Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
How-To

Perfecting a Loaf of Bread

Fine Cooking Issue 41
Photos: Daniel Proctor
Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note

Chad Robertson started out making many different kinds of breads at Bay Village, the tiny bakery he owns with his wife, Elizabeth Prueitt, in Point Reyes Station, California. But obsession prevailed, and Robertson decided to focus solely on pain au levain, a traditional sourdough leavened with a natural starter that he refreshes, or “feeds,” up to four times a day.

Robertson’s approach is traditionally called à deux mains (“with two hands”), where a batch of dough is mixed, kneaded, shaped, proofed, and baked by the same baker, instead of being passed off to several different pairs of hands, as is often the case. This allows “a profound connection to the dough,” affirms Robertson. “I can make adjustments all through the day, because I know exactly what I started with.” The result is bread with a chewy, well-caramelized crust, a moist, tender crumb, and a perfect balance of naturally sour and sweet flavors—“bread,” Robertson says, “that I love to eat.”

The dough is mixed by machine, with a European diving-arm mixer that simulates the gentle kneading motion of human hands.
Proofing baskets in which the dough will rise get a dusting of flour. A long rest and rise contribute to bread that’s tender, not tough.
This dough is ready for baking. It’s quite wet, which gives a moist, flavorful loaf that stays fresh for several days.
The finished bread is beautifully browned and thoroughly baked but not dried out, thanks to the penetrating heat of a wood-fired oven.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

Paris, France (504)

Experience Paris like a local in this special episode of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking. Host Pete Evans pays a visit to two culinary icons: chefs Patricia Wells and Guy…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks