The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

So, I bought Tartine Bread - the book. Praise and a bit of a rant, so...

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the hadster

So, I bought Tartine Bread - the book. Praise and a bit of a rant, so...

I need another cook book as much as I need another hole in my head.  Last count, I had several hundred cookbooks.  I've read them all, many times.

So, I resisted buying "Tartine Bread" because I've put myself on cookbook restriction.  I am not permitted to go to Barnes & Noble, and I can't spend too much time on Amazon Prime cookbook section - because I have no will power.

There was such a buzz about this book and this method, so I gave myself permission.

In truth, the wet dough, the stretch and fold, and using a dutch oven is very similar to many other books previously written.  I'm thinking about the no-knead method of over 10 years ago and all the books that have come out using that method.  Peter Reinhart, (his book "Crust & Crumb" lead me to my AHA moment), uses long slow fermentation...  In truth, there isn't anything truly new in "Tartine Bread" about the recipes, method of building and baking in home ovens.

Still, I am most certainly NOT returning the book.  I love his story.  I think most of us here have been searching for bread with an "old soul," I certainly have.  I also value all the pictures, and his in-depth instructions and photographs for shaping are wonderful.

But what I find so wonderful about this book is the whole section on what to do with the bread after its made!  And that is why I'm keeping the book.

And I want to go on record as saying this: I own Daniel Leader's book, "Bread Alone." He advises putting a few grains of commercial yeast into your starter to "attract" the wild yeast. (honestly).  And he waxes poetic about wood burning ovens.

Having cooked in a wood burning oven, I know that the SOURCE of heat does not affect the taste of the bread at all - or anything else cooked in a wood burning oven.  If it did, we would all be barbecuing and talking about hickory vs oak vs maple woods - which, btw, make a huge difference is food that is exposed to smoke from those woods.

To have Daniel Leader advise me to be mindful of using plastic wrap to help the environment while at the same time he's using TONS of wood as his fuel source, made me want to toss the book across the room.  I didn't, but I wanted to.  How many acres of trees have been cut down to satisfy Daniel's need for romance?  His web site now brags that his bakery has produced more wood fired bread than any other bakery in the US, perhaps the world.  I shutter to think of the trees cut down.

To hear Chad Robertson talk so honestly about this in his book, and the fact that he made a different choice and proved beyond doubt to his customers that the source of heat doesn't matter, well, it made me admire him and his achievements even more.

Daniel Leader is an important person in the bread world - he has contributed much.  I just wish he didn't use wood to heat his ovens.

I am sorry if I have offended any Daniel Leader fans on this blog - I just had to rant to an audience that knew what I was talking about.