The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crumb je ne sais quois in Tartine Master Class Video

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Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Crumb je ne sais quois in Tartine Master Class Video

I was astonished at the extraordinary crumb quality of the loaf that Chad Robertson slices at about 5:06 in the Tartine Master Class video.  Absolutely heavenly cakey and soft between those big voids, not at all as I've imagined his ideal Tartine boule to be (e.g., p 78 of Tartine Bread).  My best efforts are several Lufthansa flights away from the product on which they're spreading butter when the credits roll in that German Master class YouTube. This is a different beast entirely.

Has anyone reading this achieved such a crumb in a lean Tartinesque boule?  Share any secrets?  Was it the local flour he adopted there?  Could it have been his starter? (Could starter variation affect crumb quality so dramatically?  Taste, obviously, but crumb texture?)  I've not had the pleasure of sampling the genuine item at his Mission emporium. If anyone here has, does his SF crumb have the je ne sais quois revealed in that video?  After watching that clip (over and over, how sick is that?), I've certainly revised my objectives for that loaf.  I am smitten!

tdb

yy's picture
yy

Speaking of sick, I had to move away from the San Francisco bay area for graduate school, far from Tartine and their wonderful bread.  Last month, a friend was travelling there on business, so I had him get two loaves for me and ship them 3000 miles across the country. No one else makes bread like Tartine. 

The crumb is definitely like what you see in the video - very moist, pillowy and springy, but with the right amount of resistance and chewiness. The contrast of the crumb with the crunchy, bold, and shattering crust is amazing. As with any bread, these textural qualities are at their maximum when the bread is fresh out of the oven, and the crumb does harden as the days go by. My favorite part is tearing off a chunk right after they pass it over the counter. 

The thing that bothers me about Tartine's country loaf is how they achieve the aroma. It's a deep, caramelized aroma, almost like malt syrup or caramelized onions. I have never been able to get remotely close to it no matter how I manipulate the process. Maybe it's their deck ovens that give Tartine loaves their distinct aromatic profile?

I've also noticed since moving out of the san francisco bay area that my starter is less sour and has more undesirable vinegar-like notes. I've tried various things, like retarding the dough in the fridge or manipulating starter hydration, to get the right balance of tanginess, but it just tastes different. In my experience, it's the flavor, not the texture, that is most difficult to capture in the Tartine country loaf. 

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

awww....stop it :) Your making me very jealous!

I bought a bread in Sydney from Iggy's bread - very similar looking crust to the Tartine. Oh the flavour! Just as you described. I cannot seem to reproduce anything like it .... must be those steam injected ovens. I imagine that will be closest I will get to tasting anything like Tartine's bread.

Cheers,
Phil 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I would say it would be the local flour he was using. He mentions that it is 85% extraction flour - think miche. It would bring very different characteristics than that of his light country bread. It does look nice! My kind of bread :)

Cheers,
Phil

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

several times.  I get something worthwhile out of it each time.  It changes the way I make bread and how I treat it.  Still can't and probably won't ever make any bread even remotely that well but heck, the planets may all line up and......and the sun may not shine.....and the wind won't blow......and it won't stop raining.........