Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tartine Walnut Bread

This is my favorite Tartine bread so far, and, even though it requires the extra step of toasting the walnuts (and I added the step of scrubbing off the bitter walnut skins), it seemed the easiest.  First, I finally decided to cut the recipe in half.  Although it's still a lot of time invested for one loaf of bread, it's also easier not to bake one loaf, clean the pan, and bake another.  Second, I simplified the process by making my own abbreviated list of steps:

     [Night before:  make fresh leaven]

1.  Mix dough
2.  Rest
3.  Add salt and water.
4.  First rise:
     3+ hours
     4+ turns
5.  First shaping
6.  Bench rest
7.  Final shaping
8.  Line basket with flour mix.
9.  Final rise
10. Preheat oven and pan
11. Put dough in hot pan
12.  Score
13. Bake with lid
14. Bake without lid

I'd read through the walnut bread recipe once, and was actually able to make the bread by referring only to this list.  The only thing I couldn't remember was the oven temp, so I had to check that.  Otherwise, I just went by memory.  I forgot that the water was supposed to be heated to 80 degrees, and I also forgot how long the bread was supposed to bake with and without the lid (but I checked that when I checked the oven temp, so I guess I forgot two things, but I only had to check one time).

I've also decided to use my KitchenAid with its dough hook instead of mixing the dough by hand, as Robertson tells you to do.  Yeah, I know that if I were a true bread baker, I'd want to touch the dough, but I get enough touching by turning it every half hour.  (This time I turned it every half hour for between 4 and 5 hours, instead of the bare minimum 3 that Robertson instructs.  I think that's the main reason that I was almost completely satisfied with this version).

See?  I'm touching it like crazy.  It actually is very satisfying tactilely:  soft and smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom.

Bread that doesn't get done until dinnertime becomes dinner.  With sliced apples and pears, cheese, and walnuts in the bread, it's a pretty completely meal, although high in fat, I suppose.  But I'm pretty sure that the same people who are now telling us that coffee and wine are healthy are also sanguine about "good fat," which would include walnuts (although not cheese, I guess).  But maybe that message will come next year.  Oh, and by the way, if the people who announce that cheese is good for you would also mention that the best weight for someone past their prime is about 20 pounds more than when they were 18, I'd be pretty happy.

This is the last Breadbasketcase post I'll do for a while--maybe forever, depending on whether this break turns out to be just a hiatus or the end of this blog.  I've been doing this since December 25, 2005, my first post, so it's been just over 7 years.  I don't even want to count how many loaves of bread I've made, but it's been a lot.

More important than the bread I've made are the people I've met (or at least we've met in cyberspace, if not in the real world), including the wonderful Rose Levy Beranbaum herself.   I'll also miss working with my ace photographer, who has gone through at least three cameras in the course of Breadbasketcase.  We'll have to come up with another joint project, like sailing the world.

I have no interest in giving up on bread, but I find myself wanting to return to bread I've made before, and wanting to devise my own recipes.  I've tried not to repeat recipes on this blog, although I know there have been a few that I've made again without even remembering that I'd made them before.  And trying to perfect a new recipe is probably not something that would make for entertaining reading.  But if I ever do come up with the best bread I've made, you'll read about it here.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to read you are giving up your blog, but I can understand your reasons for doing so. I have always enjoyed reading of your baking, whatever you have made. I also met Rose a few years ago, in the company of Melinda and Kate, what a lovely person she is, and what a lovely afternoon we had together, all due to Kate's kindness in organising the surprise.
This bread looks lovely, I'm sure it tastes just as good as it looks.
I hope you enjoy your time together, and have a good time going around the world! Jeannette x

evil cake lady said...

Marie, I will be sorry to see you go from the blogosphere, but I understand. You are such a great writer that you would make anything entertaining to read, but it is better to live life than just write about it.
And, please do let us know if they decide cheese is a good fat.
Love, Jen (ECL)

Marie said...

I remember that afternoon you had with Kate, Rose, and Melinda--how many connections we've all made through baking and blogging!
I don't know that we'll really go sailing around the world, but I'm pretty sure there are more fun things in store.

I think that many of us bloggers have started to slow down, or find other things we want to do, but I'll always be grateful that somehow I crossed paths with the magnificent Evil Cake Lady!

BJ in TX said...

I will miss you! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog for a very long time.

Marie said...

Thanks for your nice note!

Matthew said...

Ah, I'm sorry to read this will be your last bread posting Marie (I'm kinda hoping you're not really serious)! I have enjoyed reading about all your bread adventures.

terri said...

You'll be missed--thanks for sharing your bread baking adventures with all of us. I, for one, have learned a lot from you.

SeattleDee said...

Drat! and several other 4-letter words as well. I just found your blog and now you're on hiatus. There are enough treasures in your archives to keep me busy for ages, but I'll miss hearing your current voice.

Enjoy your next chapter, wherever it takes you, and know that your blog continues to instruct and bring joy to others.

Marie said...

It made me sad when I made a loaf of bread and didn't take pictures of it, so I may be back.

Marie said...

Thank you so much!

Marie said...

That is so kind of you! Honestly, sometimes when I look at the archives, I'm a little surprised myself at how much bread I've turned out in my little kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Marie, I have really enjoyed this journey with you. You worked hard and presented your results in a way that has helped me in my quest for the best pane. Enjoy the next step.

Marie said...

I appreciate your good wishes. And good luck to you in your quest!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marie, fantastic blog! I've been enjoying looking through all the different breads you have made over the years- quite an impressive list you have here, I must say! I love the ones with cheese and nuts in, like this one here- it looks delicious. I realise you have possibly stopped posting here now, but perhaps I could persuade you to give your blog a second life over on Glipho? We're a new social blogging site with an active community of creative bloggers, many of whom write about baking and cooking- I know they would love to look through your work here! You can import all your posts over from this existing blog to Glipho quite easily too, without affecting anything at all. If you like, come visit us over at and see what you think!

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you return to blogging some point in the future!

All the best,


Julia said...

Wow, that just looks amazing! I bet it tasted delicious!

jini said...

well, i just found this, your last post. the bread looks fabulously delicious. it does sound like a complete nutritious meal.... fruit, nuts, fat....add a little wine and you're in business. i am still looking to help eat the leftovers.
i've enjoyed your blogs, lo these many years almost as much as i enjoy you.....well, maybe not that much! ;)

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Rosa V. said...

I love the breads you have made here Marie, and especially the ones with the biga, leavin, starter's and poolish absolutely delicious indeed ��
You have your heart😊.