Basic Tartine Country Bread (based on the recipe of Chad Robertson)

I wanted to make this bread for a long time, since I've read the book of Chad Robertson. It is a special book and caught my attention with 2 things that I love: photography and bread baking. Chad tells his story in the book: how he started to make bread, how he was for many years in the search of the perfect bread recipe, and I have to recognize that I've read it like a novel. I admired his path to succeed as a bread baker and I envy him in the same time that he dedicated his life to bake bread. Well, everybody has his path in life and I'm glad to share with him the same passion.
The book is full of nice photographs either related to moments of his life or directly related to bread baking. These breads are exceptional and they perfectly combine with the content.

Enough with this book that I strongly recommend, let's see what ended up for me following his recipe.
The reason why I have postponed so long this recipe is that requires more time and effort than  Hamelman's recipes. So, I needed a free weekend to pay attention to all the details of the recipe.

I have started the recipe Saturday morning and the bread was ready by lunch on Sunday. I have chosen to make the final fermentation in the fridge because I wanted to use somehow the hours during the night and not to fill a full long day only with bread baking.
As I have already said, I have started the bread at 8am in the morning with the preferment. I let it stay until 5pm. It took some minuted to mix all together plus another  40" for the autolyse. Than I mixed again, and this is how the first hour has passed. Then, I continued with the bulk fermentation for the next 4 hours with stretches and folds every 30 minutes. the dough was very wet at 77% hydration and it was difficult to work with it. that's why it needed so many stretches and folds. And, I don't count that the flour that I find here in Belgium is lower in gluten than the one you can find in US. So this is how I realized that the time was already 10pm. I took out the dough from the bowl that was clearly running in all directions on my wooden board, but after few stretch and folds it became more firm. I divided it in 2 parts, let it rest as it is required in the recipe for another 30 minutes, shape the 2 loafs rounds, put them in bannetons, covered them in plastic bags and let them fermenting over night in the fridge. It was already 11pm after all these steps.
The next day in the morning, I realized the it didn't raised so much so I let them out at room temperature for another 2 hours and baked the one after another.
When I have removed the lid after the first 20 minutes I was a bit disappointed because they haven't raised as much as I would have liked but on the other side they were not looking bad at all.
I didn't wait to cool completely and I cut one for lunch. That taste hit me! A bread that worth all the effort. I will make it again for sure even if I'll try the variations proposed by Chad. I can say that if there is somebody passiond about bread baking, this recipe is a must because even difficult, the effort price is payed by the taste, quality and aroma of the bread.

Feta saganaki

Every time I go to Greece for holidays I need to try the local food goodies. The Greek cuisine is one of my favorite. This year I had the pleasure to spend my holiday in Zakynthos. What a lovely holiday, what a sunny country and what an amazing island with breathtaking views. We were travelling the whole day and in the evening, before resting in the hotel, we were stopping to take the dinner in a Greek taverna. And what delicious food they had!
I'll put some pictures from that holiday for you to see what beauties are there!

For this post I have chosen a simple and amazing recipe. I remember that for dinner I was always asking for a feta saganaki even if the main dish was enormous. So I decided to try it at home as well and it was so successful that it finished in one meal. It remained only the sweet memories of their taste.

Homemade chips

Yes, I know! Chips are not the most healthy food that you can put for dinner. But do you really believe that the ones that you buy in a bag or a box from supermarket are more healthy than the ones homemade? I do not believe so. And if I want mouthwatering chips than I prefer to make my owns.

Chips are extremely simple to do at home, you only need the right tools.

So here is the recipe ...

Rustic buckwheat bread

It happens sometimes that my schedule and bread schedule simply doesn't match. This is what happened with this bread. I was panning to do do another recipe more complicated bu I had to change and try this one. I have chosen a bread with buckwheat. If you remember, I have used the buchwheat for another recipe (see Bio buckwheat bread) and its special aroma remained in my memories.
I have started this bread in the evening and I realized I was too tired to finish it in the same day so I gave up and put the dough in the fridge even during the bulk fermentation. To let the bread in the fridge to ferment is something normal but it is more common for the final fermentation not for the bulk one. I was so tired that I risked simply puting the bread in the fridge and went to sleep.
The next day, in the morning, the dough taken out from the fridge was cold so I let it at the room temperature for half an hour. I was expecting the bread to fall down in the oven due to the bulk fermentation in the fridge and this is what happened indeed ... until it raised and cracked so nicely in the next 10 minuted inside the oven. The schedule fit perfectly to have fresh warm bread for lunch. Delicious! A very good formula that finally matched with my schedule.

Corn flour bread

I was planning to do another bread, but I simply forgot to make the preferment the day before. I remained then with the only option to do a straight bread. And this is how I have chosen this recipe that I present here.
This is a bread with corn flour. Corn flour is diferent from polenta, one is flour one is semolina. The colour of the crumb is a bit yellow due to the corn flour. The taste is more sweet than a normal bread. The bread raised nicely and it opened beatifully in the oven.

Raspberry muffins

Did I mention that raspberries are my favorite fruits? I love them fresh, in any state and in any combination. A raspberry ice cream or a raspberry tart makes my day! But now let's put these goodies aside and focus on these amazing muffins with raspberries. They have a bit of sour taste and they keep the delicate aroma of these berries.

Cream of zucchini soup

I am not a big fan of cream soup but I have decided to vary from my classical soups. Also, I am not a big fan either of zucchini and I do not use them so often in my dishes. More, when I hove told my dear husband that I was intending to do a zucchini cream soup he snorted a bit and I was wandering if finally my soup would be eaten. But I persisted in my trial and I gave a chance to this soup.

So, I followed the original recipe with very few changes. It turn out to be a green liquid with no appetite for it. I filled one bowl, took a spoon and tried it. Mmmm, but it wasn't so bad at all! Much better than any soup I eat every day at the office cantine. Turned out to be flavored and with a reach taste for just a simple vegetables soup.
Next test was clearly for my husband to taste it. And I saw his face changed into an amazed one: "mmm, but this is quite good!" It was clear then that my soup was a success. The only person I couldn't convince to try it was my daughter, but well ... I understood her because she preferred another dish that she loves.

Muffins with Turkish delight and vanilla

Two things that I didn't eat lately: Turkish delight and cupcakes. What a better combination for these 2?

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière

It is the second time I do this bread and the first time I really hated it. It's problem is the very high hidration. My problem is that I cannot find here a high-extraction wheat flour as the recipe of Hamelman requires. I didn't want to replace either the white wheate flour with whole wheat so I gave it a try with normal bread flour. First time I added more flour because the dough was extremely running (like a cream), impossible to give it a shape. Another mistake I did last time was to bake it on the oven stone and the bread spread quickly in all directions. Of course, I didn't through away the bread then and as taste was an incredible bread.
Today I have decided to give it another try. Remembering the last experience I was cautious and add a bit more flour from the start. But the dough was again running in all directions. I tried dozens of stretch and folds but didn't work, so when shaping I had to add more flour just enough to be able to gather the dough together. Another improvement from last time was to bake the bread not on the stone but in a dutch oven to be sure that I don't have again an Olympic running bread. For the first 30 minutes I baked it with the lid on and when I opened the oven to remove the lid I was shocked to see my beautiful bread. And I let here the modesty behind and I recognize this bread as being the most good looking bread I've ever made. The photos are not really capturing the "personality" of this bread. It is imposing itself, is high and has made even its "wings". It is a big bread of almost 2 kg, and I have to say this, I am so proud of it.

Apple bundt cake

There has been a long time since I cooked my bund cake. So it was the time for a new one, and of course with apples...

Roasted garlic levain

I am probably in an intensive baking period so I try a lot of new recipes of bread. Not only basic breads but also flavored bread. Now it is the right moment for a garlic bread. The taste of garlic is not very intense and gives a nice spicy flavor to the bread.

Sourdough seed bread

Oh that ear!!! ... When I made my last bread (not listed on this blog) I put it straigt on the hot stone and score it there with the oven open. And what a surprise, the bread made an ear. I was impressed of the result that I started to investigate from where it comes the difference with my previous scorings.
I have started to search over the internet about the secret of the ear and found a trick on blog that made me understand what I made wrong till now. Even if I have used exactly the tools used by professional beakers, even if I understood exactly the importance of the angle al the blade when scoring there was something that I didn't notice. Scoring a bread deeper results in the border falling with its own weight. This is what I made wrong. For this bread, the appearance of an ear was not anymore a serendipity but an indended fact. When scoring more like a scratch, with a blade used in an angle the border raise, the cut creates a nice open in the bread and raise from inside without merging with the border. That's the secret!
This bread in particular is not so wet as most of the breads presented by Hamelman, so the dough is easy to work with, Toasting some of the seeds adds a nice flavour to the bread. The seeds anyway gives the dominant flavour that complements the sourdough taste and aroma. It is a nice bread and worth totally the effort of doing a sourdough bread.