Below is a slice of home-baked cider raisin apple bread with a morsel of foie gras on a lettuce leaf bed, topped with apple quince compote. In one way it's a simple set of flavors. In another way it's complex. Either way, it's delicious.
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!
Back in the U.S. Army where I first trained in institutional kitchens, "tartines" were open-faced white bread sandwiches served with mashed potatoes, roast beef and brown gravy. Crude. Basic. Unremarkable. Though my co-producer at Stir the Pots, Jonathan Field, actually likes white bread open faced sandwiches with greasy gravy, he's missing out on the genuine Tartine, a delicate marriage of pairings of flavors layered carefully on delicious bread. Here are some I made for a light appetizer or summer meal.
Cherries macerated with rosemary, pepper and salt, walnut mustard and foie gras.
Vinegared sweet peppers, Reggiano parmigiano, jicama, and ancho harissa
Hackleback caviar on buttered toast and Greek yogurt
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.
Ever get home from a long day in the coal mine of work and wonder what you're going to eat? Imagine you're a chef and have been cooking all day for people. Now you're in no mood to start banging pots (or stir them), nevermind cook a roast, even for yourself.
And if you're like me, you may be sick of eating out. Yet, you haven't consulted your fridge in days because... you've been at work all week. You've barely consulted with your bed! So it's awfully meager pickings, as home inventory is the least of your worries when you're a chef.
So imagine this one night you catch a break, take an early night, head home to recuperate. You open the fridge and find....nothing - save for a few over-ripe fruits (okay, rotting), half eaten yogurts, a plate with a couple of unhappy anchovies, another plastic container filled with a leftover weekend meal (from two or three days ago). Is it really worth reheating in the oven? Is it even safe? In fact, at first glance it sems the only safe thing at home is the always dependable fruit known as autumn apples.
But wait, there's some fabulous bread you baked. And a can of lightly smoked sardines. Oh, and look there, under the half piece of red onion,a chunk of fennel bulb! Your head starts feeling positively dizzy with glee when you find some nice tomatoes.
Now it's just a matter of slice the veg, saw the loaf, mix in some spice, oil and vinegar. Et voila... tartine. No, not the Chad Robertson book it seems that everyone is talking about. Can I get pretentious on you with some home made French? Non mon ami, le tartine. That means a good old fashioned Gallic open faced sandwich - starting with a slice of bread with whatever strikes your imagination or, in this case, what is in the cupboard or fridge!