The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine

Franko's picture
Franko

 

 

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

 

 

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

longhorn's picture

A Visit to Tartine

November 1, 2010 - 9:01am -- longhorn

I took my wife to Napa for a long weekend for her birthday and used that opportunity to order a half loaf of Tartine country bread and picked it up Saturday afternoon on the way back to the Oakland airport. Even after reading Chad's new book about his bread, and having made it two weeks ago following his method as closely as I could with materials on hand, I wasn't really prepared for what I found. I think some of you may find my reactions useful!

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

 

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

I've posted a brief review of the Tartine Bread book here at ChewsWise.com. I've really enjoyed baking with it, and wanted to show off my results of his whole wheat loaf, which is actually 70% whole wheat. Here's a picture. (I also didn't post the entire piece because I've had problems posting on the Fresh Loaf blog). 

Tartine whole wheat

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

 

 

BerniePiel's picture
BerniePiel

I have really become enamored of late with Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread, particularly his basic country loaf which is a combination of APF or BF and WWF.  I had to experiment with some raisins and pistachios that I had on hand.  The methodology was identical to Robertson's given in the text, same proportions, same times and so forth.  My only variation is that I use spring water, I mill local Oklahoma winter hard red wheatberries, and perhaps my method of folding the bread and the number of times that I fold versus the text.  I fold 4 or more times depending on what kind of structure I see developing; Chad states he folds three times every 25 minutes during the bulk rise.  I add one of two extra folds.  Also, I do not use all of the 50 g of water that he calls for when addiing the 20 g of salt after the inital 20 minute autolyse.  I usually just end up adding 25 g rather than the entire 50 because I feel it makes my dough to wet.

I have also discovered that his temps of water and air environment called for at various locations in the recipe should be adhered to.  He states using water at 80 degrees and he's right.  I tried using my ambient temp water at between 65 and 72 and the dough behaved differently.  The bulk rise and final rise temps should also be between 78 and 82 which is conducive to good yeast activity and providing a proper amount of time for the flavors to be created in the dough.

In this bread I added 1 1/2 cups of currants (a smaller dark raisin) and 1 1/2 cups of unsalted pistachio nuts, added at the first folding following  the 20 minutes autolyse or rrest.  It took several minutes to incorporate these two items evenly throughout the dough.  If you skimp here, the raisnins and nuts will be along the inside of the crust edge rather than scattered throughout the loaf.

Also, as the recipe states, it will make two loaves.  During this bake, I cooked the first loaf immediately ater the final rise.  The second loaf I allowed to ferment in the fridge for 12 hours just to see if  there was a difference in taste.  There is and its quite good.  But, even without that fermentation period, the bread was also very good.  But, the time in the fridge did improve the flavor.

Finally, I baked these two loaves in a round clay couche that I soaked before puttiing into the oven and I added  them as tthe oven was heating.  The oven was up to 360 degrees when I added the couche (normally I put my cooking vessel in when I fire up the oven, but I forgot this time.)  The clay vessel had been soaking in water for 15 minutes just prior to going in the oven to preheat befoe i added the boules.

I put the loaves in when my temp reached 515, put the top on and after 10 minutes, turned the oven down to 450.  After a total of 20 minutes had elapsed from the time I first put the dough in the clay pot, I took the lid off and baked for another 20 minutes at 450.  The crust becomes harder, good carmelization, and the interior crumb is chewy and flavorful.  I really, really like this bread.

Here are the pix:

 

from the oven couche

 

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