Tartine Basic Country Bread

In San Francisco, there is an amazing bakery called Tartine. It's located in the Mission District and serves the most beautiful pastries, cakes, croissants, quiche and bread. My God, the bread really is a stand-out. It has the perfect crust, the perfect flavor and makes the perfect sound as it cools. It's like the bread is speaking to you. It's like that scene in Ratatouille when they say that you can known great bread by the sound. It really is true.
Everything about this bread is perfect, from the smell to the sound. It's great with cheese or just butter and jam for breakfast. It is especially perfect when used to mop up jus or gravy with dinner. 
Best of all, this bread is easy. Well, easy is a relative term. It will take you about a week of active preparation to make this bread (unless you maintain an active sourdough starter, in which case it's only about 2 days of active prep time). You need plenty of time to make this bread, but if you do you'll never go back to another one.
This is a no-knead bread with a very high hydration percentage. You develop the gluten with a series of folds over a long period of time followed by an overnight refrigeration to slow fermentation and develop the flavors. It takes time, but not a lot of work. I highly recommend it.
If you didn't know, this recipe comes form the Tartine Bread book.
Ingredients for the Leaven
  • 1 Tbsp mature sourdough starter at 100% hydration, made with a 50/50 ratio of white bread flour and whole wheat flour
  • 200 grams flour mixture
  • 200 grams warm water
Directions for Leaven
  1. Mix together all ingredients, cover and leave at room temperature for about 12 hours. To test if it's ready, drop a small spoonful into a bowl of warm water. If it floats, it's ready to be mixed into the dough. If it doesn't float, leave to ripen a little while longer.
Ingredients for Dough
  • 900 grams white bread flour
  • 100 grams whole wheat flour
  • 200 grams leaven
  • 750 grams water
  • 20 grams salt
Directions for Dough
  1. Mix together leaven and 700 grams of water in a large bowl until leaven is well dispersed. Add flours and mix until no dry flour remains. Let rest 30 minutes before adding the rest of the water and salt, squeezing it in your hands.
  2. Put dough in a glass bowl of plastic container and cover with a kitchen towel to maintain warmth. Develop the gluten by folding the dough over on itself every half hour. To accomplish that, dip your hand in water and reach it to the bottom of the container. Pull the dough from the bottom up and fold it over. Give the bowl a quarter turn and do that 3 more times. Then cover to rest again.
  3. Do this every half hour for 3 hours or until the dough is aerated, light and has increased in size by about 30%
  4. Pull dough out of the container onto a flour surface. Cut dough into 2 pieces and work each piece into a round until it has a taunt, smooth surface. Dust with flour, cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough should relax and spread with a rounded lip but not be dripping or flat. If it is, then form into a round again and repeat to develop more gluten.
  5. Flip the dough over so the floured side is down. and form into a round loaf like an envelope. Fold 1/3 of the dough closest to you to the middle of the round. Fold in the sides and then fold the rest of the dough by rolling the dough away from you over the top half. Pinch the seam closed if necessary. Repeat with the other round
  6. Place the dough, seam side up, in a rice floured basket or bowl lined with a kitchen towel. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours overnight.
  7. The next day, preheat dutch oven with lid to 500 degrees for half an hour. Remove one loaf of bread from the refrigerator.
  8. Remove dutch oven and turn bread into the bottom, being careful not to burn yourself. Slash the top with a razor and put the lid back on. Turn oven down to 450 and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove lid and bake for 25 minutes more until the crust is a deep brown the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow.
  10. Remove bread from dutch oven. Allow to reheat before proceeding with baking the second loaf.

Note: This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting


  1. Wow, this bread looks amazing! I am such a huge fan of homemade bread + certain kinds (like baguettes) I've gotten good at, while other kinds I'm still working on. ;) I will have to give this a try!


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