Friday, March 18, 2011

Tartine Country Bread

I saw a video of Chad Robertson in his shop Tartine in California. You can feel he loves to bake good artisan bread. In this video he talked about the importance of slow and cool proofing the loaves. He said it gives the bread more flavor.
So I went for Tartine bread; with the explanation of Cathy of Breadexperience. She made a real photo explanation. Thank you very much Cathy. I’ve learned something important and this helped me a lot. She wrote to get your hands wet before touching wet and sticky dough, to prevent it from sticking too much to your hands. This tip helped me folding it into beautiful soft and smooth dough. This will help me next time making ciabatta’s again. That’s sticky dough!

And another great tip by Cathy is how to check if you starter is ready. She wrote ‘to find out if it’s ready, test to see if it floats in water. Drop a spoonful into a bowl of moderate room-temperature water. If it sinks, it is not ready to use and needs more time to ferment and ripen’

Cathy uses a Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker and I hope to find one in Holland next time we visit. It will be heavy to carry it back home, but sending it to Thailand will cost more than the pan itself. Till that time I will use my flowerpot as always. Cathy reduces her oven to 230 C during baking time. But, the thermometer in my gasoven doesn’t work properly. So, I bake all my bread on the highest temperatures, no idea how high this is. They never turn black or even dark brown, so it works for me. When I need lower temperatures I use the electric oven.

I made two loaves, one white and one with a bit of whole wheat. In this recipe I write about the white one. I was very careful with adding extra water, I added it bit by bit.
I had used retarded proofing before, but now I begin to understand the reason why. Especially now summer has begun in Thailand. During the day there is no place in the house under 30˚C. This will change my baking days.

This is what I used:
350 grams plus 25 grams lukewarm water
100 grams leaven
500 grams white all purpose flour
10 grams salt

This is what I did:
The day before baking, prepare the leaven. I made a 100% mature (50% water and 50% flour) starter. When it increased enough I moved it to the refrigerator for the night. Early next morning, thanks to fighting cats, I took it out. It was warm enough when I was ready to start making the bread.

Cathy says: The next morning, the volume should’ve increased by 20 percent. To find out if it’s ready, test to see if it floats in water. Drop a spoonful into a bowl of moderate room-temperature water. If it sinks, it is not ready to use and needs more time to ferment and ripen.

Mixing the Dough:
Weigh 350 grams of 26 C water and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add 100 grams leaven and stir it to disperse. Add 500 grams of flour in the bowl and mix thoroughly by hand until you do not see any bits of dry flour.
Let the dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes. Don’t skip the rest period. It allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell, and then relax into a cohesive mass.

After the dough has rested, add the 10 grams of salt. Incorporate the salt into the dough by squeezing the dough between your fingers. I added the extra 25 grams of water in little bits at a time. After a bit was incorporated I added the next bit.

Fold the dough on top of itself in a container. I made my hands wet with some water to prevent from sticking to the dough. Grab with your hands under the dough and lift it out of the container. Carefully stretch the dough in the air. Be gently to avoid pressing gas out of the dough. Fold right side over left side and do the same with top and bottom. Place it back in the container and cover with plastic.
I folded 4 times each half hour. Let it rest for the last hours. It depends on the temperature in your kitchen how long you need.
Shaping the Loaf:
Pull the dough out of the container onto a floured work surface. Stretch the dough to a square. Fold like an envelope; make sure the floured side stays on the outside. Turn the dough with the seam side on the work surface. Shape into a ball. Cover the ball and let it rest for 30 minutes.

For final shape, don’t use flour, the ball needs to get a bit of grip on the work surface and close the seam while you keep on turning it. Cup your hand. Gently shape it into a ball.
I like this video and now I can made beautiful boulles too.

Proofing the loaf:
I placed the loaf in a banneton, floured with rye flour. Placed it in a plastic bag and let it proof for 1 hour. I placed the bag in the refrigerator for the night.

Next morning; bakingday:
On the blog of Farine she writes about starting the first loaf in a cold oven. This time I pre-heated the oven to 260 C and prepared for steaming with the flowerpot. Just before the oven was hot enough I took the bag out of the refrigerator. Placed the loaf on parchment and scored a square on the top of the loaf. The tricky part was removing the hot flowerpot and placing the loaf a quick as possible back in the oven. Placed the flowerpot on top and closed the oven. The first 20 minutes I baked the loaf with steam in the flowerpot. The last 20 minutes without steam and without flowerpot and parchment. I gave the loaf another 5 minutes with a cracked door and the oven off.

Let the loaf cool on a wire rack.

I found this great explanation by Cathy of Breadexperience
I will send this Tartine to Yeastspotting

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  1. I love how it came out. Very beautiful! How was the crumb? Isn't it interesting that bread will rise and bake equally well starting from cold or starting from hot? The reason I like to start from cold is that it makes it less tricky to transfer the dough to the Dutch oven and it may also save a bit on the energy bill...

  2. Hi Farine, Thank you. Next time I will start from a cold oven too. I also like saving on the energy bill. The temperature in our house is around 38 C during the day, so I will use retard proofing more.
    The crumb was open and tasteful. We ate it and I forgot to take a photo. This Tartine is on my list of favorite breads.

  3. The bread looks beautiful!
    I like to retard bread dough in the fridge but I do it normally with yeast breads. I was always afraid of retarding sourdough bread because my stomach reacts very sensitv on bread that is very sour. Is the sourdough bread very sour because of the retarding? If not, I would like to try it, too.

  4. Thank you Stephanie,
    We don’t think my sourdough breads taste sour. I always use 100% hydration starter(1:2:2 starter:flour:water). We tasted no difference in sourness between retard proofing and proofing at kitchen temperature.

    I read Jeffrey Hamelman says in his book ‘Bread’ to add a little bit of yeast to make it less sour. I hope this helps a bit.

  5. @Connie: Ok, I will be brave and try the retard proofing. If the bread turns out to sour my boyfrind has to eat it ;-) I normally add some yeast to my dough, something like 0.5% fresh yeast - that really helps to keep the bread on the less sour side.

  6. I'd like to make this bread. I'm confused about the following from the recipe:
    "Weigh 350 grams of 26 C water and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add 100 grams leaven and stir it to disperse. Pour 350 grams of water in a bowl and add 500 grams of flour in the bowl and mix thoroughly by hand until you do not see any bits of dry flour."

    It sounds like that's a total of 700 grams of water in the recipe, is that correct?


  7. Thank you Dick for showing me my mistake. I changed it in all the Tartine recipes. You use 350 grams of water and the optional of 25 grams later on. Enjoy this bread like we did.

  8. No problem, Connie. Thanks for the update. I'll be all over this recipe this week.


  9. Late last spring, I saw the Tartine video, showed it to my husband, who immediately ordered the Tartine book to give to me for my birthday. We've just finished reading it - what a great book! - and I'm screwing up my courage to capture yeast again. (I accidentally on purpose murdered our last flour-eating pet a couple of years ago.)

    Your Tartine looks fabulous!