The agony and the ecstasy of Tartine rye bread


I happened to have a ton of great rye flour lying around, and so the other day I decided to give the Tartine rye bread loaf a second go.

My first attempt a couple weeks ago turned out very nicely, with decent oven spring and beautiful color, but hardly tasted much like rye. Taken directly from the Tartine bread book, 17% of the flour in it is rye, to 83% bread flour, which is smartly set low in order to accommodate enough bread flour to give the thing enough gluten structure, which also keeps the dough workable. So in my second attempt, I pushed it to 20% / 80%, thinking the little bit extra couldn’t hurt and might help. Here are my takeaways:

  • Go for 20%; it adds a bit more rye flavor, and didn’t seem any more difficult to deal with when shaping.
  • But … cool the dough a bit before you work with it. This was super key. Notice the loaf on the right … it’s just a sad deflated little pumpkin. It tastes pretty great, but it would not release from its brotform after its final proof in my 80° oven, and i had to slop it into the dutch oven like a fool. For the second, far superior loaf, i popped it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before I was ready to bake, and it released beautifully. It was just yearning to be baked and born again into something delicious.

As the photo evidence shows, this second loaf puffed up as large as any loaf I’ve ever made, and with the most adorable black little ears. It deserves the finest pastrami.