The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping the Tartine Basic Country Loaf for the bench rest

agkeats's picture
agkeats

Shaping the Tartine Basic Country Loaf for the bench rest

Hey TFL! This is my first post and my circumstances are dire... I recently purchased the wonderful Tartine Bread from my local bookstore and started the recipe for the basic country loaf. My starter is strong and acidic, when I made my leaven, it was wonderfully sweet-smelling, just as Chad described it should be. I mixed my dough with ease, let it rest the full 40 minutes, incorporated the salt and last bit of water, and let it go into the bulk fermentation. I did the turns and the dough responded very well, it seemed, and I was excited to see such a billowy, aerated dough by hour four. Then came time to shape the little guys...

The dough was still VERY sticky, despite its growth and apparent strength, and was difficult to pull out of its container, let alone separate and shape. The real problem came when I tried to "flip" the dough from the un-floured side to the floured side: it just stuck to my work surfaced and would not flip. I think the whole process of trying to flip the dough pieces plus my incredibly mediocre attempt at shaping the sticky globs built too much tension or released too much gas. What I got after baking was a wonderful crust around a far-too-dense, spongy brick. It smelled and tasted wonderful, but the crumb was grey and extremely chewey, almost inedibly so...

TFL, I need your help! What are some recommendations to help me along in the shaping stage before the bench rest? Did I miss something in the bulk fermentation, perhaps? What can I do to make sure I get the open, soft crumb I keep seeing in all your successful posts and in the books super sexy photos!

 

Al

nasv's picture
nasv

This is a common problem and it really just does come with practice.  Chad writes not to flour the surface before taking the dough out of the bulk fermentation container.  What I do is I put a little bit of flour on the table and just spread it out with my hand so there is a very light "dusting" of flour on the surface.

The other key here is to work QUICKLY/efficiently.  Pour the dough on to the table, sprinkle flour on top, divide quickly with your divider tool (blanking on the name), and as your dividing, flip 'em.  Then bring them into a little ball quickly, and cover for bench rest.  I find that the faster I work during this stage, and - if this makes any sense - the more confident my hand is with the bench-scraper (?), the less touching and more gas the dough preserves.

Honestly, the key here is practice, and I find THIS step to be the absolutely most difficult to master.

caraway's picture
caraway

with nasv.  Sounds like you were doing great up to the shaping point.  Did you watch the Tartine video yet?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5kKeKSfyOE&feature=youtu.be

Watch the shaping by Chad's friend, in particular.  Hope this helps!

Sue

agkeats's picture
agkeats

Alright, started another batch and I'm currently in the bulk rise stage. Things aren't looking so good, however... It's been over 4 hours and the thing hasn't increased in size at all and feels VERY sticky still, almost goo-like. Hopefully it firms up with some more turns.

nasv's picture
nasv

... you don't necessarily need to see a significant increase in size, and know that it is very temperature sensitive.  Just watch for the cues the dough will give you.  And when you do the turns later into the fermentation, be gentle... you are already beginning to form the crumb by leaving the gases more intact!

agkeats's picture
agkeats

Well, I overheated my second attempt during the bulk rise, resulting in an over-fermented, shapeless goo that has since become a very potent starter! I used a portion of my second attempt to make another levain, and today have begun a third attempt. I am currently in the second hour of the bulk rise and I can already see and feel a difference. I've been very precise in regulating my apartment's ambient temperature and have kept the dough at the just perfect warmth of 78 degrees F. I also only used 40 grams of the autolyse, instead of the recommended 50 grams. I figure I'll use a slightly less hydrated dough and get used to working with it a bit more. I can already see it starting to strengthen and bloom, so I'm taking care to make easy, mellow turns as I enter hour 3.

Before I forget, thanks so much for all of your suggestions! That video certainly helped, I can see that the shaping phase is a little bit of a mind-game. I look forward to posting some shots of my awesome bread - whenever I end up finally succeeding!

Polish Babka's picture
Polish Babka

I've been making tartine bread for months now and it always comes our great.

At the beginning I was following the instructions in the book but now I have my own twist.

That 50g of water - I just dip my hands in it, I don't add the whole amount to the dough.

The total fermentation time is 5h. I fold it every 30 min for the first 2h then let it rest 1 h. I divide, rest, shape and 2 more h of final proof. The bread always has great oven spring and nice color.