Tartine Testing

So have been meaning to type some words on a lovely book I recently acquired called Tartine bread; penned by a baker called Chad Robertson and pal (who both surf so they must be good).

It’s the story of a search for the perfect sourdough in a little corner of California.

It’s both about efficiency in making that perfect sourdough (refine refine refine) but undoubtedly a labour of love with no corners cut (hand knead, hand fold, time & method).

Good things don’t take shortcuts.

There’s a lot to learn from these beautiful pages.

Good words.

Reflecting on it (and trying it!), Tartine bread has a few key factors:-

A young leavain = subtle sourness
The bread made at Tartine often features a young leavain, where an older bit of sourdough culture is bulked up over a short period and not left to sour before inoculating and rising the main dough. This fresh lively bit of levain gives a subtle sourdough flavour which if proofed right (we like cold, long and strong) is well rounded. Compare this to using an old leavain bulked up over a long period (say overnight) which gives a strong “I’m a sourdough and proud of it” flavour.

A wet leavain = amazing crumb
The bread made at Tartine is not for the dough shy – these are high hydration doughs. Your typical dough would be (in bakers percentages) 60%, which is easy to work and gives a good crumb. Tartine doughs are 70% and upwards! But as a fellow tweeter put (sorry I forget who) the wetter the better, as you get a mighty open crumb (I.e. lots of holes!)

A dutch oven = a DIY wood oven environment
Tartine definitely pushes the wood fired oven mindset of the perfect environment to bake the perfect sourdough. But not everyone has a wood fired oven (us included, but not for long….) so it suggests a Dutch oven (I.e. bake your loaf in a closed environment within a domestic oven, like a le-creuset etc) to give oven spring for the first part of the bake – and let that mighty open crumb express itself. We did a Tartine test one with a dutch oven, one without – it was chalk and cheese; the Dutch oven boule achieving substantially more oven spring.

There’s way more than these three – but instead of more words from me il leave you with some pictures of some of our Tartine testing (which will be featuring in the doughies launch) – and an awesome video that captures the spirit of Tartine.

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Tartine Bread from 4SP Films on Vimeo.

4 thoughts on “Tartine Testing”

  1. Ha why not? Bread and beer do go very well together…traditionally the baker would be next door to the brewer, so as to skim off his yeast and make bread with it.

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