If you’re in the market for a warm, fresh bread recipe that’s a cut above the rest, Tartine bread should be at the top of your list.
It’s rather simple to make, is extremely tasty, and also delivers health benefits thanks to its sourdough nature!
Here we’ll break down the history of this delicious kind of sourdough, and provide you with a straightforward recipe so you can enjoy it yourself!
What is Tartine Bread?
Tartine sourdough, also known as country bread, is a type of bread made popular by Chad Robertson, owner of the Tartine bakery in San Francisco, California.
His book, detailing a much-loved Tartine bread recipe, was published in 2010 and is the most famous reference you’ll find for this unique type of bread.
The secret to Tartine bread’s popularity, say readers of the book, is… yep, the chemistry. The starter used for most sourdough bread is made differently when creating Tartine sourdough.
Robertson is also known for making his Tartine bread into attractive, interesting shapes that give the bread a distinctive look in addition to a famous taste!
If this makes it sound like Tartine bread is a challenge only for expert bread makers to tackle, don’t fret. Tartine sourdough bread is well within any home baker’s reach!
Here’s how to make your very own delicious Tartine sourdough right at home.
Tartine Bread Recipe
It’s worth noting that creating your own bread, especially Tartine bread, is a time-consuming effort; many recipes detail a three-day process in all.
There’s a reason sliced bread is the measuring stick to which we compare every other invention!
Nonetheless, if you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll find that having a slice of homemade Tartine sourdough right from the oven is an experience you don’t want to miss out on. Just think of the heavenly smell!
Also known as the “bread starter” or “levain,” the leaven is the most crucial part of any Tartine bread.
It’s where some of the most important chemical reactions happen, despite being made of only three very basic ingredients:
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour.
- ½ cup of room-temperature water.
- 1 tablespoon of mature sourdough starter (100% hydration).
Sourdough starter is, at its core, a fermented mixture of flour and water, and the kind you’ll need for this recipe can be found online or in some stores.
There are also some homemade varieties of starter, the instructions for which you can find online.
For additional flavor and a slightly different texture, you can also use half regular flour and half whole-wheat flour.
Mix these ingredients well in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave out overnight.
In the morning, you’ll be ready to start your dough.
Ingredients for this stage are:
- Your leaven.
- 2 cups of warm water (separate 1 2/3 cups from the remaining).
- 3 1/8 cups of bread flour.
- 7/8 cup of whole wheat flour.
- 2 teaspoons of salt.
- 50/50 mix of wheat and rice flour for dusting.
Mix your leaven with the first 1 2/3 cups of water by hand until the leaven is fully dispersed in the water.
Add both of the flours, again mixing by hand until fully incorporated. Cover the Tartine bread dough and let rest for 30-40 minutes.
Next, add the salt and remaining water. Press or squeeze these into the dough without pulling the dough apart.
Continue until both the water and salt are fully incorporated. Cover and let sit another 30 minutes. Then, keeping the Tartine bread dough in the bowl, stretch and fold the dough back into itself.
Stretch and fold four times in a square around the dough, then cover and let sit another 30 minutes. Repeat this step five more times for a full six stretch-and-fold turns. Ensure your hands are wet before you touch the dough.
Dust another bowl with the wheat and rice flour mixture. Set your dough into this bowl, cover and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.
The next morning, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and set either a Dutch oven or combo cooker into the oven as well.
Remove the Tartine bread dough from the refrigerator. Turn the dough gently over onto a piece of parchment paper. Score the top of the dough with a knife.
Once the oven has been heating for about half an hour, turn the heat down to 450 degrees. Then, set your Tartine bread dough into the Dutch oven or combo cooker. Bake for 45 minutes.
The Finished Product
This Tartine bread recipe calls for three days of dedicated work, but if you’ve put in the time, you’ll find that it will be worth every second!
Tartine sourdough has a unique flavor under the crispy crust and can be sliced and used as part of a meal, or as a snack by itself.
Here’s a video showing an example of how to make Tartine bread.
Have you tried making Tartine bread?