1% Better Bread

I got the book Tartine from the library. It has rave reviews, 4 starts out of five.

I opened it, read about the folding, the 12 hours wait, the throwing away the starter and thought: who on earth, that is not a professional baker, has time for this?

I have a recipe for no knead bread, you mix it with a spoon, leave it overnight, bake it in the morning. It will not win a bakery contest but it tastes good and it is really nice to have freshly baked bread with a lot of butter.

Then I looked at the book again, and read about cooking the bread in a dutch oven. I can do that. That’s 1% better bread.

The book also says to wait until the bread has completely cool down or it will be soggy. I can do that too, not eating it out of the oven is harder than the cooking trick, but still doable. 2% better bread.

The day after, we were invited for lunch to the house of a couple of French friends. She is a really good cook and had a jar with bread starter in the kitchen. I asked her about the folding etc. She looked confused and gave me her recipe with no folding, no throwing away the starter, and a small jar with 100gr of starter.

I have made sourdough bread now for three weeks, it might not be the Tartine bread but it is definitely more than 3% better bread, I would say it is 20% better bread.

My bread starter now has a name and lives in the kitchen. It has a higher survival rate than any of my plants.

Jar with starter bread and a drawing of a Tamagotchi
Young Tamagotchi in his new home

This is my recipe:

  • Feed Tamagotchi in the morning
  • At night mix 7 minutes in the kitchen robot:
    • 150 gr Tamagotchi
    • 300gr water
    • 500gr flour
    • 2tsp salt
  • Leave overnight
  • Preheat oven with dutch oven inside to 500F
  • Put baking paper in dutch oven, drop bread in and bake 30 minutes with lid on
  • Reduce heat to 450, remove lid, bake 10-15 minutes
  • Feed Tamagotchi every two days

I have had fun cooking around the bread: pumpkin soup with thick slices of warm bread and butter, montaditos de lomo, grilled cheese sandwiches. I would say those Sunday dinners were improved by 40%.

And that is the thing about the 1% improvements: they compound, they spread, they get exponential and a little bit goes a long way.

Note: If you live next to a bakery that makes good bread, don’t waste your time and get the real thing with all the folds.


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