Making Tartine’s Basic Country Loaf

Bread | January 31, 2011 | By

Tartine Country Loaf

Finished Tartine Country Loaf

Tartine Country Loaf

I’ve been a huge fan of San Francisco’s Tartine bakery. Whenever I make it up to the bay area I make it a point to plan my trip around the bakery. A couple of years ago I bought the Tartine cookbook and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

Tartine Country Loaf

This last Christmas I was lucky enough to receive the new Tartine Bread cookbook and this loaf was my first attempt at Chad’s recipe.  This recipe is complicated, so if you’ve never made bread with a natural levain, this book is probably not for you.  The trick to this bread is learning how to do the “turns” and having patience with your sourdough starter (watching this video really helped to see how the folds and shaping happen).

I ended up killing my first starter and later realized I was under-feeding my second.  I quickly figured out the right flour/water ratio and I was good to go.

Tartine Country Loaf

Although I was extremely happy with the appearance and flavor of the bread, the texture was not exactly what I wanted, so I’m making a new loaf as we speak. 

One thing that making this bread lead me to was the fantastic bread forum and community over at The Fresh Loaf.  The people over there are so friendly and I learned an ENORMOUS amount just from reading the posts on the various forums.  A true resource!


Fried Bread Pudding or, The Best French Toast In The World

Bread | January 1, 2011 | By

Fried Bread Pudding

Fried Bread Pudding

Does something like this really need words?  It’s full of butter and cream and it’s fried, I mean come on?!  Two things to keep in mind here: the bread pudding should be refrigerated before frying in butter and make sure that you slice it thick.  Fry in butter until crusty and golden and serve with some maple syrup!

Fried Bread Pudding


Tartine’s infamous bread pudding recipe is used to make this fried bread pudding.  This recipe takes some time (especially if you make the brioche from scratch) but is well worth the effort.  The slices of toasted brioche are submerged in a delicious custard of cream and eggs that slowly get soaked up by the bread.  Toasting the bread is really essential here—the drier the bread is the more custard is absorbed by the bread.

Fried Bread Pudding


Once the custard is out of the oven you can eat it as the recipe directs, but once cooled I like to put in the refrigerator and use it the next day to make french toast.  Cooled in the fridge the pudding slices up beautifully and fried with a little butter it turns into a delectable treat!

Fried Bread Pudding
Serves 6
This recipe uses Tartine's Bread Pudding
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  1. 6 brioche slices*, cut 1-inch thick, see recipe below
  2. 8 large eggs
  3. 3/4 cup + 2 T. sugar
  4. 4 cups whole milk
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  6. 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9×5-inch glass loaf dish. Arrange the brioche slices on a baking sheet. Place in the oven until lightly toasted, 4 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the milk, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve.
  3. Place the toasted bread slices in the prepared loaf pan, cutting the slices to fit as needed. Pour the custard evenly over the bread, filling the dish to the top. You may not be able to add all of the custard at this point. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, so that the bread can absorb the custard.
  4. Just before baking, top off the dish with more of the custard if the previous addition has been completely absorbed. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, place in the oven, and bake the pudding for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, uncover the dish, slip a knife into the center, and push the bread aside. If the custard is still very liquid, re-cover the dish and return the pudding to the oven for another 10 minutes. If only a little liquid remains, the pudding is ready to come out of the oven. The custard will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven and it will set up as it cools.
  5. Let the pudding cool overnight.
  6. Slice the pudding into thick slices and fry in some butter.
Adapted from Tartine Cookbook
Adapted from Tartine Cookbook
Over The Hill and On A Roll

To see some in progress photos of me making the brioche bread pudding click here.

Making Brioche Bread Pudding

Bread | December 30, 2010 | By

I was recently gifted a delicious home made Brioche loaf that was screaming to be made into bread pudding, so that’s exactly what I did.  I always use the Tartine Bakery recipe which calls for slicing and stacking the brioche bread and then adding the creamy goodness.

I think I’ll take some of this bread pudding and fry it in some butter tomorrow for breakfast.   Very decadent!

Do you have a favorite bread pudding recipe?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Sunny Morning Strawberry Jam Flavored With Mexican Vanilla

Bread | November 15, 2010 | By

Strawberry jam on toast is one of those treats best eaten on a sunny morning. Don’t ask me why, it just is.

After reading this article in the LA Times, I immediately started experimenting with different jams. Although strawberries are no longer in season, I luckily made a batch when they were in season and now I’ve been enjoying this delectable jam flavored with Mexican vanilla on sunny Fall mornings.

This jam has replaced my very favorite lemon curd on toast as my morning treat…for the time being that is.

I followed the LA Times recipe for Perfumed Nectarine Jam only replacing the fruit with strawberries and vanilla.  It’s a versatile recipe so add or subtract whatever you’d like!

LA Times Jam Recipe

French Toast Medallions with Blueberry Compote

Bread | July 14, 2009 | By

Best French Toast Recipe

I love french toast. Like, really, really love it. But sometimes the whole sliced bread and egg custard thing can get a bit boring.

Recently I’ve been buying Mexican baguettes called “Bolillos” which are basically demi French baguettes, only Mexican, and figured I’d try making french toast with them. Rather than cutting the bread in long slices, I sliced them into thick medallions. I figured the thick slices would produce a crispy top and bottom and silky soft custard center. To change it up even more, I made a simple blueberry compote to top it all off!

French toast medallions in second part of post..


8 large eggs
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 small french baguettes


Slice baguettes into 2 inch slices. Day-old bread works best…the drier the better. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add bread medallions to egg custard and let soak for 10 minutes. Make sure to flip the medallions half way through the soaking time. Once soaked, carefully fry medallions in a bit of butter. I use a really hot cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter. Brown on both sides and serve immediately.

Blueberry Compote

2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar, although the amount depends on the sweetness of the berries you use, or to taste
1 tablespoon triple sec


Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat for five minutes.