27 August 2011

Weekend Cooking: Review: Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Before I get to today's post, I want to take a minute to thank everyone who nominated Weekend Cooking for the Best Meme award for Book Bloggers Appreciate Week. I've decided to decline the nomination. I am thrilled that others have recognized the success of Weekend Cooking, which is nearing its 100th birthday (today is the 97th post), and that is honor enough for me.

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.

Tartine Bread at Powell's
Tartine Bread at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Chronicle Books, September 2010
ISBN-13: 9780811870412
Source: review (see review policy).
Rating: B+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sharon Galligar Chance 8/27/11, 6:38 AM  

I love breads, and these look soo good!
Congrats on your nomination, and a pat on the back for approaching your 100th meme!

TheBookGirl 8/27/11, 6:46 AM  

There is something so soothing to me about baking bread. I'm not sure what it is -- I don't think it's just the kneading part, because sometimes I let my Kitchen Aid or bread machine do that part. Maybe the anticipation of the warm bread, the smell of it baking, or just the whole process itself. Whatever, I love it.

This book sounds wonderful; I think it is the ultimate compliment for a cookbook when, as you say here, there is something for the novice as well as the experienced cook/baker.

Congrats on your nomination; this is hands down my favorite book meme :)

Beth 8/27/11, 7:14 AM  

Sounds like a good resource. Congrats on almost 100!

To everyone in the path of Irene, be safe today!

JoAnn 8/27/11, 7:50 AM  

Can't wait to start cooking and baking again this fall - it's been the summer of the grill here! Congrats on the nomination and upcoming 100th WC post.

Beth S. 8/27/11, 8:13 AM  

I love bread but I've always been scared to dive in and make my own. Perhaps I'll have to give this book a try.

Marg 8/27/11, 8:40 AM  

I can't imagine being in a position where I would want to make my own bread, although I do love the smell of it so maybe that is enough incentive!

Congrats on the nomination - it is well deserved, but I do understand why you have chosen to turn it down.

Are you planning something special for post 100?

bermudaonion 8/27/11, 9:47 AM  

He is certainly passionate about bread! I've never had much luck with baking bread. Now that it's the two of us we don't eat much bread.

Barbara 8/27/11, 10:23 AM  

The best part of making your own bread is the smell of the house while it's baking. Absolute heaven!

stacey 8/27/11, 10:27 AM  

I am sorry that this is off topic.
I am new to this site and delighted to have found it. I would love to know the location of the photo of the bridge.

Beth F 8/27/11, 10:37 AM  

Hi Stacy -- welcome! I took that photo in Brugge. It's one of my favorite photos of one of my favorite places.

Rikki 8/27/11, 10:42 AM  

Sounds great! The Germans love their bread and I am a passionate bread eater. Will look for it on amazon.de. Thanks!

Zibilee 8/27/11, 11:28 AM  

I like to think that I am an adventurous cook and baker, but I have sort of been scared to try my hand at baking bread. I think there is something a little intimidating about it to me, and so, I always just fill up my bread maker and let it go to town. I think this might be the perfect book for me, and might help me ease on into the world of bread making without too much worry.

Congratulations on the nomination, by the way!

Melissa 8/27/11, 11:36 AM  

Congratulations on the nomination!

Gnoe (@Graasland) 8/27/11, 11:53 AM  

I'm still reluctant to try my hand at bread making... it's supposed to be d.i.f.f.i.c.u.l.t.?! Maybe this book will help me get over my fear?

Anonymous,  8/27/11, 1:40 PM  

I love baking bread and have ruined more loaves than I care to admit! But nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to a loaf of home baked bread. I just added this book to my wish list!
Now that I'm craving some fresh bread ...

Margot 8/27/11, 1:53 PM  

I an old baker that gets excited when the weather turns cool and signals it's time to bake. I always enjoy trying new bread recipes and techniques. I liked the video and his approach with the long rising time. That's new to me and I can't wait to try it.

Heather 8/27/11, 4:10 PM  

Ummm...bread... my favorite bread vendor at the Farmer's Market had to close down due to the economy and I am missing that yummy stuff. I have to find a new bakery or find the time to make my own. Considering I just made Ginger Peach Jam and Concord Grape Jelly today, I had better make it a priority!!! I think I'll go add this book to my Christmas wish list. :)

Nan 8/27/11, 4:38 PM  

Anything that encourages people to start making their own bread is great! I baked for ages, but now we have a bread machine and it makes delicious bread.

Kim 8/27/11, 9:27 PM  

Bread is like food from the gods for me! What a great book-must go look for it. Congrats on the nomination and a big "Wow!"! Almost 100 weeks already?? Where does the time go?

Anonymous,  8/27/11, 9:58 PM  

I love homemade bread, especially for toast.. But (and I think I've said this before), I don't like to spend that much time in the kitchen!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 8/28/11, 3:15 AM  

I love good bread but I've always thought of the process as too time consuming for me. Maybe one of these days!

Maggie 8/28/11, 9:37 AM  

I love to bake my own bread and will start again just as soon as I've finished with all these courgette recipes, two of which are for breads also!
Maggie @Normandy Life

Serena 8/28/11, 10:28 AM  

I've never baked my own bread...well that's not exactly true. I did bake one loaf as a kid for International Foods day in junior high...not sure it tasted the way it should have.

Lisa (BaffledBooks) 8/28/11, 1:03 PM  

Bread has become an obsession in our house, it's worth the effort! I will keep an eye out for this book, anything that makes bread easier is going to be welcome! :)

tanabata 8/28/11, 1:57 PM  

Congratulations on the nomination, and almost reaching the 100 milestone!

We have a bread maker which is so easy and good (we made tomato cheese bread this weekend) but this book sounds wonderful. One of the things I'm really looking forward to once we move State-side is having an oven again (Japanese kitchens are much too small) and being able to bake!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 8/28/11, 4:33 PM  

I love really good bread but have no talent in making it.

Congrats on the nomination and the (almost) 100th post! Its Monday What Are You Reading just hit 101 posts last week and I never thought it would go that long!

I love this meme!

Heather S-G 8/28/11, 5:55 PM  

Oh, I love this book! I have made a few loaves from it and they've been fantastic. I love the detail...and the photos, too :D

Julie P. 8/28/11, 5:58 PM  

This book just looks gorgeous!

Michelle 9/5/11, 2:09 PM  

I'm a bread person! This looks fantastical for someone like me. LOL

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