Sunday, June 2, 2013

to the staff of life!

i can't believe that i'm actually saying goodbye. it's not forever, i mean, i will leave this blog up for posterity, but i will no longer be contributing new posts. every fine experiment must come to an end, you know. think of this blog as a book. i refer to it as often as you when i've forgotten a detail, and even chad's book has a final page, as does proust's 'in search of lost time', and we all know how long that book is. in fact, i think that he actually died with a pen in his hand (i'm talking proust here) so, if he was immortal, perhaps 'in search of lost time' would still be in the process of being penned: and furthermore!

parmesan & lucques olive: the farewell boule

in keeping with my nature in never lingering over a farewell, i give you my final post. thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for joining me on this road. thank you for all of the comments and emails about how my blog has helped you overcome your bread fears. this is why i began the blog to begin with, and so, i have accomplished my goal.

i want to thank susan at wild yeast blog who helped me on my bread path from the start, and who gave me a place to share my discovery with you. if not for susan, there would be no tartine bread experiment, because i would never have gotten a starter off the ground (for reals). i also wanted to thank all of the people who have installed my blog on their blog lists, i can't tell you what an honor that is.

they say that 'you are only as good as your last _____', and i am happy to say that not a single person has ever written to me to tell me that their starter or bread did not turn out when using this blog. in fact, every comment has detailed the contrary. we have overcome some mysteries together, we've worked some things out, we have held one another's hand. you, dear reader, have educated me along the way. et, voila! by now i think that we are all chad-worthy bakers.

so this is the moment when the tartine bread experiment is no longer an experiment, but an homage to chad robertson who has opened up the sexy world of bread to people like you and me who never thought making something so divine in our very own kitchens was remotely possible. thank you chad (even though you don't know who the hell i am), and THANK YOU ALL!


the final formula:


the night before you plan to make the dough, make your levain:

50g 100% hydration whole rye starter
100g to your health sprouted spelt flour
100g cold filtered h2o

mix this all up to a paste, and ferment overnight. mine fermented for 8 hours.


all of the levain
360g cold filtered h2o
555g KA bread flour
147g lucques olives*
120g parmigiano-reggiano cheese, chopped into bits
26g good fruity olive oil
11g salt

*the olives weighed 219g before i pitted them. the weight above is the pitted weight.

dissolve the levain in the h2o. mix the flour in until you reach a shaggy mass. autolyse this for one hour.

shaggy mass.

after 1-hour autolyse

after the autolyse, squish the salt and olive oil into the dough with your fingers. now begins the 4-hour bulk fermentation, the first 2 hours of which you will perform a series of turns every half hour; this is done at room temp. during the first turn, fold in the cheese and olives. try to keep the cheese and olives encased in the dough while you are doing your turns.

after the first 2 hours with turns, pop in the fridge for the final 2 hours. after the bulk fermentation, turn the dough out onto a rice-floured work surface, gather it up into a loose round, and rest for 15 minutes. after the 15-minute bench rest, work the dough into a tight boule.

pop the dough into a bowl that has been lined with a rice flour-dusted linen, cover with a dampened square of cheesecloth, and cover with a bowl or a plate. pop in the fridge for 18 hours.


an hour before you plan to bake, pop your combo cooker into the oven (your stone should be in there. always, right?) and preheat to 550. when the oven is good and hot, pull the dough out of the fridge.

unearth the dough and score it DEEPLY; slide it into the oven and pop the lid on. turn the heat down to 475 and steam for 30 minutes.

after the 30 minute steam, remove the lid. turn the oven down to 450 for 15 minutes, then down to 425 and bake till golden, maybe another 15 minutes. watch it. the cheese will burn if its baked too long.

verdict: the crust turned out brittle and light, the crumb uber tender and open, and of course, i don't have to tell you how good it is. the 18 hour final fermentation, and the addition of cheese and olive oil make this boule as decadent as it looks. this is the perfect denouement to a wonderful journey.




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