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For the home or professional bread-maker, this is the book of the season. It comes from a man many consider to be the best bread baker in the United States: Chad Robertson, co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, a city that knows its bread. To Chad, bread is the foundation of a meal, the center of daily life, and each loaf tells the story of the baker who shaped it. He developed his unique bread over two decades of apprenticeship with the finest artisan bakers in France and the United States, as well as experimentation in his own ovens. Readers will be astonished at how elemental it is. A hundred photographs from years of testing, teaching, and recipe development provide step-by-step inspiration, while additional recipes provide inspiration for using up every delicious morsel.
minutes. Unmold and let cool on a wire rack. The loaves should feel light in the hand and have the aroma of olive oil and orange blossoms. VARIATIONS ON BRIOCHE Beignets Our beignets—brioche dough fried quickly, bathed in lemon glaze, and then tossed with maple-glazed pecans—use components of other preparations that we always have on hand at Tartine. The fritters are convenient to make if you are already preparing brioche dough. Only 200 grams of the dough need to be set aside for
beans to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool. Peel the opaque outer layer from each bean. In a serving bowl, combine the fava beans, croutons, and mint leaves. Remove the onions from the vinegar and add to the bowl. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, stir together the lemon zest and juice, sugar, and olive oil. Season to taste with the salt, adding it a pinch at a time. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Let stand for 1 minute
prepared by the bakers, often ended with the first morning light. We set a half wheel of raclette cheese to slowly melt on a slab of stone in front of an open fire. A specially made tool resembling a hoe is used to scrape the softened cheese and spread it on bread. Raclette is the name of both the tradition and the cheese—racler meaning “to scrape.” The cheese is traditionally eaten with baked potatoes, pickled vegetables, strong mustard, cured meats, and copious vin de Savoie. For outdoor
bread. A bell hung outside the door, and in the afternoon it was rung to signal that hot bread was being pulled from the oven— just in time for dinner. This turned the baking schedule I had known upside down. Fresh bread for dinner was perfectly ideal and why work all night to have fresh bread in the morning, when toast is a treat unto itself? Never getting his name, I always spoke of him as “the awesome baker.” Years later, recalling him in desperation would help me find a livable schedule I had
mitts, rice flour, and a double-edge razor blade to score the top of each loaf before it bakes. Razor blades can be tricky to use, so prepare a wooden splint to hold it. Split a wooden coffee stirrer halfway down its length, using the edge of a table. Then insert the blade onto the splint. Bakers saturate their ovens with steam before loading the bread. The moist heat during the first 20 minutes of baking is essential to allow for the expansion of the loaves without forming a crust. All the