The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chad Robertson

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The recent discussions regarding baking breads in hot versus cold Dutch ovens - those from "Tartine Bread" in particular - prompted today's experiment.


I made two boules of the Country Rye from "Tartine Bread." One I baked starting in a room temperature enameled cast iron Dutch oven. The other I baked in the same Dutch oven, pre-heated. The breads were identical in weight. They were cold retarded overnight in bannetons and then proofed at room temperature for 2 hours before the first bake. The loaf baked in the pre-heated dutch oven proofed for 45 minutes longer, while the other loaf was baking. The second loaf was baked for 7 minutes longer than the first loaf, to get a darker crust.



Boule baked in cool Dutch oven on the left. Boule baked in pre-heated Dutch oven on the right.


In spite of the fact that the loaf baked first was relatively under-proofed, the loaf baked second, in a pre-heated Dutch oven, got slightly better bloom and oven spring. I won't be slicing these until next week. They are for my Thanksgiving guests. So, I don't know if there is any difference in the crumb structure.


Overall, I'm happy with both loaves. The differences are very small - arguably of no significance. While pre-heating the Dutch oven does appear to result in slightly better oven spring, the convenience of not having to pre-heat the Dutch oven may be more advantageous for many bakers.


Addendum: Okay. So, I'm weak. I had to try the bread, since it was the firs time I'd baked it.


The crust is crunchy-chewy. The crumb is less open than the "Basic Country Bread," as expected. The 17% (by Robertson's way of doing baker's math) whole rye does make a difference. The crumb is very cool and tender. The aroma is rather sour, but the flavor is less so. The surprise was the prominent whole wheat flavor tone, even though all the WW is in the levain, and it only amounts to 50 g out of a total of 1100 g (my way of doing baker's math). I expect the flavors to meld by breakfast time tomorrow. I think this will make great toast with Almond butter and apricot preserves.



Country Rye, cut loaf



Country rye, crumb


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


I have made the Basic Country Bread from Chad Robertson's “Tartine Bread” twice before. (See: Tartine Basic Country Bread as Bâtards and Oven steaming using the SFBI method) However, I did not bake the loaves in the cast iron “cloche” that Robertson prescribes. I baked them on a pre-heated baking stone and used the SFBI oven steaming method or the "magic bowl" technique.


Caroline (“trailrunner” on TFL) recently blogged on Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain from Hamelman's “Bread” which she baked in Dutch Ovens – one cast iron and the other enameled cast iron. Her beautiful loaves finally pushed me to try this method with the Basic Country Bread. (See: David's Vermont SD w/ increased rye ---response to cast iron bake)


Caroline used an heirloom cast iron Dutch oven and a Le Creuset Dutch oven. There was no difference in her results. I decided to try a similar experiment with two other cloches: A 5 qt Copco enameled cast iron pot that was a wedding present (which means we've had it for going on 44 years) and a 4 qt Calphalon anodized aluminum all purpose pan.



Copco enameled cast iron on the left and Calphalon Anodized Aluminum Dutch Ovens


I made the dough according to Robertson's instructions. I followed Carolyn's well-described method for baking, except that I placed my cloches right on the oven rack, rather than on a baking stone.



Loaves uncovered after baking 20 minutes covered at 460ºF.


I baked the loaves for an additional 25 minutes after uncovering them to achieve the crust coloration seen below. I think I could have baked a bit longer to get as dark a crust as those in pictured in "Tartine Bread."



Loaf baked in Copco, on the left, and loaf baked in Calphalon, on the right


Both loaves had great oven spring and bloom. The one baked in the Copco oven had significantly great height, but I don't know whether this had anything to do with differences in thermal properties between the two "cloches" or simply reflects differences in their shape and/or volume. Certainly, there was no significant difference in the crust appearance.


The prolonged high heat did discolor the handles of the Calphalon pan. The Copco interior discolored quite a lot. I don't know if this was from the heat or, possibly, from the parchment paper. Anyone who can share experience with this would be appreciated.



The crust is staying crisp as the bread cools. The crumb is well aerated but less open than that of the bâtards I made. It is tender and has a lovely wheaty-sweet flavor with a mild but definite sourdough tang.


I must say I am very favorably impressed with the results of baking this bread in the Dutch ovens. I think the oven spring and bloom are remarkable and much more dramatic than what I have seen with baking on an oven stone covered with a stainless steel bowl. I'll have to try this technique with other breads, but trailrunner's results with the lower hydration Vermont Sourdough certainly suggest my experience will be repeated.


Thanks for the prompt, trailrunner!


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


 


 

shmeon's picture

Chad Robertson "Tartine Bread" book signing

November 2, 2010 - 3:22pm -- shmeon
Forums: 

Hi everyone, I've been lurking for quite a while and finally decided to join to let everyone know that Chad Robertson will be signing copies of "Tartine Bread" at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on November 6 from 1:00-2:00pm. Check out details at this website: http://www.omnivorebooks.com/events.html. I wonder how many loaves of bread he's going to accept that day! :) Tonight I'll be making his Basic Country Loaf with pine nuts and fresh thyme from the garden. -Dan

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


Chad Robertson's Basic Country Bread from “Tartine Bread” has been a hit among TFL members, and with good reason. It's a wonderful bread, and Robertson's description of how to make it is clear and detailed. He not only describes what to do but also why. He provides variations on his procedures in recognition of the realities of the home baker's scheduling issues and describes their effects on the end product.


Robertson recommended a baking procedure that replicates the result of baking in a commercial gas oven for the home baker. His procedure utilizes a cast iron covered Dutch oven. This particular equipment dictates that the loaves be shaped as boules.


I have made Robertson's Basic Country Bread once before and found it delicious. Its most amazing virtue, to me, is how long it stays moist. I made 2 boules before. However, at the bakery, Robertson shapes this bread as bâtards.


Today, I made the Basic Country Bread as bâtards. They were proofed on a linen couche. The oven was steamed using the SFBI method I've described in another entry(Oven steaming using the SFBI method.). I baked, as prescribed by Robertson, at 450ºF but switched to a dry oven at 15 minutes and baked for a total of 35 minutes.




The crust was very firm initially and sang softly while cooling. It softened with cooling. The crumb was very open – as pictured in “Tartine Bread.” The aroma was very wheaty, and the flavor was very nice, with mild sourdough tang.


This is a bread I'll be making again, no doubt with variations in flour mix and steaming methods. I would like to get a bread whose crust stays crisp longer.


David


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


When I took the Artisan I workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute last August, Miyuki demonstrated the method of oven steaming they recommend for home bakers.


The oven is not pre-steamed (before loading the loaves). A cast iron skillet filled with steel pieces (nuts and bolts, rebar pieces) is pre-heated in the oven along with two baking stones. One stone is placed on a rack above the stone and rack on which the loaves will be loaded.


When the loaves are loaded, a perforated pie tin filled with ice cubes is set atop the skillet. As the ice melts, water drips through the perforations and turns to steam when it hits the metal pieces.



I had a hard time finding the perforated pie tins, so I hadn't been able to try this method until today. I did two bakes: One was two loaves of a very familiar bread – Hamelman's “Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain” from “Bread.” The other was a new bread to me - Chad Robertson's “Basic Country Bread” from “Tartine.” I made two large boules of the Country Bread. One was baked using the “Magic Bowl” technique and the other with the SFBI steaming method, minus the second baking stone and using lava rocks in place of metal pieces.


My current baking method is to pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with the baking stone and skillet in place. When I load my loaves, I turn down the oven to whatever temperature the recipe specifies, using the conventional bake setting. After 10-15 minutes (depending on the total length of the bake), I change the oven setting to convection bake but 25ºF lower. I find, in my oven, conventional baking retains steam well, but convection dries the crust better.


Using the SFBI steaming method, the Vermont Sourdoughs came out substantially similar to how they come out with my previous method – pouring boiling water over the lava rocks. I could not detect any difference in oven spring, bloom, crust color or the texture of either the crust or crumb.



Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain



Crust Crackles



Vermont SD with Increased Whole Grain crumb


The Basic Country Breads were different from each other. The one baked in under a stainless steel bowl was a bit shinier. The crust softened quicker with cooling. It did not sing when cooling. I don't think there was any real difference in oven spring or bloom.



Basic Country Bread baked with the "Magic Bowl" method



Basic Country Bread baked with the SFBI steaming method



Basic Country Bread crumb


My conclusion is that the SFBI method is effective. It does not require that water be boiled and poured into the hot skillet. To me, it seems a bit easier than the method I've been using. That said, the breads baked using the SFBI method for steaming the oven seem pretty much identical to those I get using my previous technique.


I don't have the kind of covered cast iron skillet/shallow dutch oven that Chad Robertson recommends be used to bake his Basic Country Bread. I do have enameled cast iron ovens that should perform similarly. Perhaps I should try one of them, although my expectation would be that they perform similarly to the "Magic Bowl" method.


David


 


 


bshuval's picture

Tartine Bread book -- a video featuring Chad Robertson

September 8, 2010 - 11:22pm -- bshuval
Forums: 

Hi all, 


One of the books I am most anticipating this year is Chad Robertson's "Tartine Bread". 


Chronicle Books, the publisher, have posted a youtube video about Chad and the test bakers for the book. It is a lovely video, featuring some pictures of the breads and the baking process, and it is really a joy to watch. The music for the video was provided by one of test bakers, which I found really nice. 


Anyhow, you can find the video here


Boaz

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