Tartine for Two: Not Quite Following the Formula
Back from vacation, I needed to bake some sourdough. Tartine’s Basic Country Bread has become my favorite. Its crumb is my ideal texture for a hearth bread--just the right amount of chew, and airy and moist. But, as I’ve noted before, large loaves just aren’t practical for our everyday use. Last time I baked a batch, it was one large loaf and two small ones. This time I made four half-kilo loaves, two batards and two boules.
I mostly followed the Tartine BCB formula, using Central Milling white and whole wheat flours. But I departed from gospel in the following ways:
· I only made as much levain as one recipe requires
· I did the stretch-and-folds when convenient, five of them at intervals of between 30 and 45 minutes over a 3 ½ hour bulk ferment
· I divided the dough into four loaves of about 490 grams each
· I baked the loaves with steam on a baking stone, in two batches an hour apart, having proofed the second two loaves in the cool basement.
My hope was that these departures would not affect the result, and I was very pleased. The crackly crust, the tender crumb and the subtly-sour complex flavor are as good as the one kilo loaves baked in a Dutch Oven, and we can have loaves of a usable size in the freezer.
To prove the point, we ate most of one not-quite-fully-cooled loaf for dinner, with a medley of melted cheese for the main course, and with a mix of peanut butter and passion fruit-jalapeno jam for dessert.
It’s great to be back and baking in my own kitchen!