I’ve never pretended to be a baker. For one reason, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Second reason is normally baking recipes serve an army: dozens of cookies, three layer cake, etc. And with 2 people in my household, that’s too much for us. Making bread, however, is different. You can easily freeze extra loaves and/or slices. With recent media featuring recipes from San Francisco’s Tartine and New York’s Jim Lahey, I couldn’t help but be inspired, and I felt that maybe, just maybe, I could try my hand at being a non-sweet, more savory baker.
This particular recipe comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP, courtesy of Tartine baker and co-owner Chad Roberston. I followed the instructions exactly for the poolish pre-ferment (packaged yeast) version–including weighing all measurements. I did not have linen-lined baskets for the last rise, so I simply lined a few wide, short ceramic bowls with clean kitchen towels–worked just fine. This bread was so amazingly good. The crust was crisp and dark and the inside was perfectly moist and chewy. No joking here… this bread tasted like it easily walked out of Balthazar or any other first class bakery in the city. It felt refreshing knowing that something so healthy and void of preservatives could be so soul-warming and gratifying. The full process started Friday night and ended Sunday afternoon, so I encourage you to have a weekend at home to take this on. I had 3 loaves: 1 for me, and 2 meant for giveaway. Yeah right. One loaf was eaten in about 18 hours, and the other two froze beautifully and were eaten over the next 2 weeks.
Tartine’s Seeded Whole Grain Bread
Yield: 2-3 loaves
Chad’s Note: This is a basic light whole grain dough made using a poolish style pre-ferment and a long rise. The seed mixture adds a certain flavor profile I like, but the plain whole grain dough, without the seeds added, makes a good basic light whole wheat bread. At Tartine, we use natural leaven to make this bread, and I’ve provided that option as well. You’ll find more detailed instructions on making and maintaining your own natural leaven in our new book, Tartine Bread.
The overnight poolish pre-ferment is prepared a day ahead of the dough as the flavorful leaven. After the dough is mixed, it is fermented slowly overnight in the fridge to develop even more flavor.
- 200 grams all-purpose flour: 100 grams white / 100 grams whole wheat (both all-purpose)
- 200 grams water (70 deg ℉)
- 1 gram active dry yeast
Prepare this pre-ferment the day before you will mix your dough. To make the poolish in a bowl, mix the flour, water, and yeast. Let stand at cool room temperature overnight (10-12 hours). If you are not ready to mix your dough after the 10-12 hours at room temperature, put the poolish in the fridge and use within 8 hours.
If you’d like to make this dough with a natural leaven instead of a poolish pre-ferment, start by mixing together 1 cup of flour (half white, half whole wheat) in a small bowl with enough warm water to make a loose batter. Cover with cheesecloth and let sit at moderately warm room temperature (70-75 degrees ℉) for about 3 days. Uncover, and discard half of the mixture. Add another measure of your flour blend with additional water to refresh. Cover again and let sit for about 2 days. Repeat this process again—feeding once per day until the starter is rising and falling in a predictable manner. Once the starter has reached this stage, you can feed it at night before bedtime and use it to mix your dough in the morning. If using this natural starter to leaven your dough, decrease the amount to 200 grams (per kilo of flour total) and increase the water to 750 grams.
- 85 grams seed mixture: flax, poppy, and toasted sesame
- 650 grams whole grain wheat flour
- 350 grams sifted white wheat flour
- 700 grams water (70 deg ℉) (750 grams if using natural leaven)
- 400 grams poolish pre-ferment – recipe above (200 grams if using natural leaven)
- 30 grams salt
At least one hour prior to mixing dough, soak the seed mixture with 85 grams of hot water to absorb water and cool to room temperature.
To mix the dough, add the water to a large bowl. Add the pre-ferment and stir to disperse. Add the blend of white and whole wheat flours. Using your hands, mix thoroughly until no bits of dry flour remain. Let the dough rest for 20 – 40 minutes.
After the rest, add the 30 grams of salt with the mixture of seeds and incorporate into the dough. Dipping your hands in water, continue to fold the dough on top of itself to develop the dough and dissolve the salt. You can add a splash of water to help dissolve the salt. Let the dough rise for about 3-4 hours at moderately warm room temperature (78 deg ℉) giving a dozen turns in the bowl every half-hour to continue to develop. After this initial (bulk) rise, you are ready to portion and weigh your dough into individual pieces for loaves and, after the final shaping, retard the rising for another day in the fridge to develop more flavor.
If you’d like to use the dough on the same day: portion into 2-3 pieces and shape into rounds. Place each round into a linen-lined basket and let rise at the same moderate warm room temperature for another 3-4 hours before baking.
If retarding the rising for another 12+ hours: cover and place in the fridge for up to 16 hours.
When you are ready to bake, pre-heat your oven along with a heavy Dutch oven and a tight-fitting lid to 500 deg ℉. Remove the loaves from the fridge. Carefully flip the loaf into the pre-heated Dutch oven. Place the lid on top to seal completely, and put back into the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 470 deg ℉ and bake for about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and bake out for another 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown. Remove bread to wire rack to cool.
If you’re baking multiple loaves, carefully wipe the Dutch oven clean with a dry kitchen towel and repeat the process beginning with pre-heating the oven.