Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt began Tartine in 2002 with the mission to bring bread with an old-soul into the lives Californians. Using techniques learned abroad, Chad bakes slow-fermented yeast bread and Elisabeth creates elegant, yet rustic pastries. With fastidious attention to the raw materials and processing, the couple became a cultural force in the US food scene. Their cookbook, Tartine Bread, has been the crux of the American bread movement.
Tartine’s excellence starts with its grains. At Tartine, four is seen as a living ingredient and contains the original germ, oils and bran for a more flavorful and nutritious bread. It places a premium on stewardship of land and quality grains by paying farmers top prices. Together with millers at Cairnspring and farmers at Hedlin Family Farms, Tartine is rebuilding local food systems and grain economies.
In the kitchen, Tartine bakers are modern craftsmen in charge of the complex balance of yeast, bacteria, time, temperature, moisture, and fermentation that acts on the four to create bread. To recuperate knowledge about ancient grains, bakers speak daily with millers to iterate and collaborate with each weekly shipment.
This results in ever better country loaves and croissants in Tartine’s seven locations across San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seoul.
For years bread has been seen as the enemy to people's waistlines. However, consumers are starting to realize that when made in the traditional way bread is a nutritious option, not just a loaf of empty calories. Leading this cultural movement are entrepreneurial bakers who have abandoned modern industrial practices and adopted older, traditional ways to make bread. These bakers choose wild yeast over commercial starters and ancient grains over highly processed white four. While traditional bread making requires more know-how and attention, the slow fermentation that acts on the four actually augments both the nutrition and taste of the raw ingredient. The final bread is not a spongey, bland loaf that leaves you feeling heavy, but a crunchy yet chewy, nutty and slightly tangy treat. By strictly using best practices throughout the entire supply chain, places like Tartine, Bread Lab and La Brea are elevating bread from a commodity to a gourmet experience.