The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
LP1975's picture

Tartine country loaf fails

December 9, 2018 - 3:11pm -- LP1975

I’ve been baking the Tartine country loaf for a few months now, and my bakes have taken a sudden turn for the worse. I was certain I had mastered the recipe after a few glorious bakes. But suddenly I keep churning out flat, dense loaves like the one in the photo. It’s incredibly frustrating. 

I follow the recipe as instructed on the following schedule: 

Friday night: build levain with 1 tablespoon mature starter, 200 grams 50/50 wheat white and 200 grams water. 

agres's picture

PdC as a modern commercial product is based on modern commercial flours. It has more flavor than white bread, but mostly it does not interfere with the rest of the menu. For Thanksgiving, I took PdC of that school. I knew the first course would be herring – so it had to be a bread that would stand up, to the strong flavors of hearing, but would not overwhelm things like roast turkey and green bean casserole. There was also some white bread.

It was 5% fresh milled whole rye, 20% fresh milled red winter wheat, and 75 % Grain Craft Morbread flour. Morbread is a commercial flour that I like, it is a little stronger than “all purpose” and not as strong as many “bread” flours. One of the things it is blended for, is making breads that use some whole grain flour.   I use it for most of my white bread.

Nevertheless, I find that PdC disappointing.  Food of the country (as opposed to the food in Paris) typically had bigger and bolder flavors. The fresh local produce had more flavor. (See for example Honey from a Weed by Patience Gray). In the country, one can gather fresh greens out of the vineyard, while in Paris you are likely to get spinach that that was bred mostly to look pretty in the market after a truck ride. And, the country has more fresh herbs, thereby encouraging more use of herbs.

I like full flavored foods. Our garden grows rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, lavender, basil, parsley, sage, mint, limes, oranges, lemons, and others in abundance, and we use them in abundance. These foods call for full flavored breads.  

Thus, having spent much of November developing the formula for the Thanksgiving bread, I was glad to get back to my whole wheat breads.

I had been using Kamut (Khorasan wheat) for pita bread.  More recently, I have been using it for 800 gram loaves baked on the stone. The crumb is darker and more open than red spring wheat baked by the process. In fact, for the next few batches, I will be adding some rye and red winter wheat to tighten up the crumb a little. I hope that will come closer to my dream Pain de Campagne.

I have also tightened up my rules.  I use flour within 24 hours of milling. Fresh milled flour speeds all kinds of fermentations, so proofing, fermentation, and rise are much faster. Watch the dough, not the clock. Fresh milled grain has more flavor, so poolish, biga, and sourdough are not required. On the other hand, fresh milled whole grain will ferment really fast, so one can do good sour dough in 5 hours if you watch the dough and have excellent levain.

Nanzia's picture

Flours -UK vs. US

December 8, 2018 - 3:45pm -- Nanzia

I live in California and love to watch British Baking Shows.  I have noticed that, I'm breadmaking, they are using a product which they call strong flour.  I  realize there are differences,  spelt, etc., but what would be the equivalent flour in the US for "strong flour"??  Thanks, in advance, for responding. Nanzia


Portus's picture

I have been fiddling with flour types and quantities for my regular weekly bake using 123 as the base formula with an overnight proof in the fridge (~4C).  I enjoy a mix of white and whole wheat, and recently added some rimacintata.  I am really pleased with the results I am getting with 61% white, 21% whole wheat and 18% De Cecco semola rimacinata - quite a delicate, tasty and moist, but not gummy, crumb.  The main pic was (slightly over-) baked this morning, the one inserted below is from mid-October.

The famed “123” formula is such a useful template for any variety of loaves, but I think it has caused be to become less adventurous since October’s anniversary bake! New year’s resolution is to renew acquaintances with Mr Hamelman 😉


Yippee's picture

About Brod and Taylor Proofer

December 8, 2018 - 8:06am -- Yippee

Hi, all, 

I need a device that can steadily create an environment in the 50C/122F to the 65C/149F range for 3 - 48 hours.  I've used the stay-on function of a (non-digital) toaster oven but kept having "accidents" if I'm not vigilant. What are your thoughts of using a BT to do the job? Or is there a digital toaster oven that would stay on with precise temperature control?  Thanks.


mohall's picture

Baguettes--I need HELP!

December 7, 2018 - 6:32pm -- mohall

I have had two attempts to make baguettes--slavishly following Chad Robertsons' recipe in his Book 'Tartine Bread' I use a combination of poolish and leavan as he recommends.  As the photos show, the result has the shape of a baguette, but none of the structure.  Everything seems to go fine during the whole process, but what comes out of the oven is like the 'wonder bread' of baguettes.

hreik's picture

Bread Flour vs AP in Hokkaido Milk bread

December 7, 2018 - 11:30am -- hreik

Gurus, I've done 2 Hokkaido milk bread recipes in the last week.  Both very similar and an iteration on TxFarmer's recipe.  She used 1/2 AP and 1/2 Bread Flour, as did I.  Both turned out well.  Floyd, our host used AP in his yeasted version.

On the internet, I keep reading most recipes talk about using only Bread Flour b/c it will rise more.  I'm stumped as to why this should be so.
Any thoughts?



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