Tartine Basic Country Bread
As noted in a recent thread, my wife gave me 3 books for Christmas, including Tartine and Forkish's WFSY. I read the books cover to cover and decided my first attempt from those would be Tartine Basic Country Bread.
Now, as also noted in reply to a comment in that thread, I can not handle 75% hydration with the flour I use:, Robin Hood All Purpose White Unbleached. Maybe it's the flour, maybe it's my lack of skills at handling the dough, maybe a combination of both. So I used 5% Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten to add to the gluten structure and firm it up a bit.
Here are the results of my first attempt:
I am still playing with oven times and temps, but always pull the bread once it's 210 deg F internal or higher, so it's not as dark as I would like:
It blistered beautifully (if you like blisters on bread):
The crumb came out fantastic, and had a wonderful texture:
The holes have a pearlescent look to them like I've not seen in my bread to date, but has been common since I baked this loaf a few days ago:
So, all in all, I was thrilled with this first attempt and what I consider one of the "Holy Grails" of bread.
I have to say I love his method of mixing the levain right in with the dough at first, then adding the salt after a rest of ~ 30 mins.
Actually, it is darn perfect! It was a really good idea to add VWG to your dough until you get used to handling wet dough. The Robin Hood flour you use is just fine. That's what I used to use. I have moved on to Rogers no additives unbleached flour mostly because I can get 20 lbs bags and it seems to handle just about the same as the unbleached RH flour.
You will get used to handling sticky dough. It doesn't mean that you will be able to shape it without getting dough all over your hands but it won't bother you so much when it happens. It happened to me last night! Oh well, add flour to the counter and shape away. Then use a scrubby to get the dough off my hands.
As to dark baking, this is what I do: Bake in a preheated covered Dutch oven at 500F for 20 minutes, then 10 minutes at 450F, then I remove the lid and let it go till it is dark. In the small boules I baked yesterday, that was an extra 15 minutes. In the larger boules that I make every weekend, it takes an extra 30 minutes. I bake till it is as dark as I want it and then check the temperature to make sure it reached at minimum 205F. The bread will not dry out if you leave in the oven till it is nice and dark.
Where do you buy this Rogers flour? I'd guess it's from a local mill? If I remember, you live on the prairies.
Since that loaf was baked, I've continued to play with temps and times.
With the Lodge combo cooker, I find the bottom crust gets so dark and thick it's barely edible.
So, I had this success this morning with a loaf of plain white with 66% hydration for a friend, it was so nice I actually didn't want to give it to her, he he.
I put it in the cooker preheated to 500 deg (checked with oven thermometer) for 15 minutes. Took it out and placed it back directly on the oven rack, still at 500. Let bake for 10 minutes, turned 180 deg and left it for another 10 minutes.
Note the back right loaf in that picture, that was my 2nd attempt at the "Fendu" shape.
The 2 loaves that are resting between shapings on the board went in later but they were for a good friend and his wife and kids. The kids love it but don't like a crispy crust so I intentionally left them light.
and I am in Thunder Bay which is at a fair distance from the prairies. I forgot to mention that I have a couple of pizza stones on the bottom rack of my oven to shield the bottom of my pots. I was having an issue with burnt bottoms until I started doing that.
That loaf looks great! You got amazing oven spring! I love the fendu loaf. I haven't tried that shape at all.
I do the same thing -- pizza stone on the rack below. That completely solved my burned bottoms.
We don't have that chain here and I've searched high and low for bulk flour, or bigger bags than the 5 kg I buy. Even asked at the bakeries and they all looked at me like I was nuts.
Yeah, at least a few miles!!!!!!
That one went to my lawyer. He wanted one with a different shape. Normally I do boules and batards with various slash patterns. That one actually looks a tad vulgar.
that supplies restaurants? Here we also have something called the Wholesale Club where large quantities of stuff can be bought. They are affiliated with the Real Canadian Super Store where you can also get larger quantities of some items.
Yes, but nothing edible, hardware only.
I get 20kg sacks of Rogers Flour at Costco for below wholesale prices. I usually use their Silver Star bread flour (which is a commercial bakery bread flour) as well as their coarse whole wheat. As far as I know, the flour is milled in Armstrong BC, which is probably why they sell it at Costco here in Victoria. Sometimes I mix it with all-purpose flour if I want a more tender crust; works a treat!
CostCo here has 10 & 20 KG bags of flour, don't remember the brand, but it's bleached flour.
I buy the 5KG bags of Robin Hood for $9.99. Price isn't bad, it works out to less than a buck a loaf, but I'd just prefer to buy bulk if I could.
Strange that they only have bleached flour. It seems that there is very little bleached flour available here on the West Coast! The Rogers Silver Star bread flour I buy here at Costco is $11.99 for 20 kg, so a much better price than most supermarkets. Do you have something like Bulk Barn where you live?
Yes, several in town, an hours drive away, but there quite often. That's where I buy VWG when I can't find Bob's, and also other small quantities of other flours as well; rye, spelt, etc.
Basically, all purpose white unbleached there is more expensive than the Robin Hood I buy in 5 KG bags.
Now that being said, I have never asked if they would sell me a 50 lb sack, or however they get it in, so that may be worth a try. Also, now that I think of it, I've never checked there for unbleached bread flour, another option.
Wifey's gonna have me committed!!!!
One thing you might try is to talk to any small local bakeries and see if you can buy a sack of bread flour from them. I get my organic unbleached flour from a local bakery, and also had made arrangements to buy commercial (non-organic) bread flour through another local bakery (but it ended up that the same flour was quite a bit cheaper at Costco than buying it through the wholesale distributor - one of the quirks of living on an Island and paying shipping costs).
Roger's Flour can be bought at Sobey's too, and even before Sobey's bought Safeways.
Roger's is my go-to ever since I learned that Robin Hood's Whole Wheat flour isn't actually Whole Grain (lax Canadian law lets them get away with it). Roger's Whole Wheat Flour is indeed Whole Grain Whole Wheat. Roger's Rye Flour is whole grain as well and pretty great. All we buy now is Roger's: gotta vote with your dollar...
At my local FreshCo in North Bay, ON, they sell 10KG bags of Rogers Unbleached for 8.99. The Compliments (store brand) is a buck cheaper and works pretty good for artisan style breads as well
The Compliments (store brand) is a buck cheaper
Is that store associated with Sobeys? Last week I bought 5 kg of Sobeys Compliments unbleached and I'm pleased with results.
Yes it is. FreshCo is Sobeys' value store chain, similar to Loblaws' No Frills or Metro's Food Basics
The store brand products are usually of decent quality it is just that you may not get the same product in that package next time you buy it. Often store brands are name brands in a different package. They put out a tender for flour along with a spec sheet and then the manufacturer that can meet that at the best price will be bagging it. Six months or a year later the contract might go to another supplier and so on. The quality should always be good but could have some variation.
Good point! I honestly probably wouldn't notice with the style of baking I do (I have a super relaxed attitude towards consistency, I am constantly tweaking and just kind of accept the results. Something I should probably work on lol). I guess the store brand would probably be a good choice if on a budget, but should lean towards the branded if a consistent is more desired.
at least a couple of times in the past six months or so. Same price for reg. AP, unbleached AP and WW. I bought the latter two and would do so again.
Fwiw, in the ~3 years I've baked regularly, I've never seen either unbleached AP or WW from RH, Five Roses or any store brand at this price point.
unless you were meaning to get a stone anyway. I use an aluminum cookie sheet, sometimes on the rack below, sometimes sit the loaves directly on it. If I leave the sheet in too long, the loaf bottoms come out lighter than the tops.
There's a few of these posted here and there. Is there a list some where, so people like me, can understand what you're talking about?
WFSY = Water Flour Salt Yeast, which is the name of the book Ken Forkish wrote
VWG = Vital Wheat Gluten, which is a very high protein flour, usually ~ 72%. Basically, it adds to the gluten structure of the dough.
Actually, it's FWSY (Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast). :) Best thing to do is use the search box, top right, to find things.
I hate it when that happens.
I actually already have two, one is new from my daughter and the other is well used and seasoned, and has a permanent home in the oven. I use it when baking nearly anything, it acts like a heat sink and helps stabilize the oven temperature when the door is opened.
As for the bottom over-browning, I didn't make myself clear above. Now that I remove the loaf from the bottom of the cooker and just place it directly on the rack 2 slots above the stone, that problem has gone away. The loaf now browns evenly.
Next time I do a few loaves, probably Saturday, I'll post pics showing the bottom.
I use RH as well as Five Roses fairly often; in case you didn't know, they're both from the same manufacturer. I use them to bake 70-75% hydration loaves "all the time". Note that in these bakes, the AP almost always accounts for at least 2/3 of the total flour, so I can't speak to recipes with higher proportions of other flours.
While I don't have a lot of experience with VWG, I suspect you don't need to use nearly as much as the 5% you stated. According to their customer service a couple of years ago, the AP was 12% protein. VWG is roughly 75-80% gluten, so when you add 5%, the gluten level of your AP+VWG becomes nearly 16%. As a point of reference, they told me that RH bread flour is 13%.
Just to be clear, if you prefer very high-gluten bread, you don't have to use less VWG. Just offering this info in case you weren't aware.
No, I didn't know that. I've seen 5 Roses here once in a while, but only in the larger stores. Robin Hood basically "rules the Rock" when it comes to flour.
As for VWG, from the info on the bags, Bob's Red Mill has 72% protein (as does the stuff from the Bulk Store) and Robin Hood has 12%. I've never seen unbleached bread flour here.
As for the math I did to come up with the 5%, let's assume the max protein required (or recommended) is 15% for "strong or bread" flour:
1000 gms of 15% protein flour is 150 gms of protein.
5% VWG of 1000 gms of total flour = 50 gms X 72% = 36 gms
95% APW of 1000 gms of total flour = 950 gms X 12% = 114 gms
114 + 36 = 150
Now, I have had success with as low as 3.33% on an otherwise all-white loaf. Here's a picture of the pre-shaped balls that have been resting 25 minutes.
And here's a shot of an impressive failure with the identical procedure except for omitting the VWG:
As noted above, I didn't know if it was my skills (or lack thereof), the flour or a combination of both. But if you say RH Unbleached White is good for 70-75% hydration, well, that shows it's my skills that are lacking. ANd being a Newb to sourdough, I have no issue admitting that.
Now, going forward, I intend to stay with 3% VWG for a few batches of the 1:2:3 ratio method, (which gives 71% or 66%, depending on how the math is done) and gradually work my way down to omitting VWG completely as my technique gets better.
plain ol' bleached is what I use for Tartine's basic recipe. Except for some rye blended into the whole grain component, it's our everyday bread. $7.50 per 10-kilo bag is hard to pass up, so that's what I use.
Once every few loaves I commit sacrilege and de-gas firmly for tidier sandwiches. The flour is strong enough if you develop gluten thoroughly.
Yes, I agree with you elodie. I almost always develop my dough in a mixer now (I make largish batches and have small, arthritic hands), and the dough ends up much stronger, the structure is better and the crumb is lovely. When I do a single loaf I do it by hand and probably not for long enough, and it usually ends up flatter and more dense. Contrary to what some folks think, my dough done in the mixer for a good 6 to 8 minutes does not result in a tight, even crumb - quite the contrary. As long as I handle the dough fairly gently after it has bulk fermented (and developed the gases), the crumb is open, chewy and glossy for unenriched, higher-hydration doughs. Some flours take quite a bit of work to get to the stage of having strong gluten development.
I don't use a mixer, but I know exactly what you mean about working the dough nearly to the point of abuse. I make single loaves by hand, but bake every day. It's kind of amazing, the contrast in touch between initial mix which can be almost violent, compared to the gentleness of shaping.
While I think your handling and methods are more than enough for Tartine with plain AP, you're the boss of your bread. Your palate is happy, all is well!
I did this last night.
Basic process, 1:2:3 recipe:
Mix 750 gms of RH AP unbleached flour with 500 gms water @ 85 deg F on low speed 'till a shaggy mass formed, cover and autolyse for 30 mins
Mix in 250 gms of Levain (50 gms mature starter, 100 gms water, 75 gms RH WW flour and 25 gms of RH AP unbleached left @ ~ 61-63 deg F for 10 hours) on low speed 'till incorporated.
Mix in 14 gms fine sea salt, still on low speed.
Knead with dough attachment on speed 4 (of 10) 'till dough kept sides of bowl clean and was just barely sticking to bottom, which turned out to be 7 mins.
Move to a glazed ceramic bowl and bulk ferment in oven with light on (~ 83 deg F) for 3 hours.
(NOTE: I did one S&F after 30 mins, just to see what the dough felt like. It felt softer, tackier and more fluid than what I've been used to lately)
Roll out to board, preshape and rest 20 mins. Here, the dough flattened. Again, more than I've been used to lately, but still, to me anyway, acceptable as the edges stayed rounded.
Shape a boule and a batard and place in bannetons, cover with shower cap and rest on at 73 deg F for 90 mins, then into a plastic bag and into the fridge over night (10 hours). I should note here that while the dough was slacker than I've become used to, it was not difficult to work with.
8:00 AM; bake right out of the fridge 1 at a time. Lodge combo cooker preheater to 500 deg F, bake covered 15 mins, remove from cooker, place iron on bottom rack and loaf in middle of oven directly on rack for 8 mins, turn 180 deg, then another 8 mins. Then 15 mins for oven to stabilize between loaves, repeat.
Here, the dough flattened more than the bread I've been baking lately, but not to a point of being gross. Each loaf is wider than normal and not as high, but still very nice oven spring.
The crumb is tighter but more uniform than what I've been baking lately.
Now, my wife, who rarely comments on my bread and has never given an unsolicited comment (except to laugh when I have an impressive failure) told me this morning this is by far the best tasting loaf I've ever done. So I'm glad I've been making a habit of taking notes on what I do with each batch, because it is delicious.
Now, a question for you LL; you said you use the mixer nearly exclusively. Do you do any S&Fs at all after using the mixer or do you just let it rest to pre- and shaping?
Those are lovely! The crumb is very open for that hydration. Do you and your wife like the flavour and texture better than higher hydration recipes, do you think?
In this particular loaf, I loved both. Wifey isn't fussy with the texture on any of my breads, she says she finds them "gummy" like they're not baked enough.
Now, this loaf was so flavourful I think I hit timing perfect at all stages, and maybe even the planets aligned.
I use the mixer (either the big one or the small one) to mix the ingredients for most of my breads. For the naturally-leavened breads (the sourdoughs), I will usually let it ferment at room temperature after mixing for four or five hours (depending, of course, on the percentage of levain in the dough, and how active it was when I started). During this room-temperature period I will usually do 2 to 4 stretch and folds until I'm satisfied with the feel of the dough. I'll let it sit undisturbed for at least an hour before I put it in the fridge to bulk ferment. If it's a yeast bread (made with a pre-ferment) I'll let it bulk ferment at room temperature for a couple of hours, doing one stretch and fold before putting it in the fridge. Usually, anyway. :)
What do you use to feed your starter?
currently are 2 parts Robin Hood AP bleached, to 1 part each, dark rye, and stone ground whole wheat. The whole grain flours are from Grain Process, I think. Occasionally it gets leftover scraps of spelt, durum, khorasan, etc.
My starter is 7-8 yrs old however, and travelled a bunch, so it's not allowed the luxury of being finicky about its diet.
Thanks. What hydration?
When my baking schedule is regular as it is now, hydration is 100%. The kitchen is cool in winter, so it can just sit out at 15-18C. I don't always build a separate levain. For example in the Tartine recipe, I use my mutt starter directly unless it's been recently fed with scraps.
The total whole grain contribution however is the same as the recipe. A portion is fermented in the starter. My first several loaves, I built a white levain, but I honestly can't taste the difference. I do think the dough develops better with softened bran in the starter.
I had a new starter that I made while writing a blog post about starter and was wondering what to do with it, so I tried your formula 2 days ago, feeding X2 a day. This thing has become mutant and seems to have a life all it's own! I went to bed last night ~ 12:30 and always feed right before bed. 7:00 AM this morning I checked on my starters and this one had already risen to max and was 1/2 way down again. So I took 90 gms of it anyway and made a loaf of white with a 72% hydration, then I fed the starter again.
This is the starter after 3 hours, with the band indicating the level after feeding:
The loaf I baked with it was also mutant, it was like it didn't want to stop rising. Here are two loaves I baked a couple of hours apart. The one on the left is the one made with my clone of your starter formula, that was over-ripe, and is only ~ 75 gms heavier than the one on the right. I've never seen oven spring like that.
I don't have a picture of the crumb. My lawyer's secretary wanted it, she's a family friend.
How long does it take your starter to rise and fall, and what is the temp where it lives? Do you get oven spring like that?
I'd guess the last one I made was about 50-75 loaves into my learning process, but we all learn and improve in different ways and follow our own individual learning curves, so that's just me; don't take it as any kind of guideline. The key point is that as you continue to bake, your ability to "read" and handle dough will improve.
I think that the large majority of people learn better / faster when they follow a step by step plan, which seems to be what you have in mind to do, so I'm confident you'll be fine. The question is when, not if.
Well, I guess it's the tradesman in me that makes me do that. I like to learn with my hands but having a guide makes things so easy whenever we do anything new to us.