He's a Grainiac

Revolutionary recipes from a local baker

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If you've bought bread at Tartine and Bar Tartine over the last two years, you've noted the appearance of some crazy-sounding loaves. Barley porridge with flaxseed. Sprouted buckwheat einkorn.

They've all been research for Chad Robertson's new book. The recipes in Tartine Book No. 3 ($40), published yesterday, were inspired by Robertson's trips to Scandinavia and the heirloom grains coming onto the market. "Modern wheats were bred for yield, not flavor," he says. "There's a huge difference in taste."

As with Tartine Bread, the new book's recipes may take a few tries to master, as well as a few inexpensive tools. Once you get the hang of Robertson's methods, however, you can get impressive results.

Tartine Book No. 3 and Chad Robertson

Where do you buy ingredients like emmer kernels, purple barley or kamut flour? No surprise: The bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery are the best source, Robertson says, as well as Keith Giusto Bakery Supply in Petaluma.

Stop by the bakeries these days and you'll find Tartine's newest experiments made with toasted and steeped grains, which Robertson nicknames "tea breads." He asked his publisher to add extra pages at the last minute so he could include recipes, but no go.

You'll just have buy them at the source until the next book comes out.