From Our Editors
James Beard Award–winning chefs Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson take inspiration from the past to create signature breads and pastries that earned Tartine Bakery the title of USA Today’s Best Bakery of 2013. The married pair trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York before traveling across France, where they learned even more from some of the best pastry chefs and bakers in the world. Their use of organic, local ingredients fills each scone and slice of bread with the flavors of Northern California. Tart, cake, and pastry fillings change according to the season, and breads blend a variety of fresh flour to develop deep, rich flavors. They even take the time to source the meat for their sandwiches from Niman Ranch and the dairy for their coffee bar from Straus Family Creamery.
Try This: Tartine Bakery’s Country Bread
Five days a week, 240 loaves of Tartine’s country bread are made. They go on sale at 4:30 p.m., fresh from the oven, and within an hour, they’re gone. Most artists wouldn’t give their masterpiece away, but Chad Robertson published his recipe for basic country bread in a cookbook for all to share. In Tartine Bread, he revealed the secret behind the bread that he had developed and perfected over the course of two decades. The recipe details each step of the baking process, but it also shows how much care and attention it takes to make a single loaf.
At Tartine, the process takes more than 24 hours. It begins with a sticky, moisture-rich dough that can feel a lot like handling water. Robertson folds the dough instead of kneading it to give each loaf a supple round shape, then he places each loaf in a banneton, a stiff straw basket lined with linen, and lets it rise overnight. This extended rise is what gives each loaf its complex, rich flavor. The Country Bread emerges from ovens with a dark, crisp shell that hides a delicate, moist interior that almost melts on the tongue.