XXV – A Tale of the Unfaithful : My Take on Tartine’s Basic Country Bread……4 months ago!
Been clearing up old files on my PC and found photos of breads I baked ages ago and had comletely forgotten about….. One of them was Tartine’s Basic Country Bread.
Ever since I read Shiao-Ping’s blog about her ‘imitation of Chad Robertson’s Country Sourdough’ and all the buzz following the publication of ‘Tartine Bread’ last year, I’d been so intrigued to find out how wonderful its famous bread. Thought of buying a book, but didn’t in the end after reading many reviews and contemplating for a long time. It was very interesting to read Eric’s view on the book he posted a while ago, because that was exactly what I’d thought the book might be like and the reason why I decided not to buy.
But still, my interest in the bread itself never faltered, so I searched through the internet for the formula and found this wonderfully generous site with detailed formula. It was a God sent! (Thank you, Martha! :))
Didn’t follow its method of ‘how to start the levain’ but I just fed my starter with 50:50 = WW : Strong with hydration of 75%, as my regular starter, and increased the ratio of pre-ferment to a bit over 30%. Here’s my formula for my take.
My Take on the famous Tartine’s Basic Country Bread
Strong flour 35g
Main Dough ..... Strong 220g *
Plain 50g *
* (or 270g AP flour)
- Mix WW and strong flour for the levain ingredient. Feed the starter with it twice during 10-12 hr period before use. (1st feed = 20g flour + 15g water, 2nd feed = 50g flour + 35g water)
- Mix all of the levain with main dough flours and water until shaggy mess. Autolyse for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt over the dough and S & F in the bowl until the salt is evenly distribute. Rest for 40- 45 minutes.
- Repeat S & F in the bowl every 35 – 40 minutes over next 3 hrs until the dough increases the volume by 30% or so.
- Pre-shape and rest for 20 minutes.
- Shape and cold retard overnight.
- Take out of the fridge and leave until the dough returns to room temperature and fully proofed. (finger-poking test!)
- Pre-heat the oven to 240C with a Pyrex with lid or a cast iron/Dutch oven in it.
- Bake at 240C for 20 minutes in a covered Pyrex (or similar).
- After 20 minutes, remove the cover, lower the temperature to 200C, and bake for another 20 minutes.
Verdict : Not too sure……:p It was pleasant tasting bread with quite well balanced, gentle flavour, for sure. I can see why a lot of people like this as the daily basic bread, but tbh it was too gentle and lacked complexity of flavour I’m used to from other breads I bake regularly, I thought. It was good bread, but to be entirely honest, I didn’t find it was that sensational. Which is actually very similar thing I’d found from Hamelman’s Pain au Levain (::gasps:: BLASPHEMY!!!!) ; another bread which is very popular, but the one I only baked a few times.
I did not follow CR’s formula to a tee, so it’s quite possible I’m missing something here, I must admit.
OK….I’m open to anyone telling me off!!!
::braces herself:: :p
(Must admit it makes good sandwich bread, though, thanks to its mild flavour profile, probably....)