Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tartine Country Bread, My Way


I always like to tell people new to bread baking to choose something simple. Something that won't fail. There is nothing more fantastic than pulling that first perfect loaf of bread out of the oven. It's the one thing, the only thing that will keep you baking. My father used to say: 'You need some successes so you have a reason to keep moving forward'. Daddy was always right.

So, with this wisdom ringing in my ears, I decided to bake up two loaves, one done my old-school way with a higher levain percentage, for old time's sake, yeah, and because I think it works really well with new starters so it's easy for people new to baking. I call it my Tartine Country Bread with training wheels...


Tartine Country Bread with 250g levain (a.k.a. the 'Training Wheels' loaf)

People have difficulty with the basic Tartine bread because it's really high in hydration and uses a very small amount of starter. I am all about levain-driven bread, but the starter amount must be ample to make our loaves rise properly, so even my bread below using a smaller starter/levain amount is higher than Tartine's, and I think this is as low as I am willing to go. After, all, our starter is our bread, so it deserves a presence. As well, remember that large bakeries work with a different set of variables, so we must be vigilant in our efforts to adapt our breads to our environment. Tartine has their own method for producing high-hydration breads, so you may and should adjust your hydration to fit your environment. Even using this blog where loaves are tested several times before they make it to the page, one must be able to adapt one's hydration levels and one's fermentation times because my environment is different than yours. You can adapt hydration levels in any bread by first using a little less than what a formula calls for. Once you mix up the dough, you can add more if it feels like it needs it. You can also let it autolyse and add more water during the salt-addition stage. This double hydration method allows you to achieve proper hydration unfailingly. I constantly adapt my formulae to suit the weather or the type/age of my flour. Hone your skills of adaptation and you can make any bread you like, in any weather, at any time.

(FYI, bakeries use large mixers to make their breads, and this develops gluten much more successfully with high-hydration doughs than using the hand method. We will be experimenting with this in some near future posts, but you might try using a mixer to develop the gluten in your high-hydration doughs to see if you can create a Tartine country loaf that is closer in taste and texture to Chad's).

Given all that, next I baked one for when newbies have gathered more confidence, one with a smaller levain. And lo! She ended up looking like the most gorgeous moon.


Tartine Country Bread with 150g levain (a.k.a. 'La Bella Luna') 

Training Wheels grew fabulous ears, and La Bella Luna left my friends moonstruck by her beauty. Both were fabulous in flavor with a light crumb texture, and each yielded an uber shattery crust. Hooray!

Oh how we struggled at the start but today we can do this one with our eyes closed. Damn we're good.

P.S., you don't have to be a newbie to make these two loaves. They are equally as fabulous for bakers with lots of loaves under their belts.

Have a look.

Training Wheels Loaf
This formula makes one loaf

MAKE YOUR LEVAIN

You will need:

50g 100% hydration dark rye starter (mine is made with BRM home-milled dark rye flour)
50g Community Grains hard red winter wheat flour
50g KA all-purpose flour
100g room temperature water

Mix the levain ingredients together until you reach a paste. It will be thinnish, like this:




Mine fermented for 7 hours and 20 minutes. You will know when it's ready, because it will look like this:




DOUGH DAY

You will need:

All of the levain
450g KA Bread flour
50g Community Grains hard red winter wheat flour
330g h2o
12g Diamond kosher salt

When your levain is properly fermented, mix together the levain, the flours, and the h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. It will look like this:



Autolyse for 2 hours.

After the autolyse, the dough should have expanded and look smooth and elastic like this:



Squish the salt into the dough until it's fully incorporated work the dough into a smooth mass. Now it's time for the 4-hour bulk fermentation (I got a phone call toward the end of my bulk and mine fermented for 4 hours and 30 minutes! But it was fine. Yours will ferment for about 4 hours).

Every half hour, perform a series of turns throughout the entire bulk fermentation, taking care not to deflate the dough as you near the end of bulk.

When bulk fermentation is accomplished, turn the dough out onto a workspace dusted with brown rice flour, and shape into a loose round. Let it rest. Drape with a damp paper towel to keep it from forming a skin. Mine rested for 10 minutes. 

After the bench, shape the dough into a taut boule and pop into a banneton or a bowl lined with linen that you have dusted with brown rice flour.

Pop in the fridge and ferment. Mine fermented for 16 hour and 23 minutes.

BAKE DAY

Preheat the oven to 500 with a dutch oven and baking stone inside.

Dust the dough lightly with brown rice flour then unearth by placing a sheet of parchment over the mouth of the dough bowl, then place a peel over this and quickly invert the bowl so that the dough ends up sitting on the paper and the peel, seam side down.

Slash the dough in some divine manner, then slide it into the shallow half of the hot dutchie. Cover with the fat half, slide it into the oven, and steam for 15 minutes at this temp, then turn the oven down to 475 and steam for another 15 minutes.

After the steam, remove the fat end of the dutchie, then stack the pan over its mouth to create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread. This will help keep the bottom of your bread from blackening.

Toggle the oven between 460 and 475 until the boule is baked to desired darkness. I find that it's almost impossible to go as dark as Chad's without drying out the loaf in a home oven. So I aim for chestnut-colored.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

Training Wheels (are hot)





La Bella Luna
This formula makes one loaf

MAKE YOUR LEVAIN

You will need:

10g 100% hydration dark rye starter (mine is made with BRM home-milled dark rye flour)
75g BRM home-milled hard red spring flour (**you can use hard red winter wheat flour here too)
75g room temperature h2o, mine was 71 degrees

Mix the levain ingredients together until you reach a paste. Mine fermented for 6 hours 30 minutes. 

DOUGH DAY

You will need:

All of the levain
450g KA Bread flour
50g BRM home-milled hard red spring flour (**you can use hard red winter wheat flour here too)
377g h2o, mine was 72 degrees
12g Diamond kosher salt

When your levain is properly fermented, mix together the levain, the flours, and the h2o until you reach a shaggy mass.

Autolyse for 1 hour 15 minutes.

After autolyse, squish the salt into the dough until it's fully incorporated work the dough into a smooth mass. Now it's time for the 4-hour bulk fermentation (mine actually fermented for 4 hours 23 minutes because the dough was a little on the small side. It needed a little more time).

Every half hour, perform a series of turns throughout the entire bulk fermentation, taking care not to deflate the dough as you near the end of bulk.

When bulk fermentation is accomplished, turn the dough out onto a workspace dusted with brown rice flour, and shape into a loose round. Let it rest. Drape with a damp paper towel to keep it from forming a skin. Mine rested for 25 minutes. 

After the bench, shape the dough into a taut boule and pop into a banneton or a bowl lined with linen that you have dusted with brown rice flour.

Pop in the fridge and ferment. Mine fermented for 20 hours.

BAKE DAY

Preheat the oven to 500 with a dutch oven and baking stone inside.

Dust the dough lightly with brown rice flour then unearth by placing a sheet of parchment over the mouth of the dough bowl, then place a peel over this and quickly invert the bowl so that the dough ends up sitting on the paper and the peel, seam side down.

Slash the dough in some divine manner, then slide it into the shallow half of the hot dutchie. Cover with the fat half, slide it into the oven, and steam for 15 minutes at this temp, then turn the oven down to 475 and steam for another 15 minutes.

After the steam, remove the fat end of the dutchie, then stack the pan over its mouth to create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread. This will help keep the bottom of your bread from blackening.

Toggle the oven between 460 and 475 until the boule is baked to desired darkness. I find that it's almost impossible to go as dark as Chad's without drying out the loaf in a home oven. So I aim for chestnut-colored.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

La Bella Luna!

To the staff of life!

34 comments:

  1. I have been inhaling your blog lately, I started my sourdough journey last year in the States with a purchased starter from King Arthur Flour and I was making Tartine's Country Loaf weekly and was so pleased with the results. Now I have moved to Ireland and have attempted starting my own wild yeast starter. It has been much more challenging as I haven't gotten the results I wanted and after a bunch of research I think I will try converting it to a rye starter as you have suggested! I've learned so much from your blog, the climate and flour of Ireland is unique and sourdough is more of a challenge here. I was about ready to give up, there is a reason that Irish soda bread is the standard here (as it doesn't have to rely on yeast) but I'm going to give a rye starter a go and hope for better results.

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    1. That is so interesting! I wonder why it poses challenges? I would love to know more. I will have to do some research. Let me know what happens with your rye starter!

      xo

      fo

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    2. My understanding is that Ireland's climate is too wet and cool to grow hard wheat, so the wheat that grows here is softer and not as amenable to sourdough! People who do bread baking often import bread flour from France. I was using a local very coarse stoneground whole wheat blended 50:50 with white bread flour for my sourdough starter and it was quite sluggish. My rye has been going for a week or so, we'll see how it goes!

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    3. Perhaps invest in a 50-lb bag of flour for your white flour, from a reputable company of course, and you can probably continue to get other flours (rye etc) at your local market to experiment. I wish you all the best. Keep me posted! (One of my best friends has been living in Ireland for 15 years. She is returning the the United States this year. She adores Ireland, but I'm glad to have her back!)

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  2. France,
    I tried posting previously and lost the entire post cuz I had not signed up through google whatever, thought I was brave doing Face Book. Anyway.

    I'm new to your blog, but absolutely love it. I am not new to bread baking, having tried to re-create Acme's (of Berkeley) Pain au Levain back in the late 90's with very little success. I had some better success later in time (used grapes from Champagne to begin a starter) , but it was not until the savior Chad came along (his wife is a magician too, and Tartine Bakery is the holy grail) that I really began to understand. I, unlike you, would like to open a bakery at some point. For now I practice artisanal home baking with a passion, but not quite matched by your passion (taken to a whole new level). Anyway, enough about me.

    I'm enquiring about your Country Loaf My Way. You set out to reduce the amount of levain from your training wheels loaf to La Bella Luna. However, the levain mixtures are different between the two loaves. You reduced the amount of starter by 80% (50g to 10 g) and the flour by 25% (100g to 75g) and the water by 25% (100g to 75g) between the levain for the training wheels loaf to that for La Bella Luna.

    Both the loaves turned out beautiful. But, I'm curious as to why you did not keep the levain mixtures the same between the two loaves and just reduce the amount of levain you used (e.g., from 200g to 160g)? Was this a conscious decision? If so, what was your reasoning?

    I will follow your blog closely. You do some amazing work.

    Cheers��

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    1. Well, may as well just make a smaller levain instead of a large one, then tossing some of it I guess. I hope I am answering this correctly. I reduced the amount of levain in all of my my breads. Less levain reliant, and more skill put into fermentation. I no longer need so much levain to make bread, hence the name 'training wheels'. :)

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  3. Success at last..I wanted you to know how invaluable your help/blog was in helping me conquer my fear/difficulty with bread baking. I have always wanted to make bread, even when I cooked for a living it was always something I knew I was drawn to but I couldn't ever feel confident doing.. I experimented over the years but always felt like my efforts fell flat and had trouble maintaining a starter properly.

    Low and behold your 100% rye starter technique is the bomb, it makes me feel like a fermentation superhero, it took quickly and is so forgiving, the levain made with it is very vigorous. I finally made the Tartine training wheel loaf over the weekend after owning the bloody Tartine book since it was released and never having the courage to pull through it. I found the dough so responsive, everything went so well, I had to refrigerate halfway during the bulk fermentation because of an emergency, I resumed afterwards and hoped for the best and was rewarded with some of the most beautiful bread to grace my oven. It was a little flatter and the crumb a bit tighter because of my compromises but still so flavorful. I feel confident now that I can start working towards refining my technique but that it is totally possible for me to produce the type of bread I have been dreaming of making.

    Thank you so much

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    1. What a beautiful note Franck. You inspired the next post :)

      Keep me posted with your bread successes, I'm glad I was here to help!

      xo

      fo

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  4. Hi France! thanks for such amazing recipes!

    I had a question regarding the flour. I saw you use the KA bread flour and checking on their page it has 12.7% of protein. I am baking in Sweden and the only organic bread flour I can find has only 10.5% of protein, but lately I have not been able to find it and can just find the regular all-purpose one. From one of the brands it has 8% of protein and from the other brand that I have now at home, they don't specify the protein content, but my guess is also below 10%. If I ought to use your recipe but with all-purpose flour instead of the bread flour, do you have any tips on modifications to recipe? Also, you use the community grains flour. Which flour could I substitute it for?

    Thanks for the help!

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    1. Well, I have used all purpose flour in many of my breads, but I do have access to all purpose flours that have a very high protein percentage. Hm. My suggestion would be mail order. Try to find a company that stocks a flour (either all purpose or bread) with at least 11% protein and buy up a bunch of that. All purpose flour in general is fine for breads. In fact, it makes a lovely soft crumb and I use it a lot in my bread baking. You can try to increase the protein percentage by adding a little whole wheat or whole white wheat to your dough. These will contain much higher protein than the bread/all purpose flour that you have access to and that will help a bit. I say just go for it and see what you get. There is no way to know what kind of bread that your 8-10% flour will produce, and you have nothing to lose, right? Experimentation leads to wonderful things. As for substituting Community Grains, it's just whole wheat flour, so, any whole wheat flour that you have access to should be fine. Good luck, and let me know how it all turns out!

      France

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    2. Thanks! I will do that, but first I will give it a try with the flour I have now and see how it goes. I was going to try this week to bake but the days are soooo hot and I am having between 28C to 30C inside my apartment now so will try to bake when the temperature goes down a bit. I will let you know how it went. thanks again!

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  5. dear girl meets rye,

    your tartine t.w. loaf's levain was ready to go in 7 hours 20 minutes. can you please tell me what the ambient temp was in that room? thanks.

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    1. Hey David. I don't know. I made that loaf so long ago. I do try to always suggest that people follow fermentations times (from levain through final) based on their set of variables. Some are done in 6 hours, some can go for 9.... Use your sound judgement!

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  6. thanks. so, one other thing, please: i launched your 100% hydration dark rye starter about three weeks ago. 30g:30g:30g. never fridged, always at 74-82 degrees, fed 9am and 9pm as you say. but, it's much older than nine days at this point. i'm going for the t.w. loaf this friday/saturday. thing is, upon feeding time, for the starter, it's really, really acidic smelling... like smelling salts acidic (slight exaggeration). tangier to the taste, but man, you jump back if you stick your nose in the jar. but it looks like yours with lively bubbles. have i killed lacto parts? have i killed the whole thing? i'm fine with starting over. my 100% hydro healthy kaf bread flour/wheat mix starter smells much lovelier, creamy, tangy, mildly acidic. what do you think (please and thanks)?

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    1. hm. hard for me to comment upon because i think it's all so subjective. what may smell super acidic to you might smell normal to me. sourdough starter DOES smell sour. i hate all this 'sweet smelling' description that you read about. it's sour smelling. that's why we call it sourdough. i think it's misleading to describe sourdough starter as smelling of sugar and spice and everything nice.

      as long as you have activity (visually speaking) youre fine. as long as there is no mold, you're all good. try feeding it 3x a day to reduce some acid smell if it bothers you. trying baking up two identical loaves using one each starter and see what you get. see which you prefer, and chuck the one that does not produce sound results.

      at the end of the day, if the acid smell of your rye starter is alarming, pitch it. there are scores of people who prefer white/whole wheat. i prefer rye, so i write about it. it's all a matter of preference. either one will make fine bread. cheers!

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    2. thank you. i'm going for it... i'm using it... and good idea about baking two to compare. thanks again for the guiding words.

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  7. What a gorgeous blog! I am a beginner trawling Google for help - will be bookmarking this page!
    Jo
    www.helloseedling.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. Where art thou? I miss your posts, photos and insights!

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  9. Hello - I'd love to try one of these recipes, but I don't understand what you mean by "After the steam, remove the fat end of the dutchie, then stack the pan over its mouth to create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread." Specifically "stack the pan over its mouth." Can you elaborate please?

    thanks!

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    1. Ok, so there is the shallow end and the fat end of the dutch oven. when you pull the fat end off of the loaf, after the 30 minute steam, instead of just sliding the loaf of bread (shallow end) back in the oven, put the fat end on the peel, then stack the shallow pan holding the bread on top of it. so that there is a 'buffer' between the loaf bottom and the baking stone. hope that helps!

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    2. So do you mean the lid and the base of the DO? I have 3. One has a shallow end and a deep lid (la cloche) and the other has 2 pretty equal sections (romertopf type) and the 3rd is a lodge cast iron DO with a deep base and pretty shallow lid that won't support the base. I suppose I could just leave out this step, couldn't I?

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    3. Hi Ivy. I have a Lodge combo cooker with a fat part and a skinny part (like a frying pan). I bake in the frying pan part, and the lid is the fat part. When the steam is done, I remove the FAT part that is the LID, and i place it beneath the skinny pan that the bread is baked in so that the skinny part with the pan is not in direct contact with the stone, thus, preventing scorched bottoms. I hope this helps. I do have photos on the blog that show this, but I can't remember which ones. I am not sure how to better describe what I am talking about. :( Sorry.

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  10. I know I'm late to the game on this post, but...where do you get your bowls? They're great! (pics are fantastic, too).

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  11. Hey does it really matter if it's dark rye starter? I feed my starter with rye flour buts its not dark rye.

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    1. Yeah. Use dark if you can. It has more sugar and enzymes. But if light rye works for you, go for it!

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    2. Thank you so much for the reply. Last question I do not have access to BRM home-milled hard red spring flour, what substitutes would you recommend? Would KA Bread flour due or what should I use?

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    3. I liked BRM all purpose and if using King Arthur, depending on the loaf, I like All purpose (for primarily white loaves), and KA bread flour for loaves with higher percentages of whole grains. I use Giusto's artisan flour exclusively now. You can order online. Even with shipping comes out to be like a buck more per bag than KA or BRM.

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  12. In the Training Wheels recipe you ask for Hard Red WINTER What Flour while in the La Bella Luna you ask for Hard Red SPRING Flour is this correct? What if I only have one of those? What kind of changes would I need to make to the recipes at hand, can you be specific about any substitutes?

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    1. Most people have hard red winter. It's fine to use in either recipe :)

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    2. (spring is very hard to find, usually)

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    3. Thank you so much! For the training wheels recipe you say you need to stretch and fold every 30 minutes, when do you perform the 1st stretch and fold after mixing in the salt?

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    4. you know, now i only do a couple of stretch and folds. i usually do it within an hour after salt. after 30 minutes is not necessary. be flexible and sort of 'go with the flow' with the stretch and folds. that practice is not what strengthens the dough. that only lines up the gluten strands so that you get max oven rise, and you can accomplish this with 3 - 4 series within the bulk, so, an hour after salt, an hour and a half, two hours, two and a half hours. essentially that's all you need. its the acid in the levain/starter that strengthen the dough. in the beginning of bread making i was really fastidious about the time with stretch and folds and now i'm loose and easy. I've also just discovered a new trick with levain and may do a single post just for that. i have some time in the upcoming weeks, so, you may see a new post about how to deal with extending a levain. thank you for writing. this has reminded me that sharing this information is useful because people still use the site!

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    5. Absolutely keep posting, the bread world needs you as do I.

      I was wondering if you could help me with two things.

      1. Do you have any advice for pre-shaping high hydration dough? I use my hand and dough scraper but often the dough stick to the dough scraper as I pull it out from underneath the dough.

      2. Do you have any advice for how to build strength in high-hydration dough? I stretch and fold religiously 3 times every 15 min and 3 times every 30 min and my dough just doesn't want to hold its shape, as you mentioned the stretch and fold is more for the rise.

      I am experimenting with 87% hydration recipe and cannot get it right the dough just does not get strong enough and during the pre-shape I have a tendency of ripping the thin membrane when trying to build tension.

      Thank you so much for your help and you recipe turned out absolutely beautifully!!!!!

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    6. Hello! for reshaping without stickage, try olive oiling your hands if your dough is to be rested with olive oil rather than rice flour (i.e., focaccia), or sprinkling rice flour over the boule to shape. no sticking guaranteed. swift movements too. so, shape shape shape, flick the scraper beneath the dough to lift it and put it onto your awaiting cloth/basket. one deft movement. 2) if your starter is pretty young, you will achieve flattish loaves. be patient. as it gets older, the better the oven spring and more open the crumb. also, high hydration loaves are a little flatter than those that use less water, and the less hydrated the loaf, the more prominent the 'ears'. also, are you using your combo cooker?? this keeps the shape of the dough. very hard IMPOSSIBLE to get great oven spring in a (cheap) apartment oven. just fyi. it's not you. trust me. keep working with your dough. pull back on hydration and master it. then move up in increments, small ones, mastering as you go. you WILL get to your high hydration loaf with good oven spring in time. keep working at it! dough is a forever thing! xo

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Hey. So, I answer all comments, but it might take me a few days. Sit tight, and I will get back to you as soon as I can!