Tartine Bread Is Not For The Faint-Of Heart

At San Fransisco's Tartine Bakery, the loaves of fresh bread sell within the hour they go on sale. For those who can't get a loaf of their own, or who don't live in San Fransisco, baker Chad Robertson's instructional cookbook, Tartine Bread, has made the elusive bread available to intrepid home bakers. Tartine Bread is not for the faint-of heart. To make your own "crunch-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside" bread, you must cultivate a mother starter of yeast, which needs daily attention. The book is great for borderline obsessive bakers. Those who take an interest in the science or how-to aspect of baking will love the technical nature of the book.

More than inspire a devoted band of home bakers, this book has inspired an online community of bread makers, who turn to one another for critiques and advice of their loaves. Forums have popped up on websites like Facebook and thefreshloaf.com. The Tartine acolytes are mostly male, countering the predominantly female-driven food blog culture. Posts about TBF are not uncommon, meaning a "total bread fail." But the bakers keep making bread, and sharing their progress seems to be a large part of the benefit of making the bread.

It's great to see the positive and tangible outcome of home cooks and bakers who learn from cookbooks. What's your favorite or go-to cookbook to learn from?

Read more about Tartine Bread's following at the Wall Street Journal online.