knead

I came across the first cookbook from San Francisco’s famed Tartine Bakery while idling my time away with a coffee in a little bookstore in Woodstock, Vermont… little did I know what I had gotten myself into.

Named simply Tartine, it was, quite frankly, a showstopper. The bakery, owned by husband and wife team, pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt and baker, Chad Robertson, was relocated to San Francisco from their first bakery located in Point Reyes Station just slightly north up the coast in Marin, coincidentally, my homeland. If you know me, I know what you are thinking – weren’t you born in Wales? – well, yes. We then moved to San Francisco and later, Marin, and well, you know how the song goes…

The first incarnation of their bakery used a wood-fired brick oven to bake bread and rustic, elegant pastries. It was here that the soul of Tartine’s singular breadmaking was realized as Robertson set about to understand the process, the elements, and his environment. What he learned serves as the focus of the second cookbook, Tartine Bread.

If you are anywhere near as passionate or as enthusiastic as I am about good bread and the elusive zen of mastering its making, then you should definitely look this cookbook up. It is sure to please. Not only is it filled with wisdom, insight, and inspiration from years of baking and hundreds of raw, starkly beautiful images of bread and the food it makes, but…
It also offers a behind the scenes peek at the lifestyle and lives of the Northern California surfer/breadbakers, sigh, who have helped make Tartine what it is today…

And what is that you ask?

A place that you really should visit. If that is an impossibility then, experience their cookbooks. And if that still is not possible then try making one of their café’s inspired panini’s at home. I suggest: Idiazabal & Membrillo – made with lightly smoked sheep’s cheese and quince jam – or – Pecorino & Almondmade with sheep’s cheese & almonds crushed with olive oil, lemon and sage.

For some slightly-more-instant gratification watch the video below.

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