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Loaves made with a natural leaven keep for a week -- one reason Chad Robertson, of San Francisco's legendary Tartine Bakery, prefers this time-honored technique. The resulting bread boasts a thick, burnished crust and a moist interior shot through with holes. Get the step-by-step guide here. Recipe and image reprinted with permission from "Tartine Bread," by Chad Robertson, with photographs by Eric Wolfinger.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2011


For the Starter

For the Leaven

For the Dough


Cook's Notes

Robertson describes a starter -- a mixture of flour, water, wild yeasts, and bacteria -- as a baker's fingerprint. Making one is simple, but it does require a commitment: Count on feeding and caring for the mixture for three weeks before you start baking. For something closer to immediate gratification, begin using the starter after five to seven days, or order a fresh starter at (Keep in mind, the flavor won't be as complex.)

Another secret to baking like a pro: Weigh all the ingredients-even the water-using a kitchen scale that includes metric measurements.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • irunamuk2800089
    5 SEP, 2017
    There are many ways the "discard" starter can be used. Pancakes, cakes, etc. No need to waste it.
    • Cameronandrew
      4 JUL, 2018
      In one of the tartine books it mentions a method to fridge store starter to avoid having to feed and discard so much. Just take your extra starter and "hyperfeed" untill it is very stiff and quite dry and crumbly (almost like a pie crust). Then place in sealed container. I have kept my starter for as long as 2 months between uses. If you do go this long it does need some reconstitution a with a day or two of regular feeds before use though.
  • Cameronandrew
    4 JUL, 2018
    I have bought Tartine Bread and Tartine #2. Although bother are great books he tends to go into very intense detail that can make the recipes confusing and seem a lot more difficult than they are. This recipe is a great simplified explanation of how to work this bread process. Not just the best homemade bread but, with a little practice, one of the best breads you will likely every eat.

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