Friday, January 21, 2011


Despite the less than satisfactory results of my first attempt making Tartine artisan bread, I've forged ahead and tried again.

I used some of my original starter to begin the first stage of making bread dough by mixing it with equal parts of water and flour. This time I marked a line on my bowl to better judge how much it rose overnight....the goal was expansion about 20-30%. (This is where I thought my first batch went didn't rise enough.) Well......I was pleased when I peaked under the dish towel covering the dough the next morning!

A portion of this mixture is saved and becomes the mature starter for future batches and some is used as the leavening in the bread dough. It's mixed with specific weighed amounts of warm water, flour, and salt. This recipe makes a fairly soft, wet dough, not at all what I'm familiar working with. This dough rises for a minimum of 3-4 hours.....turning it in the bowl every 30 minutes.

Now the dough has again about doubled in size and goes through a series of resting & folding on a lightly floured board.

Then it rises again for about 4 more hours.....but it could take up to 12 hours in the refrigerator, in a flour dusted towel lined bowl.....hey, did I mention this takes days to make??

Now it's ready to bake......

The dough is transferred to a HOT, HOT cast iron dutch oven that has been heated to 500 degrees. Baked, covered for 20 mins. and another 20 mins. with the cover off. Here it is, right out of the oven. I wish there was a way to provide a scratch and sniff dot for you.......

As it could hear the crust crackling......

Now the test.....cutting it. Well...the real test was eating it and I can report it is/was delicious.....however I still have to refine my procedures.

The uncooked dough is to be scored once it's in the hot pan....these cuts allow the dough to split so the built up steam can escape. I need to get a scalpel or other such tool to do that. My thinnest, sharpest knife just didn't work well, so instead of a lot of uneven holes in the bread, I got one or two big ones at the top. If you look closely you can see a big hole between the crust and the body of the bread.

Oh dear.....I'll just have to try again and we'll have to consume some more hot out of the oven artisan bread.....just for comparison you know!

Time is drawing near............remember dear readers........say it with me.....GO PACKERS!!!!


Nancy M. said...

To slash the top of a bread loaf before baking, we use single-bladed razor blades that you can buy in packs at the hardware store. Works much better than a knife.

Lisa said...

It looks delicious! Have you tried Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread recipe?

Very similar to what you are doing but seems to take a little less rising than what you did here - still overnight rising. So delicious! Easiest bread ever. I'm sure the starter in your recipe makes for a very nice flavor though.

And sorry but I'm from Chicago so. . .Go Bears!!!! haha

Nanette said...

Wow that looks good! There is nothing like a crusty loaf of bread with a tender airy inside. I can almost taste it from your description.

Katie said...

Indeed, scoring the top is almost the hardest part! After some trial and error, I discovered my bread knives with the large serrations work like a dream. :-)