The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First try at Tartine County Bread. Success!

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DivingDancer's picture
DivingDancer

First try at Tartine County Bread. Success!

I started baking sourdough just about two years ago.  In the past two years I've made a lot of bread, and have worked on refining techniques with just a few basic recipes.  I've moved toward higher hydration dough.  I've worked on my loaf forming techniques.  I've discovered the impact that proper loaf slashing can have on the outcome of the bake.  And I've played with a half dozen techniques for getting steam into the oven during the bake.  In the past few months my bread has been pretty good!

Then, about 6 weeks ago I found myself in San Francisco, and decided to make the pilgrimage to Tartine to see what all the fuss is about.  Yeah.  That's good bread!  While I was there I picked up a copy of Tartine Bread, and sat in my hotel room that night and read it cover to cover.  When I returned home a few days later I had an Amazon box sitting on the doorstep with my new cast iron combo cooker.  I started on a new whole-wheat based starter that afternoon.  Last night I deemed the starter ready for prime time, and started my first build.

Today I took my first swing at Tartine Country Bread.  It turns out that not only can Chad Robertson make great bread, but he knows how to describe his technique damned well too!  When I pulled the first loaf from the oven, I was dumbstruck!  The dark shiny crust!  The blistering that has evaded me for the better part of two years!  The open soft crumb!  I'm a believer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll take that for my first attempt!  And the requests are already rolling in for more bread. 

 

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

Congratulations, DD, you nailed it!

Cathy

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

Nice loaf, DD!  That is one quintessentially Robertsonian crumb if there ever was one!  Just like from his bakery.  I too made my first pilgrimage to the shrine at 18th & Guerrero a few weeks ago and damn if your crumb isn't indistinguishable from that of the Country Loaf we picked up and enjoyed that day.  The place and its product are not over-rated, are they?  Well, you don't need to go there now.  You've perfected it at home.  And count your blessings:  Not all Tartine Bread readers find The Guru's teachings as effective as your experience suggests!  Maybe your couple years of SD experience beforehand prepped you for such spectacular success on your first shot at this great bread.

Happy baking,

Tom

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Very well baked. And, very well photographed. Nicely done.

Kiseger's picture
Kiseger

I would love to get an oven spring like that, well done - this looks fantastic!!  Great photos too.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

$10 a loaf Chad charges and yours is just a s good.  Just perfect in every way.  The best looking Tartine bread I have seen n quite some time.  Well done and

Happy Baking

DivingDancer's picture
DivingDancer

Thanks for the great comments!  I was pretty blown away when I took it out of the oven.

I'll agree with Tom that there's more to it than just following the directions in the book.  There's a lot of technique that we have to learn, isn't there?  With a few years' worth of our own learning and experimenting, I think it adds the subtle level of detail that's missing from all of those great photographs in Tartine Bread and other books.  And it sure is nice when it all comes together!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

It was my first hard cover baking book, and my first attempt at baking a shaped loaf.  And, simply following the directions gave me great bread. Not quite as great as what you accomplished on your first go, but I came out with bread that was so good, I was told by a retired retail baker that I could open my own shop ... of course, I was a one-trick pony and doubt that making a great loaf of bread would make such an endeavor worthwhile!

DivingDancer's picture
DivingDancer

I've often thought that I'd love to spend just one day in a commercial bakery (NOT Wonder Bread, but actual artisan bakery), to see what's involved in doing this on a commercial scale.  I know how much time and effort goes into making just a few loaves each week.  It would be interesting to see what is done to scale up to commercial volume, wouldn't it?