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Jan 16, 2018

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

This Tartine-style sourdough rosemary polenta bread has a thick crispy crust and a super flavorful crumb. It's loaded with polenta, rosemary, and pumpkin seeds. While I've made a sourdough polenta bread before, this one has much higher percentage of the polenta.

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

This Tartine-style sourdough rosemary polenta bread recipe takes the original 75 percent hydration Tartine bread and tosses in a big helping of prepared polenta, along with fresh rosemary and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Because polenta (corn grits) can absorb and then release a lot of water into the dough, this bread can be quite a challenge. Once you have developed the gluten in the dough, you think you're all set. Then when you add the polenta, let the dough rest for 30 minutes, your dough becomes a lot looser.

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

"What's Tartine bread?" you ask. Tartine is a bakery in San Francisco co-owned by Chad Robertson, and his basic bread is considered pretty much the holy grail for amateur bread bakers. The recipe for the basic bread is over 40 pages long in his book, Tartine.

Once you get past the first recipe, there are so many other delicious variations of the bread in the book. In addition, when you get to page 151, there is the most amazing olive oil brioche recipe.

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are making this bread, introduced by Elizabeth of Blog from Our Kitchen.

A few of the Babes, including Elizabeth, had some issues with the dough once they added the polenta. They reported that the dough became soupy and hard to shape. Because of these experiences, I made couple of adjustments. First, I increased the percentage of the sourdough starter so that the dough would get some extra oomph. In addition, I added a small amount of vital wheat gluten in order to give the dough some extra strength in order to handle the polenta.

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

I did not get a super airy and lacy crumb, nor did I get a big "ear" with this bread. I was probably shy about slashing the dough after hearing the tales of woe from the rest of the BBBs.

What I did get was a lofty and delicious loaf. It was easy to shape, and emerged from the banneton completely intact.

One step I recommend is pre-shaping the loaf and then letting it sit uncovered for about 10 minutes. This step helps develop a light "skin" on the dough.

I lined my banneton with a towel which I generously sprinkled with a 50/50 mixture of wheat and rice flour.

One of my favorite parts of baking this bread was the preparation of the pumpkin seeds. The minute I stuck them in the oven to roast, they started popping away. I had no idea! How fun is that?

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the participating Babes' takes on this bread.
Yield: one loaf

Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread

prep time: cook time: total time:


  • 200 grams active (fed within the last 12 hours) 100 percent hydration starter
  • 350 grams warm water
  • 450 grams of bread flour
  • 50 grams whole wheat flour
  • 35 grams vital wheat gluten
  • 10 grams salt
  • 71 grams raw pumpkin seeds 
  • 80 grams polenta/corn grits
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon corn or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary


  1. The night before you mix the dough, prepare your starter to make sure it is active. 
  2. To make the final dough, in a large bowl, add the starter, the warm water, and the flours, including the vital wheat gluten. Mix by hand until incorporated, cover, and let rest in a warm spot in your kitchen for about 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Mix by hand, pinching the dough to dissolve the salt, and stretching and folding the dough over itself. Cover and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, make the polenta. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spread the pumpkin seeds over a baking sheet and bake them until they begin to pop and turn to brown, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. 
  5. Stir the polenta/grits and boiling water together and set aside for 30 minutes. Add the pumpkin seeds, oil, and rosemary. Spread the mixture over a baking sheet or plate to rest. 
  6. Let the dough rise for 3 to 5 hours, stretching and folding four times every 30 minutes for the first two hours, until the dough is buoyant and aerated, and doubled in size. Add the polenta mixture during the third stretch and fold. Be sure to pinch the polenta into the dough while performing the stretch and fold. 
  7. Once the dough has doubled, using a dough scraper, gently coax the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface.
  8. Shape the dough into a boule by gently folding the dough over itself from all "sides." Flip the shaped dough over so that the seam side is on the counter. Using a bench scraper, draw the loaf toward you, and then away from you, to tighten up the top of the dough. Let rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. In the meantime, dust a towel lined banneton with a 50-50 mixture of wheat and rice flour.
  9. After the 10 minutes, flip the dough over, and reshape the loaf one more time. Flip the loaf back over, seam side down, and place the bench scraper under the shaped loaf. Push it around from all four sides against the work surface to create tension and tighten up the loaf. Place the shaped dough into the banneton, seam side up. Pinch the seam a few times to make sure it stays closed. Cover with oiled plastic wrap.
  10. You can either let the loaf rise at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, until puffy, and then bake. Alternatively, you can place the shaped loaf in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours for a more sour flavor.
  11. About 30 minutes before baking, place a Dutch oven in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F. Remove your loaf from the refrigerator.
  12. When ready to bake, pull the Dutch oven out of your oven and, using this method, transfer the loaf to the hot pan. Carefully return the hot lid to the pan, and place it in the oven, and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
  13. Bake or 30 minutes, remove the lid, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the interior of the loaf reaches about 205 degrees F, and the crust is a deep brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

  • Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth
  • A Messy Kitchen – Kelly
  • Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
  • Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
  • Notitie Van Lien – Lien
  • Bread Experience - Cathy
  • Thyme for Cooking - Katie
  • Feeding My Enthusiasms - Elle

  • Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread #tartine #sourdough #bread #artisanbread

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    1. Your bread is gorgeous!

      Ha. It turns out that my issues are with Robertson's wording and instructions for how to make polenta. I confess that I didn't try using his boiling water and half-hour soaking method with cornmeal, but it DEFINITELY does not work with millet.

      But, like you, I have no issues with that way to prepare the pepitas. Aren't they brilliant?

      I'm curious, could you taste the rosemary?

      1. Hi Elizabeth, I could taste just a hint of rosemary, which is all I needed.

        The pepitas are a blast!!!

    2. Gorgeous bread! I can see the effect of the extra gluten...more shape in the finished bread when sliced. I toasted my pepitas in a cast iron skillet...they hopped all over the stove area before I was done, which was indeed fun!

      1. I'm going to have to try that method next! Too fun!

    3. THIS. This was the result I was looking for. So awesome that you got such a gorgeous loaf. I threw out my vital wheat gluten a few years ago when the girls turned up with wheat sensitivity, but I might pick up just enough in bulk to square off with this recipe one last time! Maybe some cornmeal too, which we are all allergic to, I can give the loaf to a friend. ;)

      1. You just made my day. I keep a small stash of VWG in my freezer for moments like these. I don't use it often, but it worked like a charm. How about semolina instead of cornmeal so you can enjoy the bread!

    4. I love your bread, as always it looks great. Also it made me realise that I totally forgot to sift the WWflour.... hahaha.

    5. Oh... Rosemary bread! and so pretty, but a very white - you must have used white flours and polents...

      1. It has about 10 percent whole wheat, and the polenta was very yellow =) Maybe it's the light coming in the window!

    6. Popped pumpkin seeds with 2 drops of olive oil for a small bowl full of seeds and some salt makes a great snack. More than a drop or two of oil makes them very greasy but a touch of oil gives the salt something to stick to. Last summer I grew my own seeds from Lady Godiva pumpkins which have seeds that don't need to be shelled like most pumpkin seeds do. The plant is prolific but takes a lot of room!

    7. That's one gorgeous loaf. I'm in love with it. I only wish mine came close in looks. :)

      1. Thanks Aparna. I really think that the extra starter and the vital wheat gluten made a difference. P.S. Your crumb is perfection.

    8. Lovely loaf and beautiful crumb! I'll have to try that trick of letting the dough sit for 10 minutes to develop the skin. I placed mine in the refrigerator to cold ferment so that helped as well.

      1. Thanks Cathy. I wanted to try the cold ferment as well, but completely ran out of time! Let me know if you try the 10 minute rest!


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