Sourdough

Chad Robertson's Tips for Baking his Oat Porridge Bread

December 19, 2013

This week's guest editor is Chad Robertson, the man behind San Francisco's über-popular Tartine Bakery. He'll be walking us through how to make one of the Porridge Breads from his latest book, Tartine 3, and sharing bits of baking knowledge along the way.

Today: Now that you've made your leaven, mixed your dough, and shaped your loaves, it's time to bake. Here are Chad's tips on how to do it.

Chad Robertson's Oat Porridge Bread

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For me, the quintessential loaf of bread has a deep, auburn crust that shatters when torn. But it's all about textures. The contrast of this crackly sheath against a tender, pearlescent crumb is what I’m after. Adding steam to the oven is an essential step to ensure a burnished crust, open scores, and full volume. The moist heat during the first 20 minutes of baking allows for the expansion of the loaves without forming a crust. Home bakers don’t have massive, wood-fired ovens at their disposal and regular ovens are designed to ventilate moisture, not augment it. I’ve found that the Dutch oven technique is a nice estimate, since it becomes a sealed, moist chamber and also has strong radiant heat.

Oat Porridge Bread

Makes 2 loaves

500 grams high-extraction wheat flour
500 grams medium-strong wheat flour
70 grams wheat germ
750 grams water
150 grams leaven
25 grams fine sea salt
500 grams cooked oat porridge, cooled
200 grams almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
50 grams almond oil (optional)
Coarsely chopped oat flakes (rolled oats) for coating (optional)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Chad Robertson

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A Texas native, Chad Robertson always knew he wanted to devote himself to a profession that involved the craftsmanship of his hands. Robertson enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York but quickly became entranced by the art of bread baking. Robertson's first apprenticeship was at Berkshire Mountain Bakery under the guidance of Richard Bourdon. There, Robertson worked 12 hour shifts where he would pull 3,000 loaves a day. From there, he - and wife, Elisabeth Prueitt - journeyed to France and the French Alps to continue learning the intricacies of working with wood fired ovens and naturally leavened, long fermented breads. Upon their return, they became involved with Dave Miller in Chico, CA where they continued to hone their skills and understanding, this time with a larger focus on whole grains. Soon after, Robertson and Prueitt moved to Pt. Reyes, CA where they built a modest bakeshop called Bay Village Bakery. It was here that Robertson baked for 18 hours straight with the intent to perfect his technique by focusing on "three ingredients and a world of possibility." After five years in the country, the hum of city life beckoned. In 2002, the couple opened Tartine Bakery, which almost instantaneously became a San Francisco institution. In 2005, the couple opened Bar Tartine, a restaurant that continuously redefines itself and draws inspiration from all corners of the globe. In 2006, Robertson and Prueitt published the Tartine Cookbook (Chronicle Books), in 2010 Robertson published Tartine Bread (Chronicle Books), and in fall of 2013 Robertson published his third book, Tartine Book No. 3 (Chronicle Books). He is the recipient, with his wife, of the 2008 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and has been featured in a variety of premier media outlets, including Bon Appetit, Elle, Vogue, Food Arts, Food & Wine, Saveur, and The New York Times. Chad Robertson is considered one of the leaders in naturally leavened bread baking.

2 Comments

jule January 12, 2014
Big fan of Tartine have been using your other 2 books for a few years, received the #3 book this Christmas. Will be making one of the porridge breads this week. I always make a pilgrimage to Tartine when in SF. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful insightful knowledge.
 
AntoniaJames December 19, 2013
Mr. Robertson, I have a gigantic Dutch oven -- an ancient Magnalite / Wagner Ware large enough for bathing a small baby. Can this recipe be used to make a single large boule instead of 2 loaves? I'm quite certain my Dutch oven could accommodate it. Thank you. ;o)