The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine hockey pucks

winstonsmith's picture

Tartine hockey pucks

Hoping for some ideas. I found the formula on the Martha Stuart site and have tried three times and have had three strikes. My kitchen is cooler than many, with 65F being typical. I followed proofing times and when doing fold and stretch never got more than a glop. No surface tension. That was the first time. Next I proofed and stretched an hour longer. Nada. Last time I heated the oven and did the proofing at about 78F and everything else per formula. Zip. Three strikes. Is my starter (which is quite vigorous at about 6 months of age) burning through the preferment? Suggestions please. I don't want a "zilch". It's a bit frustrating because I've become competent in most other breads, but this eludes me.

gmabaking's picture

My first loaf of Tartine bread was wonderful and then, the hockey puck for the second or third! After baking lots more (this morning the one with bacon which is delicious) I've figured out a few things. Initially I was folding and stretching in the 6 quart bucket. Had something else in the bucket one day and I switched to my old, large Tupperware bowl. Much better stretchiness after the first fold.  I realized that I hadn't been reaching clear under the dough when pulling it up to stretch. I also started paying attention (compulsively I must add) to the temperature of the water. Somebody said in the winter you should use a little more starter so I tried increasing by about two tablespoonsful. Another thing I was doing was not doing initially was completing the folding three or so times within the first hour or two. Now I do them until the marks left from folding last a few minutes before sinking back into a mass of glop. My kitchen is cooler than Robertson's San Francisco kitchen so once the folding is done, I put the dough back into the bucket and put it in the oven with the light on, door ajar. Stays around 80. Usually takes about the time indicated in the recipe, often more but never has been less. I found this site helpful and refer back to it often 

A TFL adage (besides being the one about how we all make bricks now and watch the dough, not the clock.. don't give up!

cranbo's picture

Hi winstonsmith, we need more info to help with troubleshooting. 

Have you baked with this starter in other recipes before?

Have you ever made other sourdough breads successfully? 

Are you using the same starter described in the Martha Stewart recipe? 

What brands of flours are you using? 

Does your starter meet the following criteria?

  • is well-established (at least 14 days old and has lived at moderate room temp (between 65F and 75F) for that period of time)?
  • has been fed regularly (i.e., 2x or 3x per day) for the last 3 days, and is being stored at moderate room temp (between 65F and 75F) for that period of time; 
  • is active (can double within within a 4-6 hour interval) and (again!) is being stored at moderate room temp (between 65F and 75F) for the last 3 days

That said, your proofing temp is definitely cool, and with sourdough (depending on the activity of your culture) may take dramatically longer to rise. 

Tartine bread is generally pretty wet (77% hydration according to the Martha Stewart recipe); compound this with the fact that sourdough gets stickier and goopier as it ferments. This makes shaping more of a challenge. I think flour selection is important to the success of this recipe, as different flours absorb water differently and handle differently. 

If you haven't watched any of the Chad Robertson videos on youtube, check them out, there are at least 2 (the tartine promo video and the masterclass video); this will give you a better idea of dough handling and shaping with this bread. You can also see the general degree of tightness of skin that he is able to achieve (I think in part this is due to flour selection). 

I've had some problems with goopiness of this bread too. A quick fix is to reduce the water that you for the final dough somewhat (use 700-725g instead of 750g), that will give it a tighter texture but improve shapability. 


EvaB's picture

to be a smart ass, haven't you heard Hockey is cancelled for this year?

Having gotten that out of my system, I can't offer any insites except to say make sure to check the oven temp with an oven thermometer, even electric ovens can get really out of whack, generally right before the element goes on strike.

My gas oven was 25degrees colder than it should have been, which turned out to be not the thermacouple but the fact that the oven floor had come loose on one side at the back and dropped down so the oven capacity had changed. The element to heat my oven is in the top of the oven and the floor comes out totally to clean. Apparently the only time I ran the self cleaning cycle on the oven it warped the floor of the oven, so you have to fiddle for 15 minutes to get the floor to hang properly on its little hooks in the little slots in the back of the oven. ARG!!!