The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Julie McLeod's blog

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Julie McLeod

Another of the porridge breads from Tartine No. 3.  For this, the millet seeds for the dough are toasted and then cooked. Having absorbed all the water from cooking, they are added to the dough after the first couple stretch and folds (an hour into the bulk ferment).  Compared to the two oat porridge breads in the book (fermented and not), this one uses less of the "porridge" grains. I think it may have contributed to a lighter, airier loaf than the oat ones.  It was certainly easier to incorporate the millet into the dough than with the cooked oats; the millet cooks up more like rice than oats. The crumb is soft and moist.  I love the crunch of the seeds on the crust.  I think this will make a really nice sandwich bread.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

I've been making the basic Tartine Country Loaf (from the first book) for a little over a year.  I love the method and have been really happy with the loaves but my goal has always been to make a sour sourdough loaf, like I remember from a favorite bakery in California years ago.  Along the way, I've read lots of varying suggestions and have tweaked the maintenance routine for my homegrown starter and the timing/temperature for the proof but that sour loaf has eluded me so far.  This last bake, I increased the refrigerated proofing time from the 12-24 hours I had been doing to 39 hours.  Finally, I have the sour, the texture, and the look that I was trying to achieve.  :)

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Both these loaves are based on the basic formula and technique from Tartine Bread.  The formula for both:

500 grams unbleached white flour

375 grams water

100 grams leaven (100% hydration, white flour)

10 grams salt

The Fig & Fennel loaf has the addition of 12 grams of fennel which was soaked in boiling water for a few hours and the fragrant soaking water was used in the dough.  The fennel seeds and about a cup of roughly chopped dried figs were added after a one hour autolyse.  The Cherry & Chocolate loaf has 75 grams of dark chocolate chips and 100 grams of tart dried cherries, added after a one hour autolyse.  A portion of the water in the dough was an herbal cherry tea as suggested by member isand66 last time I posted a similar loaf (thanks!).  Both loaves were retarded in fridge for 16 hours or so and baked at 450 º for 20 minutes in a pre-heated covered dutch oven and then for 25 minutes uncovered.


I love the oven spring on the Cherry & Chocolate loaf (first picture) - it got quite a bit higher and rounder than the Fig & Fennel (second picture).  I haven't cut into either yet so can't show a crumb shot or tell you how they taste.


Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

I've been baking the Country Bread from Chad Robertson's Tartine book a lot over the last year.  I tweaked the formula and procedure a bit each time and learned a lot about working with sourdough all the while.  Last month, I received Tartine #3 as a gift and I'm ready to be challenged by the higher whole grain formulas.  The Spelt Wheat is my second bake from the book (the first was the Oatmeal Porridge Bread).  It uses spelt flour, white unbleached flour, whole wheat flour (I used Red Fife), and a bit of wheat germ.  Making this is a bit more involved than the Country Bread because it requires sifting the whole wheat flour and a portion of the spelt flour to yield high extraction flour but otherwise, the process is pretty similar. I did a two hour autolyse and then a four hour bulk ferment.  The resulting dough was wetter and stickier than I'm used to and it was quite hard to shape.  I had to add a lot of stretches and folds at the pre-shape stage in order to get a reasonably decent boule that could then be "rolled" in the spelt flakes.  After shaping and putting in bannetons, I retarded the loaves in the fridge for twelve hours.  In the morning, I baked them right out of the fridge without bringing to room temperature.  

The loaves hadn't risen in the fridge at all but the oven spring was still reasonable; I'd say they doubled in height in the oven.  The crumb isn't very open (probably because I had to manipulate a lot in the shaping stage?) but it is moist and very light. The flavor is really nicely balanced and delicious.  I'll be returning to this one often, I think.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

My first blog post here.  :)

This loaf is a modification of the Tartine bakery formula and method.  I wish I could figure out a way to prevent solids added to the dough from popping out after shaping.  The cherries on the surface charred a bit much but the rest of the bread is so nice that I can overlook that fault.  Lovely untoasted with butter.

Cherry and Chocolate Sourdough Boule 


100 g. leaven

375 g. water

500 g. unbleached organic white flour

10 g. sea salt

100 g. dried Montmorency cherries

50 g. dark chocolate, broken in pieces


Mix 100% hydration starter with equal amounts of water and flour to yield enough for 100 g. of leaven plus extra if needed to store (i.e. 40 g. starter, 40 g. water, 40 g. flour).  Allow to rise to peak.  Mix 100 g. leaven with 350 g. water, add flour, and mix with hands.  Autolyse for 45 minutes.  Add remaining 25 g. water and salt.  Mix with hands.  Fold in chocolate and cherries.  Do stretch and folds in bowl every 30 minutes for 2 1/2 hours.  Pre-shape and rest for 20 minutes.  Shape and put in floured banetton.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pre-heat dutch oven at 550F.  Place boule in dutch oven and slash.  Reduce oven temperature to 450F and bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 25 minutes.

 Crumb shot:



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