The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Country bread

Nomad Bread's picture
Nomad Bread

Tartine Country bread

(Note: copied from my actual blog)


This is actually my first attempt at the basic country bread from 'Tartine' (with an exception, see note below). I read and re-read the sections on bulk-fermentation and shaping, until it was etched in my brain, sure not to mess it up. So, of i went...


3rd Test Formula - Basic Country Bread


Final Dough:

900g Strong white bread flour

100g Wholemeal flour

200g Levain

700g H2O*

20g Salt


Baker's percentage (of total formula, i.e. including the levain):

1,100 flour (100%)

800g water (73%)

20g salt (2%)


*Exceptional Note: I omitted the additional 50g of water asked for in the book (that goes in with the salt after autolyse), more out of caution than anything else. At this point I still didn't fully understand how British flour works compared to US equivalents, hence the hesitation. After having backed this bread again, and slowly mastering the shaping techniques described in the book, I have no qualms of re-incorporating more water into the recipe.


Method (this time with some more detail):

  • Mix the levain with about 90% of the water, then add all the flour and mix well until the flour has absorbed all the water.
  • Let the dough rest for about 30min. (autolyse stage)
  • Add the remaining water with the salt and squish into the dough and incorporate well.
  • Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled plastic container for the first stage of fermentation (bulk-fermentation stage). This is probably the most important part of the whole process. Give the dough time to rise and, with 'stretch and fold' turns every half an hour, time to develop strength. Take it easy on the turns after about the second hour (the dough needs a good 3.5-4hrs in total of bulk fermentation), as you don't want to destroy the wonderful work the CO2 is doing to give your crumb that nice open texture.
  • After the last turn (of stretch and fold), let the dough rest for a further 30min. Now the dough is ready for the first shaping.
  • Let the dough ooze out of the container and cut it into two equal-sized pieces. This is the trickiest part of the whole process, so listen carefully, je ne vais pas répéter deux fois, I won't repeat it twice.
  • To avoid adding loads of flour into your wet sticky dough (and changing the formula as a result), cover the working area of the bench with either some odourless vegetable oil, or as I prefer to do, with olive oil. Do the same with your bench knife and make sure the surface is kept oily for the duration of the shaping process. Have a small bag of AP flour at hand for your other hand. 
  • Carefully pre-shape the doughs into balls and bench rest for about 30min.
  • Now comes the final shaping. The special way of shaping the (almost) flat disc into a firm boule is illustrated clearly in the book, and involves multiple horizontal and vertical folds, so that, what eventually will be the outer top surface of the loaf, holds enough tension to keep its shape during the final prove in the fridge, and to spring nicely in the oven when ready to bake.
  • Finally cover a proving basket or linen towel covered bowl with enough rice flour (works best for me) to avoid sticking, and swiftly and carefully transfer the round dough into the bowl.
  • Prove in the fridge for 15-17hrs.
  • The next day, pre-heat the oven as hot as it goes, i.e 250°C, with the dutch oven/combo cooker inside, for at least an hour.
  • When ready to bake, flip the bread onto a baking paper covered oven peel or sheet, and quickly slash with lame or razor blade. Transfer into combo cooker and cover. Place back into oven and bake covered for 30min. Don't be tempted to uncover before that. Patience!
  • Then uncover the lid, and put back into oven and back for a further 30min, until the crust is dark brown with some burnt edges.
  • Let cool on wire rack.Et manger.





Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

It looks great.  That's a nice, crackly looking crust.  

pmccool's picture

Well done.


dabrownman's picture

Tartine loaf to me!  Well done.  I think this bread with around 10% whole grains at 77% hydration has bigger holes but this one will be better for sandwiches and the holes don't taste like much if you ask me:-)

Well done and happy baking!

Nomad Bread's picture
Nomad Bread

everyone for all your comments, especially 'ansoni' for your advice.

and I totally agree 'dabrownman' re. the 'open crumb' obsession with some. ok some open structure is nice, but a slice of bread with hardly any bread in it... come on! defeats the whole purpose of a tartine!hello!

wait till you guys see my next attempt with higher WW %. stay tuned.