their breads very soon. I've heard rave reviews about this bread and now from your post as well.

I have a sourdough culture in the fridge and was wondering if I could use it.


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