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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 August 2015
I'm going to be honest with you. I failed my fist 11 "Basic Country Dough" attempts because I didn't use a cast iron pot. I played with the hydration, tried different brands of flour.. But after 11 time I was adept at every step of the dough development. All I got were fat tasty pancakes with still more open/wet crumb than store bought sourdough.

At 12th attempt within 2 weeks I put my dough in an airtight cast iron pot to bake. Voila. The most beautiful loaves I've ever baked.

I've also tried the whole wheat, walnut country, croissant, olive oil brioche; and have no interest in the weird spread recipes in the book. I simply put Nutella, Mascarpone+Honey, or Peanutbutter on my bread. No need for anchovy tartare, ew. Keep in mind you can use the brioche recipe to make sticky buns/cinnamon buns although they are not in the book.

If you buy this book and decide to try it out: work hard to master the first recipe; all recipes in the book use the same dough/technique. Once you get it right, you can simply add other ingredients and try out the other recipes.

If your dough seems "wet" after 3 hours of bulk fermentation; try giving it a good 15 minutes knead in the stand mixer after you add the salt. If you are in a high altitude area, try reducing its hydration to 70%. Don't do more than 4-5 turns during the preshaping before the bench rest. Your dough should have risen by 30% before that. It will feel "full" but not like a wet sticky gummy substance at that time.

The 30%-40% rise is important. If you feel thousand tiny bubbles bursting when you last fold and stretch your dough, and it feels "full"; then it's ready to stop the bulk fermentation. Could be 3 hours or 6. Aim to create surface tension on the top dome of the dough during the preshaping "turning". The bottom of the dough sticks to the UNFLOURED working surface and you softly guide the edges with your floured hand and a dough knife to stretch the gluten strands in a spiral. When there is tension; stop and start the bench rest. If your dough looks like it's proofing too fast and goes over the banneton; immediately refrigerate for 8 hours and bake a retarded (lol) version of the bread. Otherwise it will feel like soup and you risk getting a fat pancake because of over-fermentation (breaks the gluten which will help in oven spring)

Sealing the steam in is important in the first 20 minutes of baking. Make sure to heat the oven up with your lodge/cast iron pot inside it for 1 hour and use a cheap oven thermometer to read 500F.

It was difficult for me to get the first "correct" loaf, but you will gain confidence and try out the other recipes once done.

Also you will never want to eat bread other than the one you baked at home. This has been the best bread I have tasted. I finished my first loaf in a few hours with spreads and in sandwiches. It was so good!
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on 23 September 2012
I've been a breadmaker for over 40 years ever since we moved from Paris (yes, that one) to Raleigh NC in 1972 and realized that there was no substance on sale that resembled bread. (Wonder Bread is neither). Over this whole time period I have been learning (slowly) how to make better bread. There are many excellent guides to follow -- Dan Lepard, Joe Ortiz, Peter Reinhardt come to mind. Now I teach breadmaking classes to home cooks for fundraisers for my favorite charities.

So when I bought Tartine I really didn't expect it to have so much impact on my breadmaking. But Chad Robertson's method is so well described and so simple to follow that I am rethinking my whole approach to bread. My starter is nearly 20 years old, but who knew one could make a whole batch of wonderful wholemeal sourdough with just one tablespoon of starter?

Yes. the method takes time but most of it is elapsed time and the process is actually simpler than classical kneading. Start with the first recipe but don't stop there --- the variations are wonderful. Most bread makers are obsessive and Chad is no exception --- but the conseqences of his obsession are compelling and will absolutely make you a better bread baker.

Dan Lepard's Handmade Loaf, Joe Ortiz' Village Baker and Peter Reinhardt's Crust and Crumb are all invaluable additions to a breadmaker's library and they have much in common with Tartine -- but Chad takes it a little further. If you have a serious interest in bread making (or want to start at the top) run, don't walk to buy this book and start baking. You'll be more than happy that you did.
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on 1 February 2012
If like me you have a passion for really great bread, then understanding the author's own passion is for me an essential aspect of his recipes. The first part of the book (a chapter you can skip if you like) takes you on a journey of his discovery and bread baking apprenticeships. For me this set the whole scene for what was to come and gave me a deeper appreciation for the slightly different styles and techniques which followed.

Chad outlines techniques and timings that other books leave out. I have many many books on the subject of making bread and this is the only one that gives you a real understanding of WHEN the starter/leaven/dough is ready to move on to the next stage in order to maximise flavor and rise. A complete eye-opener!

I simply can't recommend this book enough and will definitely be visiting the bakery store when I am next in San Francisco.
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on 31 August 2011
Having had the fortune of living a few blocks away from the wonderful bakery for a short time, I can say with confidence that this book gives you everything you need to recreate the wonderful bread at home wherever you may live.

Here's a collection of random thoughts on the book:
* Be warned, it takes a bit of planning and TIME to make bread like this. Basically an all-day affair - ideal for a rainy Sunday at home, but not very practical on an otherwise busy day. The payoff is that the bread made should last you for a good few days, and being sourdough, won't go stale to quickly..

* Also be warned - its HIGHLY addictive! Once you get the bug you can and will become obsessed. Its happened to me and also a friend who happened across this book

* You WILL mess a few things up on your first few attempts, but never mind - the bread will almost certainly still be fantastic from first attempt - and will only get better on subsequent tries

* You will never bake the same way again - the techniques you pick up in this book can be applied to any kind of leavened baking - pizzas, doughnuts, sweet buns, croissants etc
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on 1 June 2015
Great book, I even enjoyed the stories.
Loads of variation recipes and other stuff that I haven't got to yet.

There is a problem though. The formulas are a bit flaky, some errors in the calculations plus no mention for european users that our flour, generally, does not absorb as much water as US flour.
That meant I wasted 2Kg of flour trying the basic recipe out. I do have some high protein Canadian flour from Shipton Mill that may have been ok, but you live and learn!

There are some good articles explaining this, the best of which I saw was :-

That gives a revised recipe and explains the problem.
Would have been five stars, it's just a shame that the recipes were converted to grams but are just too wet :-(
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2011
I very nearly did - and that would have been a mistake.

It is one of the most thorough and thoughtful introductions you could wish to find into the art (and science) of making naturally leavened breads.

Sourdough bread has become incredibly fashionable (and expensive) in recent years and so making your own at home is very tempting. It is not an easy process and you need a lot of patience. This elegantly produced book (with some stunning photography) takes you through all the necessary steps clearly without patronising the more experienced reader.

The first half takes you through a range of bread-making techniques and the rest is given over to some recipes using the breads. I intend to work my way through it all!

You certainly need a passion to embark on this sort of baking journey - this book could well inspire you to try.
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on 14 September 2013
This book was recommended to me by Ben of the E5 bakery after attending a day course (which I can also heartily recommend. ) Tartine is a stunning book beautiful photographs and very detailed explanations. Anyone interested in baking bread without yeast should get this book.
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on 5 December 2010
I would definitely recommend Tartine Bread to anyone who is keen to learn how to make real bread. I had been having a lot of bread-making failures, but since purchasing this book and following Chad Robertson's recipe word for word I am now making fabulous sourdough bread every single time.
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on 8 April 2014
Brilliant book for all those wishing to make their own sour dough bread. The author is clearly a world expert on all aspects of artisan bread making. Before finishing the book he had a number of people try out his recipe and techniques and then went to their houses to discuss their experiences and see the results of their efforts. There were even some who had never previously baked a loaf of bread! So the reader can be certain that the recipes work even for those who have never before attempted bread making.
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on 6 June 2011
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It takes you through each step of making a sourdough bread and completely explains why you need to do what you must to get the finished product. I have been looking for an indepth book like this for ages.

Great for any keen baker!
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