XXV – A Tale of the Unfaithful : My Take on Tartine’s Basic Country Bread……4 months ago!
Been clearing up old files on my PC and found photos of breads I baked ages ago and had comletely forgotten about….. One of them was Tartine’s Basic Country Bread.
Ever since I read Shiao-Ping’s blog about her ‘imitation of Chad Robertson’s Country Sourdough ’ and all the buzz following the publication of ‘Tartine Bread’ last year, I’d been so intrigued to find out how wonderful its famous bread. Thought of buying a book, but didn’t in the end after reading many reviews and contemplating for a long time. It was very interesting to read Eric’s view on the book  he posted a while ago, because that was exactly what I’d thought the book might be like and the reason why I decided not to buy.
But still, my interest in the bread itself never faltered, so I searched through the internet for the formula and found this wonderfully generous site with detailed formula . It was a God sent! (Thank you, Martha! :))
Didn’t follow its method of ‘how to start the levain’ but I just fed my starter with 50:50 = WW : Strong with hydration of 75%, as my regular starter, and increased the ratio of pre-ferment to a bit over 30%. Here’s my formula for my take.
My Take on the famous Tartine’s Basic Country Bread
Strong flour 35g
Main Dough ..... Strong 220g *
Plain 50g *
* (or 270g AP flour)
- Mix WW and strong flour for the levain ingredient. Feed the starter with it twice during 10-12 hr period before use. (1st feed = 20g flour + 15g water, 2nd feed = 50g flour + 35g water)
- Mix all of the levain with main dough flours and water until shaggy mess. Autolyse for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt over the dough and S & F in the bowl until the salt is evenly distribute. Rest for 40- 45 minutes.
- Repeat S & F in the bowl every 35 – 40 minutes over next 3 hrs until the dough increases the volume by 30% or so.
- Pre-shape and rest for 20 minutes.
- Shape and cold retard overnight.
- Take out of the fridge and leave until the dough returns to room temperature and fully proofed. (finger-poking test!)
- Pre-heat the oven to 240C with a Pyrex with lid or a cast iron/Dutch oven in it.
- Bake at 240C for 20 minutes in a covered Pyrex (or similar).
- After 20 minutes, remove the cover, lower the temperature to 200C, and bake for another 20 minutes.
Verdict : Not too sure……:p It was pleasant tasting bread with quite well balanced, gentle flavour, for sure. I can see why a lot of people like this as the daily basic bread, but tbh it was too gentle and lacked complexity of flavour I’m used to from other breads I bake regularly, I thought. It was good bread, but to be entirely honest, I didn’t find it was that sensational. Which is actually very similar thing I’d found from Hamelman’s Pain au Levain (::gasps:: BLASPHEMY!!!!) ; another bread which is very popular, but the one I only baked a few times.
I did not follow CR’s formula to a tee, so it’s quite possible I’m missing something here, I must admit.
OK….I’m open to anyone telling me off!!!
::braces herself:: :p
(Must admit it makes good sandwich bread, though, thanks to its mild flavour profile, probably....)