Tartine Challenge

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Tartine Bread

I have always wanted to cook my way through a cookbook. The movie Julie & Julia was such an inspiration to all the “Renegade Foodies” as Amy Adams called herself in the movie. I saw myself as the RN working through a pandemic by day, and a renegade foodie by night. I have so many cookbooks and none of them ever really spoke to me like the Tartine Cookbook. I started down the sourdough rabbit hole in May of 2020. I am a visual learner so I sought out Joshua Weissman on youtube to teach me sourdough. After a few successful attempts I felt like I needed more. I found Maurizo from Food52 and his blog, “The Perfect Loaf.” He really helped me push further. I made baguettes, foccacia, pizza, bomboloni, croissants, etc. He went in depth about his preferred flours. He helped me really understand sourdough. Then I stumbled upon a local baker who converted her home into a micro bakery named “Flour Culture.” Her breads and desserts are visually awe inspiring. I really wanted my bread to look like hers. I love her aesthetic, and her bread is equally delicious and beautiful.

Tartine Bakery opened up in Silverlake, just a 30 minute jaunt from my house. The word is, it’s the best Bakery in San Francisco. When I visited Tartine I was immediately captivated by the art behind the glass. The flaky pain au chocolates and the desserts were as beautiful as they are in Paris. The Tartine Cookbook was for sale so I treated mysellf to the book, pizza, the Country Loaf and croissants. Thumbing through the book, I realized it was not just about making sourdough. It was also a book on the food that pairs well with bread. The cookbook incorporates both cooking and baking. The savory recipes include bread in some way. I finally found the book that was most like my cooking style. Cooks tend to cluster in groups. The pastry camp, the bread baker camp, the savory camp. I was the savory home cook who dabbled in desserts and then found sourdough. Home-cooks learn by watching cooking shows, youtube and following recipes until they get a voice of their own. I have been developing and refining my own cooking style seeking inspiration from family, travels, celebrity chefs, and restaurants. This whole blog was dedicated to the recipes I’ve developed over the years. It’s time to pivot. It feels odd to be blogging about executed recipes that I didn’t write. It kind of feels like cheating. However, it’s just what I need right now. I have plenty of recipes that I will share with you if I need a break from the cookbook. I have to follow my passion to learn. I hope I counted correctly, but this is the break down. There are 25 bread recipe variations and 44 recipes from savory to sweet including bread in some way. Approximately, 69 recipes to execute. I probably will not blog every single one except the ones I have something to say about. If you would like to follow the adventure, I post regularly on IG stories. My handle is karenskitchenblogger on Instagram. I hope you check in from time to time to see my progress, and I hope this inspires you in someway.

Recipe #1 Basic Country Bread

The rules I followed making bread before Tartine

  • Make off-shoot Levain from ripe starter in the morning
  • 1-3 hour Autolyse before adding Levain
  • Mix Levain into Autolysed mixture
  • Add Salt
  • Build Strength via Rubaud method and or slap and fold
  • 4-6 Stretch and folds
  • Bulk Ferment for at least 4 hours adjust as needed
  • Divide and Bench Rest then Shape and cold proof for 12-18 hours
  • Hydration Level high 80’s

Tartine Recipe is simpler and gives great results.

  • Make Levain the night before
  • When Levain ready-Fermentolyse (Autolyse with Levain mixed in at the same time)
  • Bulk Fermentation at 78-82 degrees for 3-4 hours
  • No need building strength except for 4 stretch and fold or “turn”
  • 8-12 hours cold fermentation
  • Hydration Level 75%


I had a lot of doubts going into this recipe. I liked the idea of less work and shorter time frames I mean that’s a no-grainer, HA! A little bread pun. After a year of making bread I thought high hydration & strength building yielded the best results. Tartine has taught me that a great loaf of bread is actually about having a vigorous starter which will do all the heavy lifting for your bread. Overworking the dough only degases it and dough temperature is really important to gauge fermentation time. I really wanted to do another stretch and fold but paused and did the windowpane test. Sure enough after four turns it was good. I had to make some adjustments to the bulk fermentation I purposely slowed things down and extended the cold fermentation 16-17 hours to meet my sleep requirements. These are all part of the learning curve. I am grateful to be able to see both angles so I can adjust to my schedule. Honestly, it all starts with your starter. If it’s fed regularly and you keep learning how the dough should look, the rest will follow. Shaping and scoring naturally develops with practice. Sourdough can be forgiving if you are willing to learn.

I have come a long way. Thank you Chad Robertson for putting a stamp on my bread journey.
All you knead is loaf/love!

Onto the next recipe!

The Author

First off, I'm not a writer. This should be abundantly clear as you read this bio. I'm not a trained Chef either. I'm a Mother, Wife, Registered Nurse and Fraudulent Chef. Why a blog you ask? Well, I don't want to be a line cook, executive Chef, or a restaurant owner. I just want to cook what I want, when I want, and for who I want. Cooking is a creative outlet for me. I don't even consider myself a blogger because I don't blog often. So advertising dollars and web fame is not my motive. Finding the time to cook, write up a recipe, photograph it while maintaining a job and household is challenging. However, it has given me great joy over the years to see people carrying on dishes that I've developed. It's also an online cookbook that I can reflect on. My cooking is an expression of the strong women in my life and inspired dishes from my favorite restaurants. I'm a recipe impostor of dishes from restaurants I love. Furthermore, many of the recipes are spruced up from my childhood. I'm a Mexican-American, native Californian who has spent time in New York and married a first generation Costa Rican. My cooking reflects all of these aspects. Karen's Kitchen is not a Mexican food blog. As much as I'd like to fit into a pretty little red, white and green box. I find it too limiting and reject the notion of creating a Latino point of view because it makes a blog cohesive. So my recipes are all over the place, with no rhyme or reason. Home cooks never apologize for not graduating from culinary school. You will find that my recipes are easy to follow and geared for the home cook. They look amazing and will make you look like a Domestic God/Goddess in front of your loved ones. It's my hope that you find the love for cooking and make some of my recipes your own. Cheers to cooking, eating and surrounding yourself with lovely people.


  1. Sherelle says

    What an exciting journey, Karen! I always enjoy seeing and reading your food/bread/beverage posts. One day I would love to purchase a loaf and finally taste that gorgeous bread! Best wishes on all your recipes!
    Love you!!

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