Tartine bread, single loaf

This is a very, very tasty bread recipe, and allows itself to be neglected or cared for.


Adapted from the Tartine Bread book


Ingredients and Tools

  • 350g + 25g water (about 2C) at 80°F
  • 100 g leavener / starter
  • 450g white bread flour (I think AP can be used as well)
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 10g salt
  • small bowl with 50/50 of rice flour and wheat flour
  • clear container with lid that can hold 1-2L – this is for proofing
  • small bowl with 2 handfuls of flour for cleaning up
  • bench / bowl scrapers
  • bread razorXacto razoredge razor

See my original post about a starter. For the sake of brevity I will assume that you already have one.

  1. Pour in 350g (~2C) of the warm water into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Put a handful of flour off to the side for cleaning up.
  3. Weigh out 100g of the leaven into the bowl. Stir in to disperse.
  4. Add the flours (450g bread, 50g WW) and mix (the book says by hand, but I have success with a fork or spoon) until you don’t see any more dry bits of flour. If you do use a fork or spoon, make sure the flour is evenly dispersed.
  5. Clean your hands and the sides of the bowl with a bench scraper or spatula. I have a couple of pan scrapers which I like for the process, but we also have these bowl scrapers. Finish the job with a little extra flour. WW or AP is fine. It is MUCH better than rinsing your hands with water as you “use a gallon to do a little” as M said.
  6. Let the dough rest 25-45 min. This is to let the flours absorb the water. The dough is very different afterward.
  7. Get the bowl scraper and the clear containers and clean-up flours all set up to the side. Your hands will be a sticky mess after the next step.
  8. Add the 10g salt and 25g of warm water. Incorporate the salt by squeezing the dough between your fingers. This is a very fun part. I’m not sure why, but it feels good. Keep going for a while since the salt does not incorporate right away.
  9. Fold the dough on top of itself and put it in a clear container. Plastic or glass, the point is to be able to see the bubbles form, but it needs to be thick to keep temperature.
  10. Place the dough to rest in a warm place for 3-4 hours (read next step, too!). That means keeping the dough at 78-82°F. I have also left it in my 70°F kitchen for 3 hours, folding, then shaped it to sit overnight with good results.
  11. While the dough is resting, turn every half hour. To turn, wet your hand, then fold dough from the bottom onto the top. Do this 2 or 3 times to make sure it all develops evenly. Be sure to turn it more gently on the 3rd hour as it is more gasy and you don’t want to lose that.
  12. Pour a little flour (like more dashes) onto your work surface. Pull out all the dough from the container. He suggests using a bench scraper to help that out, but I find wet hands do just fine.
  13. Put a little of the 50/50 (WW/rice) flour on top of the loaf.
  14. Rotate the dough piece with your hand and the scraper to get a taut, smooth surface.
  15. You can really work on getting the skin taught, or just place it in a basket lined with a towel covered in the 50/50 flour. I have gone the simple route since it is sitting around overnight. See the original recipe for more instructions on how to care for it. Since this is my “tasty but workable in my schedule” recipe, I’m going to skip that.
  16. Put in bowl or basket lined with towels that are lightly floured with the rice flour (to prevent sticking). It’d be nice to have the seam side down, but will lend itself to a more organice shape if you do it that way.
  17. Let rise 3-4 hours at 75-80°F. Or 8-12 hours in the fridge (which yields more complex flavors) or 6-8 hours on your 65+° kitchen, like me.
  18. 20 min before bake, preheat dutch oven and lid in a 500°F oven.
  19. Pull top of the dutch oven out and place pan top on the stove, leaving the big bottom inside. Use caution, of course, since the damn thing is now 500°F.
  20. Invert dough into pan. Make 4 cuts with razor (or this razor) on the piece to allow full rise while baking.
  21. After 20 minutes, take top off and reduce to 450.
  22. Bake more for 20 min, until the loaf takes on a ‘deeply caramelized’ look. (20 gets you plesently dark, I have not tried 25 yet)
  23. Place on a rack or on it’s side to allow air to travel underneath.
  24. Listen for the sound of bread crackling due to the contraction of the crust. Like preserves pinging. Yeah! (I finally got that on my 3rd attempt in July 2013, it sounded like water sizzling on a pan).

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