For some time I have tried to grasp how to make a good loaf from the Tartine bread books. They just never never end up looking like they do in the book. It may be due to issues around hydration or lack of fermentation. Recently I had more success after adapting a Tartine formula for their oat porridge-and-almond bread, substituting quinoa flakes for oatmeal, and using 30% Quinoa in the final dough. The finish bake is still fairly hydrated but still full of flavor and color and sports a crisp crust!
The recently published Tartine No.3 had been fermenting a lot of anxiety among passionate bakers, including me. So many of us have been itching for the book's publication. I ordered both a digital and hard-copy this past weekend. So far, I skimmed through the book on all my Apple devices. I like it, a lot. It makes me think of a Rick Steve's style traveler-meets-bread-geek book.
Chad Robertson's picture laden manifesto celebrates (and illustrates) so much of the craft that inspires us bread geeks; from fermentation methods to the importance of intuition, as well as sometimes stumbling into lucky mistakes!
This book is a great addition to any baker's library. It is clear, concise, and beautiful, a picture book for those already adept at baking, and something to teach those just starting. Go find it and enjoy!
My last trip to Montreal was highlighted by meeting Derek Damman, the chef of D&A. On my recent return, Derek invited me back to sit down and devour some of his uniquely Canadian terroir offerings. Mind you, I'd just partaken in a tasting of wood fired pizza's with my host Michele of Osteria Venti, but that's another story. A bit satiated with dough and toppings, I wasn't gonna turn down Derek, a tall red headed fellow with gnarly tattoos. Michele and I instead ended up sitting enjoying a small personal chefs tasting at the "chefs kitchen table."
Derek started us off with a wine from British Columbia from Hainle Estate. I forgot the grape variety,but it was nice. In front of us was a plate of house-made charcuterie, which included donkey saucisson, bologna, lardo and cappicola. Derek worked for Jamie Oliver, so there's the Anglo/Italian connection and Derek own skillled alchemist and food smithing style.
Next up was cast iron-skilleted rabbit from Stanstead, cold smoked and lightly crusted with rice and simply garinished with micro greens and onions. The rabbit was the show stopper. Perfectly cooked, livers, loin, legs. A wedge of lemon to squirt on top. The smokey quality permeated without overpowering the dish.
While we shared the liver, loin and greens, we discussed chef war stories, dirty laundry, the latest ingredients, especially those Derek gets from his former partner Alex Cruz at Societe-Original, some of the best farm-to-table products.
Then out came another of what I remember as a favorite dish; Drake duck with, with passion fruit like flavored sea buckthorn berries; hidden with rye berries and flavored with a hint of of chillies.
At this point I couldn't move... and all I really remember - other than the overall sense of delightful satiation... was the conversation.
Food and wine were good. Very, very good. Derek is truly an exciting chef. The last bit of excitement I remember was a shaving of house cured sea urchin roe botarga, which competes with the usual Italian commercially offered product. Derek showed us a pack that he'd fermented with rye berries; Sandor Katz would love it!
Michele and I in bliss, saw an ice cream sandwich on a plate...trouble, he gave us one, chocolate chip cookies sandwiching an ice cream disk, flavored with pink peppercorn..divine!
On news widely reported through chef circles, D&A is no longer open, we were lucky to get the treatment up close and personal. Good luck Derek on your future endeavours, keep on cooking!
Since my last olive bread, I decided to give Chad Robertson's Tartine version a try. Lately I've experimented with various feedings, hydration levels ranging from liquid levain to drier 50-80 percent levains. Recently, I settled back to my old stand by from Mick Hartley's early lessons in levain maintenance; a ratio of one part levain, one part water, and one part flour.
I didn't have lemons for this dough like was suggested in Tartine book, but I thought oranges would work, as the French oil cured olives were from Provençe. I tossed in some flax seeds along with toasted walnuts, so this loaf isn't just olive flavors. I may even try some lavendar next time.
Whenever you got a bit of extra dough, why not try a new shape or a different kind of bread....say pizza?
Chad Robertson does it in his Tartine bread book, which I've enjoyed lately, including a jump at his standard sourdough recipe, which is a challenge. No problem, just go back and do it. Then again and again.
Here's a tip, hold back water from the mix. Anyway, aafter whacking off a 200 gram bit of dough from my levain, I set it aside in a ball for dinner. The dough was supple, full of bubbles and had the suppleness and stretch, which is a good omen for a pizza geek like me! It worked.
Taste wise, I find I prefer a longer rise in the fridge for a bit more acidity, but this dough was light, crisp and went down very quickly with my standard Margharita topping,( tomato, basil, mozzarella). My curiosity is up, as I must try the rye dough next time, maybe some speck and quark with some northern exposure for fall? Or butternut squash with shallots and hazelnuts, truffles?
I'm back at the Tartine Bread Book, trying to figure out why I haven't latched on successfully to Chad Robertson's zen-like bread style. My latest effort included fatal math errors around confused proportions. Nevermind that, I had my calculator and worked out the numbers, enlarging the formula... etc, etc, etc.
The tricky bit was building this wobbly loaf's gluten strength, even after giving it several folds. Along the way, my banneton stuck and, well, I wresteled this loaf into my creuset pot best I could.Try slashing in a insanley hot pot with a wobbly wet dough. Let's just say it wasn't looking good at all...
Using Chad Robertson's book, Tartine bread, I tried again for a fourth time to make an honest Tartine bread. This time though I followed my friend MC's latest adaption, using both a hot and cold oven, and with exceptional results!
Rather then just white flour, I went for the whole-wheat version of the basic country loaf, but included some add-ins; soy bean and flax seed, borrowed from the Bourke Street bakery book. As well, I used a 100% hydrated levain and calculated the numbers on a spreadsheet calculator. Instead of adding in the final 50 extra grams of water, I left it out. The dough felt just right and I just used my own intuition on this part of the bake.
I made the dough with the 40 minute autolyse process, and mixed it in my Kitchen Aid, put in my salt and add-ins last. I let the loaf rise for about 40 minutes, gave it a fold and went out for a quick dinner. On my return, I gave it another fold and let it go for about one more hour, even though it was really rising quite fast, even with the cooler temperatures we have been having here. The dough was split in to two loaves, pre-shaped, left to rest about 25 minutes, given a final shape, and then retarded overnight.
Next day I baked two loafs, one in my Cusisinart oven, the other using my mainstay stove. Put the second loaf into a cold oven, placed it into a creuset pot with the temperature set at 470 F degrees, and let it bake about 45 minutes. Then I removed the lid, giving it another 20 minutes to get some color.
All in all this latest by far is the best I made from all of my Tartine loaves, and I am sure I will revisit this books fine recipes again. And why not, if not just for a tweak and peek!