The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Country Loaf

dvuong's picture

Tartine Country Loaf

Hello everyone,

I live in San Francisco and have attempted to bake Tartine's infamous Country Bread at least ten times now with wonderful results in flavor.  Though I have never tasted Tartine's bread, my brother, whom frequents Tartine very often says that the flavor is near identical to what can be bought from Tartine.  However, I feel that there is still much to be desired in regards to oven spring and slashing.   The first few times I've made this bread, I've followed Robertson's instructions to a T when bulk fermenting at 78-82 degrees for 3 hours with S&F every half hour for a total of 6 S&Fs.  Then, I discovered on the forums that many people are reporting the bulk ferment times are much too generous and should be reduced to 2.5 hours max.  With both methods, I complete my final rise overnight in the refrigerator and bake directly from fridge. Following the 3 hour method, I find that I get a little better oven spring but still not exactly what is desired.  With 2.5, oven spring tends to be a little less.  I doubt that retarding in the fridge overnight would cause it to overproof. Also, when slashing, I can never really get a real great grigne like the one that appears in the book.  I've slashed almost parallel to the loaf and have tried neither too deep nor too shallow and always dip my blade into water to prevent drag.  Are there any suggestions or comments to  both?  I've seen that many of you have had amazing results with this book.

Anyway, I don't have pictures of all my loaves but the one that I have access to at this moment <I'm at work ;)> is a picture of the one that turned out the best.  I'll try to repost with one that resulted a little flatter.

Sjadad's picture

dvuong -

That's a beautiful loaf. From what I can see you achieved a great grigne. The color and the oven spring look wonderful too. If the taste is good (as you say it is), you should be very pleased and proud. I look forward to seeing many more of your breads here.

Great job!

dvuong's picture

As promised.. Here are some more pictures.

You can tell that the slashing didn't open up as much in this one.

A picture of the crumb.


The one to the left was relatively flat. Could that be due to shaping?

longhorn's picture

First comment has to be that if you live in SF you need to drop by the bakery and buy a half loaf (okay, order in advance...) or at least have your brother bring you a half loaf. You need to see in person and experience what you are working toward...

Your bakes are quite a bit lighter than Chad. Looks like your internal temp is well below the target. This could easily be partially because you are putting cold dough in the oven and it takes longer to heat up.

Your loaves are okay IMO but look like they are possibly a bit overproofed. It takes time for the dough to cool down and stop/slow the yeast. A lot of us seem to be drifting to a 2 1/2 hour bulk ferment and a 2 to 2 1/2 hour rise after the 30 minute rest in forming.  You are likely effectively overshooting that. I would shorten my times further if retarding is critical to your timing.

The flattish loaf could be shaping or overproofing - especially if both came out of the fridge at the same time and it warmed before baking.

Good Luck!