Tartine Country Bread without combo cooker
I just made the Tartine Country Bread for a second time. I do not have a combo cooker and thought I would share my results with alternatives.
Both times I followed Chad's recipe and process carefully, but was afraid to add all the additional water the first attempt so used about half. The first attempt I did final proof in a colander lined with floured towel, pre-heated oven with Fibrament stone and baked in 8" cake pan with stainless "magic" bowl to hold in moisture. This worked OK, and had good oven spring and slashes (square pattern) opened nicely. Crumb was not as open as I hoped based on the oven spring.
For the second attempt, I decided to try my Romertopf #111 Clay Baker. I did add all the extra water and I proofed the first loaf in the clay baker and baked starting in cold oven. Since the dough is pretty slack it spread to take the shape of the clay baker in spite of my attempt to shape with good surface tension, but had nice spring and I removed the cover after 30 min (450) and baked another 25 min which gave pretty nice color.
The second loaf was retarded in floured towel in oval wicker basket (in refer inside plastic bag) for about 6 hours to fit my schedule. I let sit on the counter for about an hour before transfering to the clay baker and baking starting in cold oven. The transfer was not as smooth as I hoped as it landed a bit sideways, but I left it alone and slashed it, one long slash which again was not perfect, but I resisted the temptation to mess with it.
Again uncovered after 30 minutes. This loaf had great oven spring and since it didn't have time to settle down into the baker it was a much more attractive shape and the slash opened and created a fantastic ear. Almost as nice as some of David's (dmsnyder) :-). Really! Both loaves had nice blistered crust.
This loaf was taken to a neighbor's for dinner and served with seasoned olive oil dipping sauce. It was a big hit! Proudest moment for a home baker is to have others compliment the results.
To summarize, best results were from proofing in basket and baking in clay baker (cold oven). I will now try this technique with Teresa's Basic White Sourdough using 100%Hydration Starter