Spotlight: Tartine Bread at City Arts & Lectures
“Because of our temperate weather, San Francisco is one of the best places to make bread and cheese… ”
Last month, I attended City Arts & Lectures’ program “On Artisan Food,” a conversation with Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s legendary Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine, and Sue Conely, co-founder of Cowgirl Creamery.
From failures to favorite moments, the two discussed many topics, but converged on one commonality: an insatiable and obsessive dedication to their craft. According to Chad, “it takes an obsessive personality to do this type of thing.”
It’s no secret that Chad is considered one of the best bread bakers in the U.S. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, his love for bread started by mistake: a rejection from architecture school. After over two decades of apprenticeship in France and the U.S., Chad is our local star in his own right. He’s easy-going, elemental and brings a groundedness spirit to the craft of artisan bread.
“Making bread is a ground experience. Because every day you start fresh. You have a full cycle of mixing the dough, letting it rise overnight and baking it and starting again. You come full circle every day.”
He most recently launched his 2nd cookbook: Tartine Bread, in which he explains how it all works. And for the 1st time, the recipe to his crusty masterpiece and signature Basic Country Bread is released. It’s no joke. The recipe is 29 pages. Written more like a narrative, the recipe is like reading an autobiography. Of bread.
For those who may not have the stomach to tackle the at-home recipe, you can always stand in line at 5pm every day for the chance to get 1 of the 175 loaves baked daily. However, it sells out within an hour. So according to Chad, he recommends going during the weekday, where your chances of scoring the city’s most prized bread will be in your favor.
What’s next for Tartine? “We’re fermenting – vegetables. That’s what’s next.”
To the beloved crafts we all hold,