Rising to the Occasion

This weekend Chris Brown hosted a morning bread making class featuring Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. Since publication last fall, Tartine Bread has quickly become one of our best selling bread books. It is a delight to read and the photographs get top marks for both instructional quality and style. But one cannot judge a bread book on style alone – does it deliver the goods? Chris Brown gave us more reason to love this book. With his signature ease and skill Chris took us through the master recipe for Robertson’s Leavan –Basic Country Bread. This recipe’s approach and method form the foundational technique for all his other bread recipes in the book. In other words, master this one and you’re the ‘bread master’.

While all steps are thoroughly explained and photographed in the book, Chris managed to give us a few more tips on our rocky road to successful bread baking. Such as, using inexpensive Chinese baskets as an alternative to Robertson’s pricey linen-lined baskets for resting the dough. The baskets give the dough a lovely lattice pattern.

Chris did some of the legwork in advance, bringing some tasty prepared goods for our guest to savour; a Basic Country Loaf, a Kugelhopf, the Tartine Baguette and a delicious Panade with black kale and fontina cheese – the best possible use for left over bread we’ve ever tasted. Guests went home clutching a bag of starter in one hand and a baguette in the other, grinning with anticipation of the wonderful breads they too will bake.