December 10, 2010 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Cool little video profile of Chad Robertson, co-owner, with his wife, Elisabeth Prueitt, of San Francisco's Tartine bakery. Chad is obsessed with bread.

You can find a detailed recipe and guide to making the country loaf in Robertson's Tartine Bread cookbook.

Here is an adapted recipe for the country loaf.
An adapted recipe for panade.
One for "Kale Caesar" salad.
And one for something called Brown Bread Ice Cream.
posted by AceRock (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I would love to have some of Tartine's bread again. But I haven't been there for seven or eight years, despite its proximity to my house, because every time I go by, the line to get in is at least half a block long. I've waited less time to get a walk-in table at Delfina, right around the corner. Darn them for being so good and popular!
posted by rtha at 8:36 AM on December 10, 2010

[bitter comments redacted because I don't live near an artisan bakery filled with smart, pretty, obsessive, musically-talented people who make amazing bread]
posted by mecran01 at 8:38 AM on December 10, 2010

Obsessed with bread? Who isn't?

That said, I really love the Tartine cookbook...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:40 AM on December 10, 2010

Tartine is completely awesome - always one of the first places I hit whenever I am in SF. It's on the same block at Delfina, Delfina Pizzeria, and Bi-Rite Market - the finest food block ever!! Tartine bread is truly magnificent - and the hallmark of a great bread is that it is even better the next day (if it lasts that long) as the flavors continue to develop.

Their first, more pastry driven cookbook is also great - but it does not contain the recipe for their rocking Morning Buns - a masterpiece of flaky crossaint style dough with a sugary cinnamon citrus filling. I fill my carry on luggage with the morning buns and dole them out like a crack dealer to my special friends. When I asked the bakery staff why the recipe was missing - I was given a cold stare and told "it's a State Secret".

Thanks for the heads up on the new book! Must. Have. It.
posted by helmutdog at 8:51 AM on December 10, 2010

Bacteria creates the flavor and every place has its own. San Fran is famous for sourdough because of native bacteria and climate factors. Tartine sells the cooked (dead) bread, but not the living beast, it would be like giving away the store. Maybe someone can snag a piece of raw dough from the dumpster, like stealing the source code.
posted by stbalbach at 9:05 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe someone can snag a piece of raw dough from the dumpster, like stealing the source code.

Or hang out in the cafe all day with an open jar of water and flour.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:13 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Though it has awesome baked products, has anyone else noticed how infested Tartine has become with the hipster virus?
posted by jasper411 at 9:36 AM on December 10, 2010

Yes, and that's why I can't get in any more. The weekend of Burning Man, we headed to Tartine for brunch, because Burning Man is the *ideal* time to go eat and drink at places in SF that are usually crowded, because everyone goes to BRC.

But no. The line at Tartine was possibly even longer than usual. All the non-Burning-Man-going hipsters went to Tartine instead, damn them.
posted by rtha at 9:48 AM on December 10, 2010

Hipsters or not-Hipsters as their clientele, these folks obviously love what they do, and put all their life and passion into it (except for the life and passion of surfing...but you know). They deserve every dollar the culturally elite pass their way.
posted by gcbv at 9:56 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

The importance of the location and the individual starter is waaaaaaay overstated. This sort of bread is my living at the moment, and the real key is consistency, care, and an absurd amount of work. Huge cervap ovens and big-ass mixers help too. Our bakery is well-known (in our area) for our sourdoughs and we happily give out starter (which has its own apocryphal history, to boot) to anyone that asks for it. If someone wants to open a store to compete with us, the starter will get them about .1% of the way there.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:59 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I make bread all the time and have adapted the no-knead method which is easy, takes almost no time and produces an incredible loaf. This variation that Cooks Illustrated came up with gives it even more flavor. While you aren't using a started, the use of beer and vinegar give it a nice complexity. Also, making your own costs pennies not $7 a loaf.

Here's the basic recipe with some of the variations I've found work for me - there are tons of variations online including videos. Once you make it a few times you get down what temps work best for you.

3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
1 Tbs. white vinegar

Mix dry in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or whatever else you have on hand, slowly add water. You want a wet and sticky dough. I find I always have to add more water that the recipe calls for. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let it rise for 8-12 hours. I usually do this right before I go to bed if I'm going to be around the next day, or right when I get up if I want bread when I get home.

When the bread is down rising, pour it out onto a heavily floured surface. I use a silmat since it makes for really easy cleanup. I use my fingers to un-stick the dough from the bowl. Flour your hands, dump a bunch of flour onto of the dough and press out the air bubbles. Fold the bread over itself like you're making an envelope. Wrap it in a heavily floured tea towel (this dough is wet so it can tend to stick to stuff).

Let it rise for about two hours. Put a covered dutch oven, or le creuset or whatever else can take the heat and has a lid in the oven and pre-heat to 350F (the actual temp may take some experimentation to find what works best with your oven). Let the put warm up which takes about 20 minutes. Take the lid off and toss the bread in the pot, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 or so minutes. When it looks delicious dump it out of the pan and let it cool.

The only real trick is figuring out the easiest way to get it from the tea towel to the pot without covering yourself with flour. If it stick to the towel just peel it off and toss the whole chunky mess in the pot – it'll even itself out as it bakes.

This bread is awesome and cheap. Enjoy!
posted by misterpatrick at 10:17 AM on December 10, 2010 [6 favorites]

The importance of the location and the individual starter is waaaaaaay overstated.

Agreed. Christy Timon of Clear Flour Bread gave me my first Real Job when I was in high school, in 1982. At the time, artisanal bakeries as we know them today were basically unknown; Clear Flour began as wholesale-only (and the last time I visited, maybe eight years ago, they had been doing retail for a while and there was a line out the door).

If I'm remembering right, Christy did stints in San Francisco, France, and Italy to learn bread techniques and styles. When she came home, she worked her ass off. We all did (I think there were three of us at the time). I was the sole baker/prep person in the afternoons and early evenings - I'd make doughs that would need to ferment/proof overnight, and form loaves and bake off whatever had been prepped in the morning. In the summer, it was hot - unbelievably, crazily hot, and I'd go across the street to the little park and stand in the fountain there. One time a cop asked me what the hell I was doing, and when I explained about working in the bakery, he laughed sympathetically.

It remains one of the best, most satisfying jobs I've ever had. It makes me so, so happy that they're still around, and that Christy is still working and being successful and making wonderful bread.
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

jasper411: "Though it has awesome baked products, has anyone else noticed how infested Tartine has become with the hipster virus?"

I am really tired of this kind sentiment.

1. Complaining that any establishment in the Mission is overly* patronized by hipsters (whatever they are) is like complaining about all the homosexuals in the Castro.

2. In that video, and on any given day, the amount of hipsters are dwarfed by the amount of yupsters. Here's a clue. All those new $750k condos being built on Valencia? They're not being bought by hipsters (whatever they are). (c.f. Williamsburg)

3. The label itself is now truly and completely meaningless, much in the same way that "hippie" used to refer to an actual sub-culture but then in the 80s became anyone who you didn't like. Its only descriptive power now is as a reflection on the speaker.

*How many are ok?
posted by danny the boy at 12:12 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

So...you guys know you can order their bread over the phone and skip the line when you pick it up, right?
posted by cali at 11:02 PM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

For years and year I have been frustrated in the attempt to get a proper glaze on the top of the bread. That one trick, the Dutch oven - tried it this morning and bingo - damn near perfect loaf.

(Twelve hour rise helped as well. Twelve hours. Who'd have thought?)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:45 AM on December 17, 2010

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