First, a confession: I haven't made any of the breads in Tartine 3, despite the fact that the book features many fantastic loaves. This is not because the recipes don't look wonderful (they do), but because I am lazy and live down the street from San Francisco's Bar Tartine, where I can stop in for a loaf of oat porridge bread on the way to pick up my daughter from school. And stop in I do, because it's a wonderful bread. Should I ever find myself more than a block away, I will most assuredly be taking them for a spin.
That said, there's much more to this book than the breads. We baked three recipes: the Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies, the Lemon Tart with Buckwheat Crust, and the 50/50 Sable Cookies. All three were wonderful, though the crust on the tart was a bit tricky for my 11-year-old to roll out. The cookies, though, were a breeze, in that could-be-done-after-a-long-day way. The instructions were precise but also allowed room for creativity -- especially the sables. Both recipes are on their way to becoming regulars in my daughter's cookie rotation.
More importantly -- and this is why I think this book is a valuable addition to any cookbook collection -- Tartine 3 has changed the way we think about flour. We are not gluten-free in our house; our experimentation beyond the usual white and wheat flours has been limited to almond meal, cornmeal, and the occasional foray into buckwheat. But Chad Robertson has inspired us to move beyond that: We've learned to play with the way rye flour changes the flavor and texture of our usual waffle recipe, and we've been subbing in buckwheat for half the white flour in our shortbread. (For all who are wondering, the latter turns the cookies a very lovely shade of purple.) I've got a hunch that this is just the beginning of our experiments in the kitchen.
The Piglet—inspired by The Morning News' Tournament of Books—is where the 16 most notable cookbooks of the year face off in a NCAA-style bracketed tournament. Watch the action and weigh in on the results!