Tartine Country Bread – Recipe

Lately we have been into baking, it is a great way to disconnect from work. The precision of baking reminds me to the organic chemistry classes in the university.

In particular we can not stop trying recipes from Tartine Bakery recipe. Finally a book with recipes that can be made! not like the book from Eleven Madison Park, where each step to make a simple chicken can take ages….

The book ( you can find Amazon ) is very descriptive, easy to follow and have great picture of each step. The signature recipe that made Tartine in San Francisco and Chad Robertson famous is the country bread. People line in San Francisco to buy this bread everyday at 5PM and every single day is gone in less than 5 minutes. I really like the idea of releasing bread in the afternoon, because it is fresh and warm for the dinner. While if the bread is done early in the morning, it is sitting all day in the counter or your apartment and in the afternoon is not as fresh as it could be.

THis recipe looks complicated, but don’t feel intimidated, anybody can do it if the follow the steps and pay attention to the timing / frequency and temperature.

This bread takes time. In our case we have developed a weekly routine in order to have bread for the weekend. During the week we feed the starter and on Thursday night we the prepare everything to bake on Friday. On Friday we normally work from home, so we wake up very early, before the calls with Europe and prepare the dough so it ferments during working hours.


What do you need to make the bread:


1. Starter: ( 5-7 days in advance)

The key here is the starter that Chad Robertson had developed. To prepare the starter mix in a glass a mix of 50 grs of  50/50 ( whole wheat and all purpose flour ) and 50 grs of water. This is where the digital scale comes very handy.

This will be the base of the starter. Then this starter needs to be feed every morning with following proportions:

  • 33 grs of the previous day starter
  • 33gr of the 50/50 mix
  • 33gr of water
  • Frequency: daily. Time: early in the morning

Use your fingers to mix the ingredients, and mix them in a glass. Then let it rest at room temperature with a kitchen towel on top.

After 2 or 3 days repeating this process  the culture should start to generate bubbles on the top. After 3-5 days the culture should growth around 2 or 3 times it’s orignal size and then go back to the initial size.

You know when the starter is ready when it behaves in a predictable manner each day, it grows the same amount and then go back to the original form around the same time. The smell should go from ripe and acidic before feeding, into more milky and sweet.

2. Leaven

To make the leaven feed 1 tablespoon of the starter with 200 gr of the 50/50 mix  the remaining starter with 200 grams of warm water.

You want to do this the day before you are planing to make the bread. In our case we prepare the leaven Thursday night, and make the bread Friday all day, starting early in the morning. Let the mixture rise overnight at room temperature, around 65 C. When it’s ready, the leaven should have risen slightly. The way to know the leaven is ready is because it should float in water. If it does not float let the leaven rise for 40 minutes, next to source of heat, I normally put next to a boiling water pot.

Tartine Country bread recipe step 1 and 2


3. Dough preparation :

After the leaven pass the water floating test, you need to mix following ingredients:

  • 700 grams of water at 80 C.
  • 200 grams of the leaven. (The remainder of the leaven is the starter that you’ll store and feed regularly.)
  • 900 grams of bread flour
  • 100 grams of whole wheat flour;

Let it rest for 40 minutes for the flour to start developing and gluten to start forming.

Note it is very important the temperature of the water, this will drive the temperature of the dough. The dough will rise and ferment in 3-4hours in temperature from 78 to 82 C. If the room of your kitchen is low, you will need to use water at higher temperature.

After 40 minutes add:

  • a tablespoon of salt
  • 50 gr of water.

Squeeze the dough to mix the salt in and knead it in the bowl for 3-5 minutes. At this point the dough is ready for the bulk fermentation, in the  Food Storage Containers.

This is the signature step of the Tartine bread. The bulk fermentation happens inside a plastic food storage container for 3-4 hours. During that time move the dough every 30 minutes, during the first 2 hours, like in the pictures.

Tartine Country bread recipe step 3

4. Kneading

After 4 hours at 80 C the bulk fermentation should be finished and no it’s time for kneading. This mix will make 2 loaves of bread.

Drop the dough in a un-flour surface and start adding flour and fold until it is not sticky, then divide in 2 parts.

Let it rest for 20 minutes covered with a kitchen towel. After the resting time you want to increase tension to ensure it rises up later on.  The folding steps are “explained” below image in final shaping, or kind of…

After that let it rest for 2-3 hours before baking

Tartine Country bread recipe step 4




For baking, unless you have a wood oven, the best way to reproduce those high temperatures is to use a Dutch Oven. Pre heat the oven at 500 C and with the cover inside.

Then bake the bread at 450 C for 20 minutes, inside the dutch oven. After 20 minutes remove the dutch over cover and heat for other 20 minutes. This will caramelize the surface and made a nice crumb.

After than you should wait until the bread cool down, but I have to say it is not mandatory and will not make the bread better 🙂 so you are READY TO GO!!

Tartine Bread - Cooking New York-1044

Tartine Bread - Cooking New York-1050


  1. there is an error in the water temperature, Chad´s Drawings are talking about °F and in your publication are °C

    almost boiling water, and burning oven.

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