This weekend I baked a Tartine style Country Loaf Bread. It is a true sourdough, that means no commercial yeast at all. Can you believe that a mere 1 tablespoon of sourdough starter will raise an entire loaf of bread? I have never asked my starter to perform such a feat!
This is a 2 day process, so there was much anticipation about how the final loaf would look and taste. I’m also showing the date/time of each step, so that you might envision how to fit this recipe into your busy schedule. You do not need a stand mixer for this bread, although I used mine to mix the dough. The dough is developed by a series of stretch and folds, rather than by kneading. The loaf is baked in a Dutch oven, a heavy enameled cast iron covered pot.
- 1 tbsp. active 100% hydration sourdough starter
- 100 g. warm water
- 50 g. all purpose flour
- 50 g. white whole wheat flour
- all of the Preferment
- 350 g. warm water
- 350 g. bread flour
- 150 g. white whole wheat flour
- 10 g. salt
Saturday 9:00 am – Stir together the preferment ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 7 hours. As the day goes on, it will become increasingly puffy and bubbly.
Saturday 4:00 pm – Combine the final dough ingredients with the preferment in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix just until combined to form a wet shaggy dough, do not knead.
Transfer to a bowl (no oil), cover with plastic wrap and let it rest 45 minutes.
Saturday 4:45 pm – Set up a large cutting board, I rubbed mine with just a tiny bit of olive oil to help with sticking. Use a bench knife to stretch and fold the dough, then return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat this step every 30 minutes until 8 pm.
Saturday 8:00 pm – Here is my Tartine dough, 12 hours into the process. It is fragrant, smooth and silky. You can hold this dough in your hands and literally feel that it is alive. Now it will go into the fridge overnight to be baked in the morning.
Sunday 8:00 am – Good morning beautiful! Here it is, a perfect ball of dough, full of air bubbles. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 500º. Place the Dutch oven into the oven while it is heating for 1/2 hour prior to baking.
Sunday 8:30 am – Sprinkle the Dutch oven with cornmeal and use a stiff spatula to carefully nudge the dough from the bowl without deflating the air bubbles. Gently place the dough into the Dutch oven, cover and return to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 450º and bake for 30 minutes.
Sunday 9:00 am – Remove the cover and continue baking another 15-20 minutes.
Sunday 9:20 am – Look at this magnificent loaf of bread! Now transfer it to a rack, it will need to cool completely before slicing.
After all the anticipation, we could hardly wait for dinner. The crust crackled when I sliced into it and the crumb was open and soft.
I could have made a meal of just this bread with some dipping oil! It reminded me of how good bakery bread used to taste back in the 1960′s. Really.
Sourdough bakers, you must try this method. I think this is one of the best loaves I have ever baked!