Well, after about 3 weeks of prepping our starter my roommate and I successfully cranked out our first 2 loaves of Tartine bread. The instructions that we followed in the book were pretty straight forward and as a novice bread baker I can say I learned a lot about how to create great dough using this book’s methods.
Also, we noticed that the second batch of loaves we were making benefited from the rise in temperature in the kitchen from running the oven while we were baking our first 2 loaves. During the day the kitchen was about 70 degrees and while baking it was near 80 degrees or so. Moral of the story, bake more delicious things during the first hour of your initial rise to kill time and help your bread along.
Here are some photos starting from the leaven state, to the first few turns, to shaping, and then all the way to the final product. All in all it took about an hour of reading, turning, and shaping from start to finish for two loaves although I doubt the time would go up much more to do four at a time. If you want to eat bread tomorrow you’d need the evening to prep you leaven followed by about 9 – 10 hours of time the next day for making the actual bread. 5 hours or so with about 30 minute intervals of turning, shaping, and prepping plus about 4 hours for the final rise and then an additional hour for pre-heating and baking. And then about 5 minutes for eating it all.
I highly recommend getting one of these bad boys, which is what I used repeatedly. It just makes life easier.
Oh, and finally, if you decide to use bread clothes like we did for the final rise, make sure you flour the crap out of them. I didn’t and we lost a bit of our dough/had to make some repairs to the loaves as they were both stuck to the towels when it came time to get them in the dutch oven. Probably going to go without protection next time as the dough by the end is easy to peel away from the bowl. Also, to provide moisture we heated a cookie sheet in the oven while we baked for about 25 minutes with the dutch oven lid on, then when we removed it to brown the crust for about another 25 minutes we poured water onto the sheet instantly creating steam. Not rocket science, but that may be a useful tip for a complete nOOb. Also, times are subjective, and differ depending on the oven, humidity, dough, etc, I take no responsibility if you burn the crap out of it.