Sunday, 16 October 2011

World Bread Day & Tartine Whole Wheat Bread

Happy World Bread Day!  World Bread Day was started by the International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (IUB) as a time to talk about the importance of bread, as well as its history and future.


Zorra adopted World Bread Day as a (food)blogger event in 2006 and the event has been celebrated by bread bakers around the world every year since then. Take a look at the previous World Bread Day Roundups.  You’ll be amazed at the creativity of all of the bakers around the world.

I love to talk about bread so I jumped right on the bread-baking bandwagon. This is my third year participating in World Bread Day.



My contribution to World Bread Day 2011 is Tartine Whole Wheat Bread. This bread is a variation on a theme. It is similar to the Tartine Country Bread I submitted for BBD #37, but it uses a greater proportion of whole wheat flour to white all-purpose flour. And since I use a 50/50 blend of whole wheat and white all-purpose flour, my version has a bit more whole wheat than the original formula.



My bread is sweet and nourishing, made from my own  wheat, ground in my own mill, and baked in my own oven.”

Tobias Smollett, Humphrey Clinker, 1771



Whole Wheat Bread

Adapted from: Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

Makes: One 2-pound loaf



  • 400 grams water (plus a couple of tablespoons)
  • 100 grams leaven
  • 350 grams whole wheat flour (I used home-milled flour from hard red winter wheat)
  • 150 grams all-purpose flour (I used a 50/50 blend of whole wheat and white all-purpose flour)
  • 10 grams salt



  1. Making the Leaven:

    The night before you plan to mix the dough, take 1 tablespoon of a mature starter and feed it with 200 grams of warm (78 degrees F) water and 200 grams of a blend of 50 white bread flour/50 whole wheat bread flour. I used a tablespoon of my new apple starter. Cover with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap) and let the starter rise overnight at a cool room temperature (65 degrees F).  This is the leaven.* 

    The next morning, the volume should’ve increased by 20 percent.  To find out if it’s ready, test to see if it floats in water.  Drop a spoonful into a bowl of moderate room-temperature water.  If it sinks, it is not ready to use and needs more time to ferment and ripen.


  2. Mixing the Dough:

    Weigh 400 grams of 80 degrees F water and pour it into a large mixing bowl.  Add 100 grams of leaven and stir it to disperse.


    *You don’t use all of the leaven for this bread so save the leftover for your starter if you like or use it to bake more bread. Since I’m keeping my starters separate, I decided to bake another loaf with the left over leaven.


    Add 500 grams of flour – 350 grams whole wheat and 150 grams white – to the water and mix thoroughly by hand until you do not see any dry flour. 



    Let the dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes.  Don’t skip the rest period.  It allows the flour to absorb the water and then swell.  Then it will relax. 



    After the dough has rested, add the 10 grams of salt.  The original formula says to add 50 grams warm water at this point, but this whole wheat version didn’t mention adding any additional water.  However, I used freshly-milled whole wheat flour which  absorbs the water a little more so I added a couple of tablespoons of water and incorporated it along with the salt.

    Incorporate the salt into the dough by squeezing the dough between your fingers. Come on you know you want to get your hands in that dough…



    Fold the dough on top of itself and transfer to a clean bowl. I just washed out the same bowl and placed the dough back in it and covered it with plastic wrap. Let the dough bulk ferment for 3 to 4 hours or longer if necessary.



  3. Turning the Dough:

    I didn’t take photos of this process. You can view the step-by-step process for turning the dough, including photos on the Tartine Country Bread post.

    Using this method, the dough is not kneaded on a counter, the development of the dough is achieved by a series of turns in the bowl during the bulk fermentation.

    To do a turn, dip one hand in water to prevent the dough from sticking to you and then grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it back over the rest of the dough.

    Repeat this action two or three times so that all the dough gets evenly developed. This is considered one turn.

    During the first 2 hours of fermentation, give the dough one turn every half hour or so.  During the last hour or so, turn the dough more gently to avoid pressing gas out of the dough. If the dough seems to be developing slowly, you can extend the bulk fermentation time.


  4. Shaping the Loaves:

    To view the step-by-step shaping process with photos, go to the Tartine Country Bread post.

    Transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface. Lightly flour the surface of the dough. Cut the dough into two equal pieces. Flip it so that the floured side rests on the counter.  Do this with the other piece of dough.

    Fold each piece onto itself so that the flour on the surface of the dough is sealed on the outside of the loaf.  The outer surface will become the crust, so you can use a little more flour if necessary.

    Work each piece of dough into a round shape. Let both rounds of dough rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes covered with a kitchen towel to prevent the dough from drying on top.  I floured the loaves lightly before placing the towel over them.

    To form the final shapes, lightly flour the top surface of the dough rounds.  Lift both rounds off the work surface, being careful to maintain the round shape. Flip the round so that the floured side is now resting on the work surface.  What was the underside is now facing up.

    Perform a series of folds to build tension so that the loaf will holds it form and rise when baked.  First, you fold the third of the dough closest to you up and over the middle third of the round.  Stretch out the dough to your right and fold the right third over the center. 

    Stretch the dough to your left and fold this third over the previous fold.   Now, stretch out the third of dough farthest from you and fold it toward you, over the previous folds, and press it in place with your fingers.

    I folded both rounds as indicated above, then I pinched the seams together on top and placed the dough seam-side up in banneton baskets that had been floured with a 50/50 mixture of rice flour and wheat flour.



    At this point, you can let the dough rise at warm room temperature for 3 to 4 more hours or retard the dough overnight. 


  5. Baking the Loaves:

    20 minutes or so before you plan to bake the loaves, place a Dutch oven combo cooker (lid and pot) in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.


    Dust the surface of one of the loaves in the basket with rice flour.  When the oven reaches 500 degrees, carefully pull the shallow pan out of the oven and place it on top of the stove.  Leave the other pan in the oven.  Carefully inverting the basket, turn the dough into the hot pan.

    Score the loaf using a simple square pattern with four cuts. To make pronounced “ears,” make shallow cuts at a very low angle (almost horizontal) to the dough.  I’m still working on perfecting this process, but I was pretty pleased with the scoring on this loaf.


    Be careful not to burn yourself during this part.  This is why you use the shallow pan on the bottom instead of the deep pot.  It makes it easier to score the loaf without burning yourself.

    Return the shallow pan with the loaf to the oven and cover it with the deep pot.  This is sort of tricky.  The deep pot can be pretty heavy so be careful. 

    Immediately reduce the oven to 450 degrees F and bake the loaf for 20 minutes.  Then carefully remove the top pan.



    Let the loaf continue to bake (without the top) for about 15 to 20 more minutes, until the crust is a deep color. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the loaf to a rack to cool.



  6. Enjoying the Loaves: Let the loaf cool completely before slicing and serving.




    Thank you for joining me for World Bread Day.  Come let us break bread together.


    Happy Baking!


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