The Fresh Loaf

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Question about Tartine bread baking

spsq's picture

Question about Tartine bread baking

I've found this book has comprehensive and detailed instructions, and for once, am going to follow them to a tee until I "master" a loaf.


However, one instruction on the final rise has me confused.  I quote: "The dough can rise at warm room temp for about 3 to 4 hours before baking.  This is called the final rise, and at 2 hours, it will yield mild-flavored loaves."


Does this mean that you can bake at 2 hours?  What does 3 to 4 hours mean, then?


(this is important, because when I "roughly" followed some internet instructions for tartine bread, my loaf was EXCELLENT - crusty, sweet, fluffy.  I've tried it "to the tee" twice - once I retarded overnight and found the loaves too sour and wet,  the next time, I feel like I rushed the bake (though I followed the instructions for a non-retarded dough), and my dough fell flat in the oven - not enough surface tension?)



dmsnyder's picture

Hi, spsq.

The text you cite from Tartine Bread is nonsense, in my opinion. Most of the acid production in the dough occurs during bulk fermentation, although an overnight cold fermentation of the loaves will make a noticeable difference in the sourness of the bread.

I think you should use the usual criteria for when the loaves are ready to bake, i.e., the "poke test." At room temperature, in my experience, this takes 2-3 hours. Under-proofing will result in more oven spring and bloom. Over-proofing this wet dough will result in loaf collapse when you score it.

Robertson's principal technique for getting a milder flavor is to use his starter "young." At least that's my reading of his method.


longhorn's picture

I find that one of the more cryptic passages in the book also. From my single experience with Tartine bread, his starter appears to be quite sour which I presume is why he tries to use "young" starter, levain, and bread. 

I think all he is saying is that you should expect to proof for 3 to 4 hours to make bread approximating his, but that it can be baked at two hours and yield loaves that are milder, i.e. less sour.

I agree with David for the most part. While I consider Robertson's statement as true (less fermentation will at least generally and always in "young" doughs (not severely overproofed) gives milder bread with less flavor) it places emphasis in the wrong place IMO. Bulk fermentation is IMO more important and proofing needs to be to the "right point". Baking way early just to get milder flavor doesn't feel right for it will sacrifice other important qualities like crumb.


dvuong's picture

Just to piggy back off of this thread... If you are retarding during the bulk fermentation and not doing the S&Fs, should you expect the dough to have doubled in size by the time it's ready for final shaping? 

In addition to that, when you are performing S&Fs but NOT retarding, how can you tell if the dough is ready to bake?  It says it will have risen about 20%, but is that after the last stretch and fold you perform?