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.



  • 43g bread flour
  • 42g whole wheat flour
  • 85g water (25ºC / 78ºF)
  • 30g liquid sourdough

Final formula:
  • 900g bread flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 700+50ml water (27ºC/80ºF)
  • 200g preferment
  • 20g salt


  1. Prepare the preferment by mixing all ingretdients in a bowl and let it covered at room temperature (19ºC / 65ºF) for 8-12 hours
  2. In the mixer's bowl add 700ml water with the preferment and the 2 types of flour. Start the mixer for 3 minutes just to insure that all ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Let the dough rest for 25-40" (autolyse).
  4. Add salt and the remaining 50g water and mix well for 10 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with a lid and do the bulk fermentation for the next 3-4 hours. In this time do 2-3 stretch and folds every 30 minutes. DDT 26-28ºC / 78-82ºF.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and put in on a board.
  7. Do some more stretch and folds, divide in 2 and preshape as boule.
  8. Let the dough rest for 20-30".
  9. Shape the breads and lay them in floured bannetons .
  10. The final fermentation is done for 3-4 hours at 24-27ºC / 75-80ºF. Alternatively, put the bannetons in the fridge for 8-12 ore.
  11. 40" before the baking, preheat the oven and the dutch oven with its lid at 260ºC / 500ºF.
  12. Put the loafs in the hot cast iron pot. I usualy  lay a small baking sheet on the bottom of the pot to be sure that after baking, the bread will be removed easily.
  13. Score the bread with a sharp blade.
  14. Put the lid on and put the pot back in the oven.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on keeping the same temperature and then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 20-25".
  16. For the second bread, repeat the steps 12-15. To avoid that the second bread is not overfermented keep it at a slightly lower room temperature while baking the first one.

The recipe was taken from Chad Robertson - Tartine Bread. (Basic country bread)


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