Whether you bake bread or are merely appreciate a fine loaf, this video from Chad Robertson will make you want to jump on a plane and get to Tartine Bakery and Cafe, where Chad and his wife Elizabeth Prueitt serve San Francisco with artisan breads, pastries and more.
Their cookbook, Tartine Bread, is worth the money if you’re going to start bread and are willing to begin by making your own starter. It’s a lengthy though simple process, but you must be dedicated. Once you have a starter and a leavening, you’re on smooth road and limited only by the ingredients you want to use.
Robertson’s unique fold-don’t-knead process allows new bakers to achieve the same thing as those who spent hours building muscle as they kneaded.
Weather watching for surfers and bread bakers
Be warned, however, that South Florida’s humid weather greatly affects the outcome of yeast-raised breads – there’s no way around it unless you have a finely controlled temperature bakery and proofing boxes; even then, weather works its way into every bakery. There’s the differential of ovens, and so on – in short, it’s a roll of the dice every time.
While new bakers find this an exercise in frustration, Robertson explains this – and says it’s why he loves to bake bread, knowing every loaf is unique.
The book features many other recipes using the breads, pastries and other dishes from the bakery/cafe. It’s full of photos that show how things should look in various stages of the recipe – a boon to those bakers who need the visuals.
But the 6-minute video of Robertson – really, a short documentary – explaining his bread, is drool-worthy.
If you’re going, Tartine is at 600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, Calif.; 415-487-2600; tartinebakery.com
The Tartine Bread cookbook is available through Amazon for $23.
(Thanks to my chef friend Steven Raichlen for suggesting this video.)