People always ask you what your last meal would be. I always say bread and butter. There is nothing quite like a warm, crusty loaf of bread with a healthy slab of salted butter that still has a chill from the fridge.
I’ve picked up tips and tricks along the way from various bakeries I’ve worked in—like how to shape the bread, and which temperatures are best—but nothing has taught me more about bread than Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread.
Robertson breaks down the process of making real bread whether you are a home baker or a restaurateur. I’ve adapted his process of using my own starter, left to ferment and feed on the bacteria in the flour, air and your hands. It eliminates the need for any store bought yeast.
I’ll admit it is time consuming, but extremely easy and certainly rewarding. It’s like having a little pet on your counter that you feed every day!
Although I highly recommend just buying the book, here’s how to make your own:
- Find yourself a large bowl or mason jar to keep on your counter top. Fill it with a blend of half white flour and half whole wheat. This will be your “food”.
- Second, grab a small jar and fill 1/4 way with lukewarm water. Add enough flour to make a paste.
- Cover with a cloth and set aside for a few days (even up to a week) until you see small bubbles and it smells like its fermenting.
Once this is the case you can start feeding it on a regular basis.
- Discard 3/4 of the starter and add more water (approx. 1/4 cup) and more of your flour mixture (about a 1/3 cup), making a paste like before. You can now start using a tight fitting lid and feeding every day, watching the patterns it goes through as it bubbles up and falls. Always wait until it has fallen before feeding again.
Once established, if you miss a day or two or three of feeding, don’t worry, typically starters are very forgiving.
I’ve had several fails with new starters (RIP Martha, Betty, Diana). Then Lucille came into my life. Don’t get discouraged, and if you do, there’s no shame in asking a friend for some of theirs to get you going!
5 thoughts on “Meet Lucille! Bread Starter Extraordinaire”
Sounds like sourdough starter I’ve done that , made my own starter . also do water kefir and milk kefir
Yes! Mine can be sour if dough is left to ferment longer. I am interested in the kefir!
I have kefir grains that I use to make the water kefir and boil whole milk and add dehydrated milk keifer grains for the milk one love both
I have tried the Tartine recipe a number of times buy I always find the crust is too hard and chewy. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Roseanna, I really enjoy the chew of the crust on these old world style of breads, however I can understand how some may not. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, that’s just how it’s meant to be! This bread is best to be eaten 1-2 days after the bake and then it’s only good for toast and other stale bread recipes.