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Tartine Bread Recipe: Basic Country Sourdough Step-by-Step Guide

There’s a certain magic to making your own bread. The scent of fresh dough, the satisfaction of seeing it rise, and the anticipation of that first bite. Today, we’re going to be exploring one such magical experience with the tartine bread recipe. This basic country sourdough bread recipe originates from the renowned San Francisco Tartine Bakery. It’s a favourite among home bakers around the world, and for good reason. So, grab your apron and prepare to embark on a bread-making journey like no other.

Understanding the Tartine Bread Recipe

Before we dive into the process, let’s take a moment to understand what sets the tartine bread recipe apart. Tartine’s basic country bread is a sourdough bread, implying that it’s leavened using a naturally occurring wild yeast. The process involves a long time, often up to a week, to create an active starter. The combination of white bread flour, whole wheat flour, and a pinch of rye flour gives this bread its distinct flavour.

Different types of flour being mixed together for the tartine bread recipe

Embracing the Art of Sourdough

The journey to a perfect tartine bread recipe begins with embracing the art of sourdough. A sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented over time to capture wild yeast. The starter is then used to leaven the bread, imparting a unique tangy flavour that’s characteristic of sourdough bread. Creating a starter requires patience and attention, but the satisfaction of creating your own yeast is well worth the effort.

Preparing the Dough

Once your starter is active and bubbly, it’s time to prepare the dough. In a large bowl, mix the starter with grams of warm water, white flour, and whole-wheat flour. The dough should be quite wet, as wet doughs help achieve the open crumb that’s characteristic of tartine bread. After mixing, leave the dough to rest for a half hour. This period, known as autolyse, allows the flour to fully absorb the water.

A shaped loaf of bread for the tartine bread recipe resting on a floured surface

Mastering the Technique of Folding

After the dough has rested, it’s time to begin a series of folds. Folding is a technique used in place of traditional kneading to develop the gluten network in the dough. Over the next few hours, you’ll perform a series of folds every half an hour. This process, known as bulk fermentation, will help the dough rise and develop its structure.

Shaping the Loaf

Once the dough has risen and is full of bubbles, it’s time to shape the loaf. This requires a gentle touch to avoid deflating the dough. Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into two and gently shape each into a round. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest, a process known as bench rest. After the rest, further shape the dough into a final shape, creating surface tension on the outer surface without deflating the dough.

A freshly baked loaf of tartine bread cooling on a wire rack

Baking the Tartine Bread

Finally, it’s time to bake. Preheat your oven and a dutch oven or combo cooker to a high temperature. Carefully transfer the loaf into the preheated cooker, scoring the top of the dough with a razor blade to allow for oven spring. Bake until the loaf is a deep golden brown with a dark crust. Then, let it cool on a wire rack before slicing into your homemade tartine bread. The final product is a loaf with a crunchy crust, soft interior, and a slightly tangy flavour — the perfect embodiment of the tartine bread recipe.

Final Thoughts on the Tartine Bread Recipe

Mastering the tartine bread recipe takes time and practice, but the result is truly worth it. From the detailed recipe to the sourdough process, the whole thing might seem intimidating at first. But with a little bit of patience and a lot of love for good bread, you’ll be able to create your own loaf of tartine bread, and there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that brings.

Tartine Bread Recipe - A Rustic Sourdough Delight

Tartine Bread Recipe - A Rustic Sourdough Delight

Yield: 2 Loaves
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 hours
Additional Time: 15 hours

A slice of Tartine bread, laden with butter or your favorite spread, is a heavenly experience. Originating from San Francisco's famous Tartine Bakery, this sourdough bread boasts a crispy crust and a moist, chewy interior. Here's a simplified version of the traditional recipe that you can try at home.


  • 200 grams active sourdough starter
  • 750 grams warm water
  • 900 grams bread flour
  • 100 grams whole wheat flour
  • 20 grams salt


  1. Mix 200 grams of your active sourdough starter with 700 grams of warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the bread flour and whole wheat flour, mixing until there are no dry spots. Cover and let it rest for about 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 50 grams of warm water and salt to the dough, squeezing the mixture with your hands to incorporate them fully.
  4. Perform a series of 'turns' every 30 minutes over the next 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide it into two equal parts. Shape each into a round loaf, cover with a damp cloth, and let them rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Do the final shaping of your loaves. Place them seam-side-up in a floured banneton or bowl lined with a floured towel. Cover and let them proof in the refrigerator for 12 to 15 hours.
  7. When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) with a dutch oven inside. Carefully turn out one of your loaves into the preheated dutch oven, score the top with a sharp knife, cover, and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius), remove the dutch oven lid, and continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.
  9. Repeat the process with your second loaf.


Baking is a science, and every kitchen and oven is different. Keep trying, and you'll get the hang of it! Happy baking!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 390mgCarbohydrates: 36gNet Carbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 6g

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