Tassajara Bread

Tassajara Bread

Brandon and I grew up in very different worlds – he in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, me in urban San Francisco – but we are close in age, so had some overlap in experiences. Both of our parents dabbled in many things hippie. My adult boundaries don’t want to know many of the details of those days – from either my parents or my in-laws – but one leftover from that time is this bread. Both of our parents had this bread cookbook – The Tassajara Bread Book – written at a Zen monastery in 1970.


Brandon has hippie-food horror stories, like being tricked into eating carob (which he describes as removing all the moisture out of his mouth, and all the joy out of his body). While my culinary experiences in the 70s weren’t quite as traumatic, both of our parents hung on to their copies of “The Tassajara Bread Book” and Brandon’s folks still occasionally bake the bread.


I first had it many years ago, and was surprised at how much I like it – hearty and filling, it’s just slightly sweet, and has the perfect balance of being healthy without tasting too healthy (you know what I mean)?┬áThe cookbook has a basic recipe of this bread, with lots of suggestions for adaptations.


The actual recipe I use came from somewhere (either my folks or Brandon’s, I can’t remember), and I made a few other alterations to make it even more simple (no need for powdered milk!). The resulting bread is quite easy to make – albeit with a few ingredients that you may not have immediately on hand – and most of the time it takes is hands-off. Oh, and the original recipe makes 4 loaves, I whittled it down to one loaf, the perfect amount for one weeks’ worth of sandwiches.



Recipe is below, and here’s a few photos of the dough doing its thing.


Here’s what the sponge looks like once it’s risen:



After the flours are added, kneaded, in a ball, and ready for it’s second rise:

before the second rise


After the second rise:


second rise


And after the final rise:


after the final rise


[tasty-recipe id=”8434″]


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