Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: Tartine Bread

I recently got a sourdough starter from someone in town, who got it from Victoria Bakery in San Francisco and it is a 2000.  She told me the story of how the bakery makes a new starter every year, and they name them by the year.  She also told me about the book Tartine Bread, and about how amazing their country loaf tastes.

So I started reading the book, which is so much more than a sourdough recipe.  It is a delightful story of the author's journey to find the country loaf recipe as an apprentice baker, and a detailed explanation of sourdough making and the various steps and stages involved in making his loaf.  It expands into variations of his loaf, then into variations of types of loaves you can make using sourdough to ferment your dough, not all of which are actually sour.  The photos are beautiful and helpful, although on the Kindle, their placement isn't right where I want them to be all of the time (this is a frequent Kindle complaint of mine for photos and charts, though).  The author owns a restaurant in San Francisco, so that also makes it that much more interesting.

So I made a loaf the other day.  It took a LOT longer than expected (nearly two days), but he mentions to watch your dough and pay attention to it more than the specified times.  It is fairly cool in our house (low 60s), so I think that was the issue.  I also tried to proof the dough in the oven with a pot of boiling water, and it didn't really warm it until we used the oven, then put it back into the now-warm oven.  Next time, I will do it this way.

The holes in it weren't as large as I expected, but I think it's a learning curve.  It was tasty, and the troops all ate it-- slathered in butter.

I used the other half of the dough for pizza and it was a failure.  It was too thick and didn't cook through.  I think I can fix that by bringing it to room temperature before baking it (like he says), and stretching it thinner.

All in all, I am excited to see where this sourdough home bread making goes.  There is such satisfaction in baking your own bread, and the health benefits of properly fermenting the dough make it easier on the digestive system.  Tartine Bread is a lovely book to use as a guide.

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