The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Loaf: The Formula

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Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Tartine Loaf: The Formula

There's been some discussion about the baker's percentage formula for the Tartine Loaf in Chad Robertson's book. I thought I'd create a spreadsheet that clarified the formula. As related on page 48 of his book, he gives the baker's percentage but only in terms of the final ingredients. The formula doesn't include the flour and water in the leaven. So while he states the bread has a 75% hydration, it is actually higher, 77% The formula also makes it difficult to convert the recipe into smaller loaves. So I've created a spread sheet that does that, following a method at the Bread Bakers Guild of America. The measurements are all in grams.

The spreadsheet shows the TOTAL formula in the left column and the FINAL formula which mirrors Robertson's. To use this spreadsheet, I've made it available in google docs.

The nice thing about it is that you enter the number of loaves and the size of loaves (THE FIRST TWO CELLS -- NOTHING ELSE). The spreadsheet figures out the rest -- which is highlighted in blue.

I've only given the total leaven you need (white, whole wheat and water). The seed for that leaven should be only a couple of tablespoons. One more note -- the fourth line of the spreadsheet shows the "% flour levain" -- which means the percentage of total flour that is prefermented in the leaven. Many formulas go as high as 40%. Robertson's is much lower, which means the leaven takes longer to mature and has a much milder taste. As I noted before, however, the fermentation is spurred by the presence of whole wheat flour at 50% in the leaven. 

So ultimately does it matter, getting the precise formula? I would say no. But this is it. Now you can make it your own.


TessN's picture

Thank you for sharing this!  It'll come in handy for many, I'm sure. 

ehanner's picture

Thanks Sam for taking the time to put the formula into a form that will make it easier for many to understand.

BTW, I gave my wife a copy of your new book Organic Inc, for Christmas. She loves it and has been reciting snippets from it in amazement. I haven't been on the bandwagon with organics totally but after reading this interesting summary of Organic foods and how they grow them, I'm convinced it matters.


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Thanks Eric. Now I'm working on my 2nd book, about bread!

LindyD's picture

I have no need to make such large boules as called for in Tartine Bread (my freezer is full, anyway), so I had been halving the formula using my trusty calculator.

Will give your nifty spreadsheet a try.