I don't know Kirsten all that well. Not personally, anyway. She writes a food blog that I check religiously for it's witty writing and totally aspirational weekend menu posts. I especially appreciate her writing on bread baking, and went out and bought Tartine Bread after her post on homemade English muffins. Kirsten and I have never hung out. We only know each other because we have a mutual friend and because we once worked together for a bit. Despite this, she gave me some of her starter. To be more specific, she gave me some of the Tartine Bread recipe starter. To clarify even further, she drove to my house and hand-delivered to me a container of this precious starter. Amazing. To make a starter, you mix flour and water into a culture and allow it to ferment naturally using only the wild yeasts found mainly in the air. This gives bread flavor and rise. It takes quite a few days for the starter to ferment and scratch made starter is the ideal beginning to any great bread. Needless to say, I was thrilled with Kirsten's gift. It gave me the motivation I needed to make my first foray into the somewhat intimidating pages that make up Tartine Bread. To ease into the process slowly, I decided to begin with the basic country bread recipe. This recipe yields fantastic results and will quell any misguided beliefs that one cannot make a great loaf of crusty bread in a home oven. The process takes a lot of time, but the results are well worth the work. You will produce loaves that are thickly crusty on the outside, yet lightly tender and subtly sour on the inside. Really delicious bread, made at home. I owe it all to Kirsten.
To find Tartine's basic country bread recipe, buy the beautiful book or click here.
|The starter that (ahem) started it all.|
|All of the kneading is done by hand in a bowl or plastic tub.|
|Rounds of dough resting before the final rise.|
|Crackly crusted and delicious.|