The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Country Bread -same dough- two different baking methods

  • Pin It
Franko's picture
Franko

Tartine Country Bread -same dough- two different baking methods

 



 


Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread book has been getting a lot of attention on this forum of late so I decided to order a copy and see what it was all about. Mr Robertson's description of his journey to create the bread he had in his mind is a fascinating read and speaks to the dedication he has for his craft. While the book doesn't get into the same level of technical detail as Hamelman's 'Bread', it doesn't suffer for lack of clear and precise instruction, making it accessible to anyone interested in producing fine hand crafted breads, croissants, and brioche. Included is a chapter on various ways to use day old bread, which in itself is worth buying the book for, and one of the best collection of recipes I've seen for quite some time. Eric Wolfinger's excellent photography is found throughout the pages and adds significantly to the overall high quality of this book.


 


Chapter 1-Basic Country Bread describes in detail Mr Robertson's foundation formula and procedure for making the bread upon which all his other breads are based. Out of respect for copyright I wont share the formula here , but as Mr Robertson says, it is a simple process , and the formula is that of a basic levain style dough. It seems that this past weekend a few other TFL'rs decided to make this bread as well, notably David Snyder, who had wonderful results using Chad Robertson's technique of baking the bread in a dutch oven. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20473/basic-country-bread-quottartine-breadquot-baked-dutch-ovens


Never having used a pot for baking a loaf, I was intrigued by the photos in the book of the dark bold bake that this method can achieve, but as the recipe makes two loaves I decided to bake one in the pot and the other on the stone using Sylvia's method of steaming that's been so successful for her and other TFL members. I made the dough up by hand giving it a 45 minute autolyse and then a 3hr bulk ferment following the guidelines in the book for folding in the bowl, a technique I appreciate because of it's easy cleanup. The dough was divided into 955 gram portions, lightly rounded and rested for 20 minutes before final molding, then placed in floured bannetons for an overnight rise in the refrigerator. I would have liked to have done it all in one day but it was a 'work night' so my time was limited. After 19hrs of final cold rise the first loaf was slashed and placed in the lid of the dutch oven with a round of parchment beneath it, and the pot was placed on top of that. I thought this way would be easier than lowering the loaf into the pot with a lot of extra and unnecessary parchment paper. The oven and pot had been preheated to 500F for a good 40 minutes before the bake began, then turned down to 450F for the remainder of the 45 minute bake.


After 20 minutes the pot was lifted very carefully off the loaf and the loaf continued it's bake, finishing the crust and taking on a rich brown colour.




When the first loaf began it's bake I took the second one out of the fridge and let it warm up on top of the oven, so that by the time the first was out and my stone had heated for the second bake it was ready to go. Into the oven it went with Sylvia's towel steaming method in place and the vent blocked. I gave it as much steam as I possibly could during the first 10 minutes, spritzing regularly in 3-4 minute intervals. It didn't result in quite the jump that #1 had but it did bloom nicely along the slashes creating the type of pattern I've been trying to get on some previous bakes of other levain style breads.



Even with an 8 minute longer bake than #1 it just didn't take on the same kind of caramelization as the pot baked loaf. Still, I was happy with both results and I think both methods have their place depending on what your preferences are for a particular type of loaf. I'm not sure I'd use the pot with anything other than a very lean formula, as I think you might just get a little more colour than you were bargaining for, but for the Tartine basic Country Bread, and similar lean levain style breads it's a method I'll continue using.


Recently my wife Marie hinted that I might be getting a new mixer under the tree this year for Christmas since my KA is getting pretty long in the tooth, so to speak. Now I love new toys as much or even more than next person, so she was a little shocked when I told her that I've decided to start mixing bread by hand as often as possible from now on. It just makes sense to me that the breads that many of us are trying to emulate, are breads that have been around since long before the electric mixer appeared on the scene. I realize it's possible to mix these 'craft/artisan' breads with a mixer by controlling speed and mixing time, but for home baking it's become apparent to me that it's much more practical, and in most ways more satisfying to use the two best mixers I came equipped with. If I had any doubts about making this change they were put to rest when I cut into loaf #1.




 


This is the type of crumb that I want for my wheat based levain breads.... not exactly, but closer than I've come previously, which I think is due largely to the fact that this dough was worked even less intensively than I would normally do by hand. Why it took me so long to connect the dots that have been staring me in the face all this time, I believe is due to having been trained on mixers, and having used them throughout my professional career for bread mixing. Just goes to show that in baking, the learning never stops if you keep an open mind to the new ideas.. as well as the ancient tried and true methods of bread production.


 


Best Wishes,


Franko


 


 

Comments

varda's picture
varda

Hi, I meant to comment on your earlier post about your scoring.   Is there any chance you could explain how you get such beautiful results?    Of course, the inside of your bread looks fabulous as well.  -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Varda,


I'm glad you like this pattern as it's been a work in progress for a while now. The best way I can show you is by using a pic of a protractor to indicate the angle ...or as close as I can approximate to how I make the slashes.


 



If you were to lay the protractor horizontal with the loaf, the cuts would be in the 10 to 20 degree angle on both sides, curving towards the center line of 90 degrees. I'm not sure if I've described this adequatelyy to you, but it's the best I can do, since I do it from a mental image.


Thanks Varda, for your interest and your kind comments.


Cheers,


Franko

varda's picture
varda

Franko, I thought maybe you were using some sort of stencil, but I see it's simpler than that.   It's so striking and unique. -Varda

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Gorgeous, Franko, especially that crumb.


Of late I've gone back to mixing by hand.  Getting our hands so goopy connects us to our inner child....  ;-)

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Lindy,


Your comments are always appreciated. Thanks so much!


Marie might argue that my inner child is a little closer to the surface than she might prefer sometimes, but yes, there's much to be said about using the two best tools we own for producing real food for ourselves and family .


Best Wishes,


Franko

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Franko, those are beautiful.  That's the sort of crumb I'm going for.


I have only been baking for a few months.  The first several weeks, I thought I'd get a stand mixer as soon as I was sure that I had the baking bug.  Well, now I'm sure I have the bug, but I'm not sure I need a mixer.  I love the tactile feedback from the dough, and with a large batch of stiff dough, it's pretty good upper body exercise.  Hand-mixing feels like a connection to the ancients.


Now, if I had a wood fired oven, I could really experience the ancient art.


Glenn

Franko's picture
Franko

Glenn,


Don't give up the idea of getting a mixer if you intend to eventually expand into making cake batters, pate choux, or meringues (which I hope you will), unless you want a serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome. For this side of baking, a mixer is invaluable for it's mechanical efficiency in leavening eggs and shortening.


For bread however, I'm discovering that it's a classic case of 'less is more' in terms of mixing input to final product as far as rustic/craft/artisan loaves go.  You seem to  already have a keen sense of this, judging by some of your recent posts, so I think going for a real deal mixer intended primarily for bread mixing at this point might be a step backwards if you just want to mix a loaf or two at a time. Learning the proper tactile 'feel' of bread dough is what mixing is all about, so mixing by hand will naturally lead you to understanding the 'feel' as the dough develops, sooner than by relying on mechanical means. 


Thanks very much Glenn for your comments on the loaves, they are much appreciated.


All the best,


Franko

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Both are beautiful. The gelatinized crumb is just gorgeous. You got incredible bloom on the bread baked in the covered pot. I love your scoring on the other.


Nice stuff.


David

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks David!


I think we both did Mr Robertson's Basic Country Bread justice this time around.


Franko

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Franko, your loaves are both stunning. And the crumb! PERFECT!
Pardon the caps but I'm so impressed.
Your writeup about the book is also very good.
Very lovely bake - from breadsong


 

Franko's picture
Franko

Thank you Breadsong!


It's funny where one finds turning points or stepping stones. Chad Robertson's 'Tartine Bread' seems to have been the one for me as far as hand mixing being the best method for achieving the elusive tranlucent crumb.  It honestly suprises me, since I just used a generic white flour , rather than the high end organic type that I would normally use. Who knew?


Really appreciate your compliments!


Thanks again,


Franko

MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

These look great, Franko.


You guys did a lot of flavour to Mr Robertson and made him proud.


These bread looks so enticing...made me feel like biting my teeth into it! Absolutely gorgeous.


I sure will buy Chad Robertson's Tartine book after I come back from my holiday (hope I can resist my temptation until then..umm).


Something to look forwards to for xmas for you too:) ... or is this post a hint to your wife?


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com/


 

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Sue!


Mr Robertson has written a very good book and deserves a lot credit for passing on his hard earned knowledge and expertise through his book Tartine Bread. I'm happy I bought the book if only for that one Basic Country Bread formula and procedure, it was worth the entire price.


Franko

ww's picture
ww

I was thinking of carrying out an experiment comparing the pot method vs Sylvia's towel method this/ next weekend. And since the Tartine bread is the book du jour, using the basic country bread recipe. But i have no doubt taht you have done much much more justice to both book and sylvia than i would have been capable of.


I love that creamy crumb, it is indeed what makes me very happy in breads!

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks so much ww for the compliments . Like you, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to try, not realizing how much I would come to appreciate the value of hand mixing in relation to crumb and crust during the process.


All the best,


Franko

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yum! Yum! Franko! That is one beautifully crafted loaf! The oven spring is phenomenal! The crumb is exemplary..!


What percentage of whole grain flour are in this recipe?


khalid

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Khalid,


Considering the kind of consistently high end loaves you turn out weekly this is a very complimentary and gracious comment. Thank You!


The percentage of whole wheat flour is 10% but I think it could go much higher depending on flour quality.


Thanks again Khalid,


Franko

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your didn't count the whole wheat flour in the levain, Franko.


The total flour in the formula is:


100 g from 200 g of 100% hydration starter + 1000 g flour added to make the final dough.


Whole wheat is 50% of the flour in the starter = 50 g + 100 g added to make the final dough = 150 g


 


So, 150 g WW/1100 g Total flour =13.6%


David

Franko's picture
Franko

You're absolutely right David. When I responded to Khalid's query I just glanced up quickly at the formula sitting next to the PC. Thanks for catching that.


Franko

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I love them both and crumb is perfect! Great steaming/baking example's. 


Sylvia 

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Sylvia,


I was hoping you'd reply so that I could tell you how much I appreciate your steaming method from what I observed during this experiment ,... and that you shared it with all of us TFL'rs. For a domestic oven scenario I think it's the best possible way to keep as much humidity in play during that first crucial five to ten minutes of bake that any one's seen so far. Kudos to you, and thanks again for your kind words.


ATB,


Franko

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I'm all for hand mixing too, it certainly pays off.  I have opted to use my KAArtisan mostly for cakes and such tender mixings..I had to replace the gear wheel thingy once and that will be last time I ever put a strain on her, it broke my heart, to have to send her to the shop for repair...I've come very close to ordering one of those fancy expensive bread kneading machines and keep finding more reason's why I don't knead it.


Sylvia

teketeke's picture
teketeke

That is the art of extraordinary Bread, Franko.    How was the taste? The crumb makes me mouth water.   I will copy your idea to use a protractor to draw a line to make a pattern. :)


I have used Sylvia's steaming method as you know , and I started using a large stainless bowl to cover my bread on the round pizza stone besides the tin which has some wet towels in. It workes very well.   I am glad that you tried Sylvia's steaming method! 


Thank you for writing up how you made these bread precisely. That is very helpful when I make " Tartine" bread.  I canceled to buy the book and I reserved to borrow the book from the library instead. 


Thank you for sharing your experience! 


Akiko

Franko's picture
Franko

Thank You Akiko!


I think you'll really enjoy the Tartine Bread book. It's got lots of good ideas and clear instructions on how to make great breads as well as croissants and brioche.


All the best,


Franko

Jaydot's picture
Jaydot

Gorgeous boules, both of them!


Thanks for writing (and posting photo's) about this experiment - yet another reason for me to take a deep breath and start using my DO :). 


I ordered the book, hopefully it will arrive this week - I can hardly wait.
And I totally agree about the hand mixing, as you say, good bread has been around a lot longer than mixers. Besides: I enjoy kneading with my hands!

Franko's picture
Franko

It's funny about the dutch oven because I never really thought much of the idea of baking bread in a pot until I read about it and saw the photos in Tartine. It sure helps get that intense initial heat and steam that's needed in the beginning of the bake cycle. Glad you enjoyed the experiment and thanks for the compliments on the loaves.


Cheers!


Franko

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Bravo, Franko!


Great work! And nice to see the difference between carefully pursued steaming approaches.


I am just about convinced the cloche/pot approach gives more gelatinization than we can get in home ovens - and without superheated steam.


I sympathize about mixers. I have toyed with buying a spiral or fork mixer for five years and slowly but surely became more and more "do it by hand". And for those who are afraid of doing it by hand, (as you know) following the Tartine instructions will resolve that issue!


Look forward to your next adventure!


Jay


 

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Jay,


Unfortunately I wasn't able to show a crumb shot of the second loaf baked with Sylvia's steaming method as it was a gift to my brother. When I took it over to him yesterday he cut a slice off and I was able to see that while there was a fair degree of gelatinization it was not as pronounced as it was in loaf #1. So at this point and until I experiment further with different degrees of dough development and baking in the pot, I'm inclined to agree with you that the pot method was the major factor influencing the crumb gel. Thanks for your interest and kind words. Much appreciated! Oh...and my next adventure is already in the works.


Best Wishes,


Franko


 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Thanks for the feedback Franko!


I am convinced it is the tight fit combined with small volume that makes cloches work on bread. I am also convinced that the material makes a difference. Cast iron transfers and conducts heat much faster than ceramic. I think ceramic gives more of a "brick oven" effect by releasing heat more slowly to the bread while cast iron (methinks) tends to give a darker finish for the same temp.


Bake On!


Jay

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,


A great post on so many levels.


I first came across Chad Robertson in Wing and Scott's classic book.   Clearly he was a rising star then.   Your write up is an excellent review of his new book.


I also love the comparison of the 2 methods.   I concur with your new found devotion to hand mixing.   Apart from super-hydrated ciabatta dough, I hand mix all bread dough at home.   I think Reinhart emphasizes dough quality over oven conditions in "Bread Baker's Apprentice"?   While not seeking to take issue with this, I do believe your post demonstrates just how effective certain oven techniques really can be, and, how very simple mixing techniques can produce the very highest quality of dough.


I love the proprtions of wholewheat flour used.   I'm guessing you laid your hands on some fine quality flour to make this bread.   You had a discussion with Steve B if I'm not wrong?   So what flour did you opt for?


It's one of the finest crumbs you could ever wish to see; lovely bread and a great post.


Take good care


Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,


How are you my friend? Hope all goes well tomorrow for you and your student at the bake off competition.


Actually Andy I just used some generic store brand white and whole wheat flour that had been on sale at the supermarket last week. Both have a protein % of 13% and they are flours that I've used in the past with acceptable results but nothing like this before. As you've mentioned in previous discussions, protein percentages can be deceiving and not necessarily an accurate indicator of gluten quality or content, but I think that these flours must be right up there. I know...it's a shock to me as well. Next time I make this bread I'll have to try it with the Milanese organic from Quebec and see what difference it makes, believing there's always room for improvement.


Thanks for checking in and for your compliments!


Good Luck tomorrow and have a safe trip.


Franko