The Fresh Loaf

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My second tartine loaf with some issues

Clark's picture

My second tartine loaf with some issues

This is my second tartine sourdough loaf with 70% hydration. 

My first loaf was not shaped properly, the skin of the loaf was torn and cannot hold the shape. This time I use the bench knife to shape and it much better than my first time. 

However, the crumb in the bottom is too dense, I don't how to correct this issue. My loaf was baked straight from the fridge without being "relaxed" at room temperature. 

I have a small deck oven with maximum heat for both top and bottom is 300 C. After 20 minutes, I turn down to 250 C for the last 25 minutes. 

The crust in the bottom seems not even as in the pictures. 

This is my second loaf and I know that there's a lot for me to improve. Your comment and suggestion is really appreciated.

Many thanks. 




Bread1965's picture

Dpx.. great for your second attempt!  Don't worry about the bottom not being even. These things will all work them selves out.

How are you cooking the bread? In a dutch oven, or on a baking stone?

I would also suggest you use MUCH less flour when you're shaping. That will help your bread not seem as white/floured, unless that's something you want.

I also noticed on the bottom of your loaf that you have a seam - which tells me that after you shape the dough and are ready to proof it, that you are putting the loaf buttom up into your basket from the bench (does that make sense?).  Next time, try to put your bread into your bow/basket with the seam side to come out on top when you bake. You then don't have to score (you did a lovely job) and the loaf might bloom more when you bake it..

You can also list exactly what you did to make it (with how long each step took you, and we can give you suggestions from what we see in your time schedule). 

Clark's picture

Many thanks for your encouragement bread1965, it makes me more confident in the next baking!

I have taken note when making this bread and here's my process:



1. 12:30: Making leaven 

Add 35g starter + 110 gr whole wheat + 110 gr all purpose flour

The instruction in Tartine Bread for the basic country loaf is to let it sit at room temperature around 6 hours or until it increases 20% in volume. 

However, I finish making leaven in around 3 hours because the room temperature where I live is high: 27-28C with 80-82% humidity. 

2. 3:45 PM 

Mixing all ingredients except for 50 grams water and salt

Let the dough rest from 4:00 PM to 4:35 PM

3. 4:35 PM

After the resting period, add 20 grams salt and the 50 grams water to the dough

4. 4:45 PM

Bulk Fermentation, stretch and fold every 30 minutes. In the last hour, I stretch and fold gently to avoid degasses. 

5. 8:30 PM

Divide and shape.

You are right, I use too much rice flour in this step because I was afraid I could not handle the sticky dough. I need to reduce the flour next time


6. 8:45 PM

Bench rest 

7. 9:15 PM

Final shaping 

8. 9:30 PM

Let the dough proofing at room temperature 1 hour then cover and place in refrigerator overnight. 

9. 7:00 AM next morning.

Preheat the oven to 300C in 20 minutes and bake at this temperature in 20 minutes before reducing it to 230C.

I put the loaf in the preheated cast iron and using a hand sprayer to steam it in the first 5 minutes.

You are right again, I put the seam up when proofing, and as you know I haven't shaped well so when I put the seam up, it looks not good (with excessive of rice flour). I follow some instruction that the seam should be up so that the other side will be scored. I might try to follow your instruction in next baking to see the difference. 



Bread1965's picture

#1 When feeding your stater I assume you just left out that you're adding water too, not just flour

#2 When you place the dough in the cast iron pot try this: flip your dough onto your counter top, or on a piece of parchment paper. Then spray it with your hand sprayer - but don't spray too much, just to give it a light mist. After that, then score the top of your loaf.  Then pull the pre-heated cast iron pot from the oven, load your dough into the pot and then put the lid on the pot and load it into the oven. Don't open the oven again to add more steam - it's all inside the pot now because of the lid - nothing for you to do but wait. Twenty minutes later, open the oven and take off the lid. That will release the steam in the pot and your crust will start to dry, crisp up and go darker. Lower the oven temp and cook for another 15/20 minutes depending on how dark you like your crust and how hot your oven really is. If you have an instant read thermometer you can always check to see if your bread is done - you want an internal temperature of minimum 195-200.

#3 Don't over fold. If the dough is tight as you fold, don't force it. Let the dough take what it can. If you increase the hydration towards 75% the folds will feel a bit easier. But again, don't force it. You can even do the stretch and fold every hour if you want, instead of 30 minutes.

#4 If you use regular flour, and not rice flour, you won't get the crust looking so white - and yes, use MUCH less.

#5 If the dough seems to fight you when you pre-shape, give it 30 minutes (even up to an hour) before the final shape. If it feels floppy and soft, even after you try to make it into a taught/tight boule, then just give it 10.. or somewhere in between.

#6 There's no need to let it proof for an hour at room temp after you've done a final shape. Just put it in the fridge.

#7 In the morning, before you bake do the 'finger dent test' to see if it's ready if you have any doubt. Google will show you lots of videos of how the finger dent test works for seeing if your dough is proofed well. If it isn't, leave it out on the counter in the morning until you think it's ready..

You also might want to wait until the levain has doubled, rather than 20% increase, before adding it to your dough. I don't recall the 20% comment in the original recipe. But I believe you. Just give that a try and see the difference it makes. But then again, given how hot your environment is, maybe wait for a 50-75% increase and then use it.. it might make your process move too fast if it's too active in your high heat environment.. these are all things to play with and see how they work. Sometimes they won't.. it's all part of the process!

Good luck.. let me know when you try this again. Send me a message if you post your next attempt as I might miss it if you start a new message thread..

bake happy.. bread1965!


Clark's picture

You are right, I also add water to the starter but missing add it in the comment above. 

I'm so excited when reading your step by step feedback because those correction and suggestion are so valuable. 

Sure, I will let you know the result of my next baking with many corrections learned from you.

many thanks and happy baking bread1965!