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I'm a bread person. Little is as satisfying as sliding a perfectly baked loaf of bread out of the oven; I love to make just the right bread for the meal I'm serving or for the sandwich I want to build.
I am a self-taught bread baker, and so I know it's possible to learn from a book and to perfect one's technique in a home kitchen. How much easier my journey would have been if I had started with Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread book. If you're new to bread baking, you can dive right in; if you're experienced, you may be surprised by how much you still have to learn. I was.
Through engaging narrative, beautiful photographs, and very clear instructions, Robertson helps even the timidest of bakers make the perfect loaf almost from the first try. In fact, Robertson introduces us to the people who tested his recipes at home, and their stories prove that anyone can bake good bread in a nonprofessional kitchen.
Here, Robertson explains the goal of Tartine Bread:
The "Tartine Bread" approach follows a loose set of concepts that we introduce in a single "basic recipe" and then build on throughout the book. As you gain an understanding of how bread "works," you will be able to make adjustments in timing and technique to achieve a broad range of results. The goal of making bread with a satisfying depth of flavor, a good crust, and a moist, supple crumb is a constant. (p. 13)I usually bake with yeast, but Robertson's method begins with a starter (similar to sourdough) and relies on a slow rise. From his basic country bread, a whole world of baking opens up, from simple round loaves to pizza, semolina bread, baguettes, and even English muffins.
I admit that the initial process of getting a starter going seems daunting, but truth be told, it takes just a few minutes a day and then you're set. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, it's okay to skip a day or so, starters are somewhat resilient. Thank goodness it's almost cool enough to start baking on a regular basis; the photographs of beautiful country loaves are difficult to resist.
The following video tells you all you need to know about Robertson and Tartine breads. You'll find other Tartine Bread videos on YouTube.
Tartine Bread has found a permanent place on my bookshelves.
Source: review (see review policy).
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