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Tartine Revisited

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Tartine Revisited

A few weeks ago I posted on Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread titled A Dissenting Viewpoint. Several other members have posted reviews about the book and their breads since then. One thing I didn't care for was Robertson's confusing and incorrect description of bakers math through out the book. It is true however that if you follow the directions, you will get a great bread, regardless of the math.


Aside from the above, there are a few interesting, and I would say ingenious details within the book that need to be discussed. First, I like the idea of with holding 50g of warm water in the final dough to be added with the salt, after the autolyse. I haven't seen this procedure suggested by any other authors and it works well. I have never been convinced that the salt is properly distributed and dissolved when added after the autolyse. The water helps dissolve the salt and get it incorporated into the dough. Robertson suggests using your wet fingers to cut the additional water into the dough. Again the use of fingers to cut the new water and salt in is a new procedure that is simple and works well. It feels a little funky at first but the dough comes back together in the bowl later just fine.


Another more subtle thing that the author suggests is using 80F water in the dough. It's a way to assure that the culture starts off in a temperature range that wakes the culture up and gets it started eating and multiplying and creating co2. The result will be a more airy loaf, earlier in the proof. Judging by the loaves other members have posted on, I'd say the warmer water is a good idea.


Then, the Lodge Combo Cooker. I resisted buying the suggested combo cooker and used instead a couple of my collection of DO's and a covered steamable pan that I use on the stone. That is until yesterday. I found the Lodge CC at my Ace Hardware on sale for $33. It isn't that I didn't get good results using my other covered baking solutions. But as they say here in Packer Football country, "Good is the enemy of Great". I see DMsnyder has posted about his first Combo Cooker bake also so I suggest you read his details about his use. After Sylvia and Franko showed us how beautiful their bread are using the CC, I started wondering if the proportions of the cooker were helping the spring. Also the idea of not heating the pan first is definitely worth checking out.


I was surprised at the size of the Combo Cooker. It is perfectly sized for a 2# loaf. If you cut the handles off it would fit inside most of my DO's.  At Sylvia's suggestion, I proofed the first loaf in the smaller component pan, covered with the deeper pan. I sprinkled some grits on the bottom before loading the dough from the banetton. No extra oil or parchment were used.


As for the actual baking. I thought the crust was to thin and after cooling, not crisp for my tastes. I followed Robertsons advice on this and left the cover on for 20 minutes followed by another 20 uncovered. I thought it was a little pale so I baked it another 5 minutes for a total of 25 minutes. The second loaf was placed in the still hot base with a small handful of additional grits under the dough first. The top was still slightly warm and I spritzed some water on the inside of the cover. At the end of the second bake, I shut the oven down and let the crust dry for an additional 5 minutes. I liked the second crust a little better.


The next time I use this method, I'll take the cover off after 12 minutes. This will make the crust a little thicker and crispier I believe. Here are my first 2 boules of Tartine Basic country Bread, using the Combo-Cooker.


Robertson has brought  several ingenious methods to light in his new book. I think it's worth taking a look at to learn and understand these unique hand methods.


Eric



Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Both boules look great from here.


Keep reading. There are yet more hidden pearls in "Tartine Bread." 


David

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Eric,


Fabulous looking bread, as always; really good to see your loaves on TFL again.


A couple of observations  about your reflections on Robertson's techniques:


The addition of salt in solution must work like the old "bassinage" technique, as described by Dan Wing on pp.9,10 of "The Bread Builders"(1999).   Kaplan also mentions this in "Good Bread is Back" (2006), not by name, but he gives good discussion to hand mixing techniques on pp.111-2.


As for temperature calculations, I love Jeffrey Hamelman's story on pp. 385 of "Bread" (2004).   I'm just about to post on today's baking, and calculated I needed to use water at 71*C in my dough today!!!   It really is that cold in the UK right now.   Post will be up soon.


And, I think I'll be after the Lodge Logic for my Christmas present


All good wishes


Andy

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Bassinage is also mentioned by name in Ortiz, "The Village Baker," pp.55 - 56.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Eric, Andy,


I've been thinking about this DDT and water temperature a lot recently. Partly in relation to Tartine and partly because the outside and ambient room temperatures have varied so wildly over the last few weeks in the UK.


I'm so glad to have had access to Susan at Wild Yeast's water temperatures calculator from the start, as this allows for calculation of all the factors influencing DDT, including ambient temperature, temperature of flour and preferments and mixing friction temperature (roughly 5 for hand mixing). This allows me to do what Hamelman must have done in his head, or with pen and paper! Link on this thread.


http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/05/water/


I hand mix so that doesn't increase temperature much. However Tartine is a hand-mixed dough. I aim normally for a DDT of C24 or C26. With preferment and ambient room temperatures of C20 and flour at C18 I need a water temperature of 41C to get to 26C or 80F.


If, in the same conditions, I add water at 26C then my dough temperature is only just above 22C. When my preferment comes out of the fridge around 9C I need a water temp of 52C or around 126F to get 26C/80F. Andy's water temp of 70C is around 169F, so twice what Robertson recommends.


My first thought is that for hand-mixed dough in cooler climes, water temperature could quite usefully be more than 80F, although I take Eric's point about warming water in general kickstarting yeast activity.


I have wondered, however, about adding water at a temperature higher than 50C, as I understood that yeasts could start dying at this temperature. Does the water cool down quickly enough to prevent this happening? When the preferment is a low temperature I have tended to come at this a different way by heating that up first or allowing it to come to room temperature before use.


Any guidance welcome. Obviously the hotter water way works!


Kind regards, Daisy_A

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Daisy, the yeast (and the bacteria) will  not die with the addition of 50 C water - now, let me make sure no one jumps on my throat for this.   That temperature WILL kill (or as some like to state "inactivate") these microrganisms if they are held at that temperature for a while - when you use water at that temperature to mix with your ingredients,  it will cool very rapidly and most yeast cells will never be in contact with the heat long enough to suffer damage.     These little creatures are in fact a lot more resilient than we think - I often wonder how many people discard their sourdough starter thinking they "killed" it, when in fact they could 'bring it back to life' with a little time and affection  :-)


 


 Seventy degrees celsius is pushing the envelope, I would say - unless all other ingredients are so cold that you would bring the temperature down very fast  - but 50 C  would be perfectly fine.    


 


in the lab, we do a few things to bacteria that require a heat shock - very pure suspension of bacteria is held at 42 C  for a minute or so, then placed quickly on ice.    Many bacterial genes are turned ON in this kind of situation - I wonder if a heat shock response has ever been investigated in bread baking!  WOuldn't that be fun?    ;-)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Sally,


Thanks for sharing the science! I won't feel so worried now if I need to use 50C water for my doughs :-)


Interesting to think how some starter cultures may respond to heat shock. I think there was another post somewhere about some starters coming back strongly from very cold temperatures (not mine - they slump). Maybe extremes switch on strong survival mechanisms in some cultures? 


Hey, maybe you could start a project - need any lab assistants? ;-)


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks David.


Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I don't have either of those books in my library. Lots of authors have talked about DDT desired dough temperature, but in practice I wonder how many home bakers are calculating the DDT on the rule of 210 or what ever. I think the note of a warmer water temp will result in better bread for the casual baker.


That's a great story about the importance of knowing and obtaining DDT. Tartine isn't written for those who need to understand that detail unfortunately, but he is attempting to arrive at the same place with a more simple approach.


Eric

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Eric,


I like to read that for my students!


Anyway, for homebakers, working with small amounts of dough, I agree that Robertson's suggestions sound wise.


If you relate volume to surface area, then a "home-bakers" dough of say 1kg has a lot of surface area to lose heat from, and not much volume in which to generate fresh heat from the fermentation.   'Nuff said, probably!?


Best wishes


Andy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've enjoyed reading Tartine Bread, but have to return it to my library by Friday, so I thought I'd give the technique a try today.


I've baked SteveB's  Bouabsa baguettes several times and found Robertson's hand mixing method pretty similar.  It's a nice technique. 


Since I have to work tomorrow, I couldn't retard the dough for the suggested 12 hours (I should have mixed it later in the afternoon), so it's presently in a 60F room for a couple of hours and will be baked later tonight - in my preheated DO.


As to DDT, I always calculate it, except for today, when I followed the Tartine instructions and used 80F water.  


While I don't expect my bread to turn out as nice as yours, it will be an interesting experiment as I've never mixed and baked a sourdough in one day.  I'm not expecting much in the taste department because of that, but maybe I'll be surprised.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Way to keep trying the formulas in this book. Obiovsly his method works, so there must be many merits in his process, even thought he doesn't always spell it out.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Your points on making an effort to find a suitable temperature are well made. From Andy's post, I'm guessing he lives in one of those 15th century stone castles with 2 foot thick walls:>) That is a lot of ambient cold to overcome.


When I find myself using very warm water, I combine the flour and water first and let it absorb and stabilize. After a few minutes the yeast and salt are added and you should be at your normal temp.


Eric

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Eric,


That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for that.


Andy does indeed live in a part of the country that can get very cold. It's not like this every winter but I was around there one time for New Year with friends and it was -20C outside, with breath freezing as soon as it came out of your body. Brrr....


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Eric,


Boy there are sure some nice looking breads being posted today, not the least of which are these two excellent looking loaves of yours Eric. Nicely done!


Robertson may be a laid back type of baker/surfer dude, but he's sure got some chops when it comes to putting together a formula and technique for making it relatively easy to reproduce his style of bread. I'm glad you didn't write the book off over the math.


When I made the Country Loaf the first time, instead of mixing the salt in whole I dissolved it in the held back water. I was using coarse sel gris so it just seemed to make more sense to do it that way and I've been doing it like that ever since.


Franko

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You are correct about the recent posts. That seems to happen here in cycles as people figure out the process. I wanted to be fair since I took the contrarian view point in my opening post.There are some advanced techniques in play like the water hold back that can make a difference. For me it's a two step process. First I have to be convinced it makes a difference delaying the salt in the first place. Then adding it with a small amount of water seems to be a better delivery than just working it in dry. Robertson doesn't mention why the water is held that I recall. Maybe I missed it.


Eric

LindyD's picture
LindyD

From what I've read about double hydration, the addition of water after the autolyse develops the gluten more efficiently during the hand mixing.  I know from experience that's accomplished with baguettes.


I have to agree with your analysis of the crust, Eric.  After pulling my boule out of the DO (I reduced the fomula by half) and having it cool on the rack a bit, I checked the crust and it is on the softer side.  


I wonder if the soft crust is what's produced at the actual Tartine bakery.  I've never tasted Robertson's bread and would love to hear the opinions of those who visited the bakery and tasted the bread there, then baked from the book in their own kitchens.  Am guessing there's a major difference since Robertson wrote he uses a specially formulated blend of flour, but didn't note what it contained.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The photos I have seen of bread from Tartine look like they bake a firm crust in the deck oven.


Eric

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I haven't had any problem with occasionally mixing very hot water (the "liquid ingredients") into the dry ingredients mix that includes some active dry yeast.


 


Usually the calculation has me using water at about 80F. But when I use a lot of WW flour out of the very cold freezer, the water has to be quite hot (~140F?) to compensate. Apparently the hot water gets so throughly mixed into the dough so everything is the DDT before the yeast start to wake up.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and terminology.  I really have to do more reading.  The bread looks very good, Eric! 


Mini

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Beautiful Indeed, Eric! Perfectly Round loaves, Lovely Golden Crust, and well fermented crumb! You are truley an inspirer!


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Khalid, I'm learning here.


Eric

longhorn's picture
longhorn

My experience with cloches suggests the size of the oven is important. The combo cooker appears to be a hair shorter than the La Cloche and almost certainly holds humidity in better. However, the cast iron has higher heat capacity and heat transfer rates which make it a bit more vulnerable to burning the bottom of the bread and encourages use of something (grits, semolina, parchment) to protect the bottom of the loaf. I have a combo on order now to compare. Will be an interesting comparison.


I found Robertson's book very interesting in that there are a number of little details that are discussed in detail that are outside the normal "bread" practice. And the results are spectacular. I continue to find new insights as I work through his bread.


WRT crust, the Tartine loaves have a very thick, dark, and hard crust. Your description of your results relative to what I am getting leads me to believe your oven may be a bit cool and that you need extended baking time. As I recall Robertson is baking his bread to 212 internal temperature and I am pretty confident you aren't getting anywhere near that hot if you are suffering from a soft, thin crust. This is really wet dough and it can take some real heat in the oven. I am at 1000 feet and I am baking to 211 and getting crust almost in the Tartine class.


Hope that is helpful! Good Luck!


Jay

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I am really surprised that there is very little difference between loaves baked in a cold cast iron combo cooker and a pre heated one. If you are making one, two pound loaf, the flexibility to do the final proof in the cooker is remarkable. I warmed the cooker slightly to assure the warmth I wanted but you could also put the cooker in a cold oven with the light on. Removing it for 15 minutes while the oven preheats then back into the hot oven for baking would work.


I suspect that removing the top of the cooker earlier will result in the same spring and thicker and darker crust. When I first started doing Susan's Magic Bowl breads, I watched the dough and when it started to take color, the crust was set and wasn't benefiting from having the bowl on. A little experimenting is in order here.


Eric

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I agree on the cold vs. hot being so similar but I think it primarily reflects the conductivity of the cast iron (which is lower than aluminum which is why aluminum DOs cause so much trouble).  With La Cloche cold doesn't work well in my experience for it simply insulates too well.


I also agree that the oven spring is pretty much over before the 20 minutes is up - probably by 15, maybe 12. Experimentation is definitely appropriate. 


I also agree that proofing IN the baking container has real advantages! So I am looking forward to my combo cooker. 


Look forward to your report on the experiment!


Jay

Candango's picture
Candango

Eric,  Thanks for the detailed post and the great photos.  I have a combo cooker on order with delivery predicted for tomorrow.  We'll see.  I do have a question about your original post above, in which you say that you proofed the shaped dough in the shallow part of the cooker, first putting grits on the bottom to aid in the transfer from the banneton.  My (perhaps foolish) question - if you were going to proof in the cooker, why use the banneton?  And for how long?


Thanks,  Bob

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Maybe I mis-spoke. I proofed part of the way in the basket while refrigerated and when my dinner was about to be done I took the dough out of the cooler and finished in the cooker. The use of grits was to prevent the dough from sticking, which it did.  I could of done the entire proof in the cooker but I wanted to be cautious of not over fermenting.


Eric


 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Dough should never stick to the cast iron. It will get hot enough to form a solid "skin" that will release. However, using something to create a buffer between the hot iron and the dough is almost certianly beneficial. 


Jay

rayel's picture
rayel

Real beauties, so much talent, and innovation.  Ray

wally's picture
wally

I think Santa's bring me a Lodge Combo Cooker for Christmas and I can't wait.  It's obviously working well for you.  Very interesting idea of dissolving the salt in water.  I've never thought to do that, though I do dissolve sugar in water if it's in a appreciable amount, so it's not competing with the flour and yeast for hydration.


Larry

longhorn's picture
longhorn

It is hard, Larry, to get the salt to fully dissolve in the 50 grams of water unless you heat it up.  And it is no problem to have some of it still be granular. The water definitely does help in incorporating the salt, however. An interesting technique I am beginning to use on other breads - especially those I mix totally by hand.


 


Jay

Mateo Feo's picture
Mateo Feo

...nice loaves.


I have much better results when I mix the leaven + dough in my KA with the paddle attachment (much cleaner too).  After salt and final water, i pop it in my 4 Qt. plastic container.  

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Here is the formula in a spreadsheet if you missed:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21528/tartine-loaf-formula