The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dmsnyder's picture


The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread” is one of my favorite breads. I've made it a great many times. But I have a confession to make: I've never made it with the proper hydration level.

It started out by my finding one of the very rare errors in this marvelous book. Hamelman's ingredient list in the “Home” version of the Final Dough calls for “1 lb., 6.4 oz (2 ¼ cups)” of water. Now, 2 ¼ cups of water weighs less than this. I initially assumed the volume measurement was correct, and I used 1 lb., 2 oz. of water. You know, this made an outstanding bread. It did have more oven spring and a higher profile than expected, but the crumb was nice and open with large holes, and it tasted great, so I kept using my “corrected” formula.

Now, “Bread” has been such a reliable book, I always doubted my solution. Finally, I compared the ingredient quantities in the 3 listings Hamelman gives with the baker's percentages he gives. It turns out that the error was really in the volume measurement, not the weight. The home recipe should call for 2 ¾ cups of water, which is 1 lb., 6.4 oz.

So, today, for the first time, I made the Miche at the 82% hydration called for in Hamelman's formula.

At the higher hydration level, this dough is not just slack. It is truly gloppy. Hamelman says to mix it 2 to 2 ½ minutes (in a professional spiral mixer) to get “moderate gluten development.” I mixed it in a Bosch Universal Plus for 17 minutes to get something less than “moderate” gluten development. Hamelman then calls for 2 or 3 folds during a 2 ½ hour bulk fermentation. I implemented the “stretch and fold in the bowl” approach and did 30 folds at 30 minute intervals over 2 hours, then I let the dough proof for another 45 minutes. (This is much like the method McGuire uses in his “Pain de Tradition,” as Shiao-Ping has shared with us. Since the Miche, Pointe-à-Callière is also a McGuire bread, according to Hamelman, using this method seemed entirely reasonable.)

I “shaped” the miche by dumping the dough onto a heavily floured board and folding the edges to the center. I made 6-8 folds. The loaf was then transferred to a linen-lined, floured banneton and proofed for 2 hours and baked with steam.


I am cooling the miche overnight before slicing. 

Miche profile

This miche still has a higher profile than those pictured in Hamelman.

Miche crumb

The crumb is about right, but, interestingly, I've gotten more open crumbs on previous bakes using somewhat lower hydration. My hunch is that the difference is related to how I did the bulk fermentation.



Shiao-Ping's picture

It was Tony Bennett who first sang "I left my heart in San Francisco" at the Venetian Room of Fairmont Hotel in 1962.  He is now in his 80s.   Many people in Asia who have not been to San Francisco or do not know much about San Francisco (like me) know it through this song (and the post card fog covered Golden Gate Bridge). 


People may laugh if I say I went to Fairmont Hotel to experience the sense of history when that song was first sung.  Or if I say that I stood in Portsmouth Square in the heart of China Town and tried to picture what it was like when Captain Montgomery first raised an American flag there back in 1846.  In fact it didn't feel like that long ago.  I saw old Chinese men gathered in small groups, squatting, happily playing their Chinese checkers, gambling with small amounts of money - just like the old days in any back streets in China.  Certain things just don't change.  As my husband sometimes says, "you can take the man out of the boy, but you cannot take the boy out of the man." 

The 1848 gold rush saw 12,000 Chinese men joining the foray from across the Pacific and resulted in the oldest, and possibly the largest, China Town in America today.  I often wondered why San Francisco is called "Jiou-gin-shan" in Mandarin (meaning "old gold mountain"); so that's why.  That was a part of overseas Chinese history that is very foreign to me.    

And I can't believe I came to downtown Berkeley.  I heard there were a lot of Chinese in California even back in those days when I was studying in Boston, so I avoided the west coast as much as I could.  UC Berkeley was founded in 1868, a very old school indeed, only 20 odd years after Captain Montgomery came to California.  I walked into a bookstore in the campus called Ten Thousand Minds on Fire, and what did I find?  A poster announcing a concert by the young Chinese pianist Lang Lang ("the hottest artist on the classical music planet" according to The New York Times) on 8th September in UC Berkeley; student ticket $10.  See, if you are a student you get great deals (and your teachers love you).

One great luxury about being in a baking course is that you get to "waste" as much flour as you possibly can (everything in the end goes conveniently to a recycling bin which goes to happy pigs somewhere).  We learnt sourdough made with white starter, made with whole wheat starter, made with rye starter, and with starter which was on a cycle of one feeding a day and two feedings a day, and with starter 40% of final flour, 70% of final flour; and with dough that was bulk fermented or fermented at proofing stage.  We had worked with different types of flours - spelt, rye, semolina, whole wheat, and high extraction flour as well as seeds and nuts.  We had worked with different types of pre-ferments - poolish, sponge and pate fermente (old dough left over from last bake) as opposed to starter to see the difference in bread flavor profile.  We also learnt retarding in bulk and in proofing stage and the resulting variations in dough strength required.  Behind all of these are two key concepts - fermentation and strength, in an effort to achieve a balance for the characteristics that we want in bread.

With this post I am doing a plain sourdough with just white starter; for me this is something like after a long, marathon like, but enjoyable, dinner, before you go home, you want something simple to cleanse, maybe not your palate, but your mind; that is, to lighten up your mind, before you take on the long journey home.  So, not too heavy, please. 


Formula for (white) Sourdough 

Levain Build - Day 4 @ 6:30 am

  • 75 g bread flour

  • 5 g rye flour

  • 47 g water

  • 63 g stiff starter @50% hydration

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated and allow to ferment for 6 hours at room temp of 65 - 70F.

(Note: the fermentation at this initial stage is relatively short as the final dough is to be retarded overnight and will have enough fermentation then for the flavor profile for this sourdough.  Because the fermentation is only 6 hours, the starter as a % of flours is higher than normal at around 80%.  If you wish for a more sour sourdough, you could either do a longer than 6 hour ferment or push starter % of flours even higher so the wild yeasts reach anaerobic condition sooner.)

Final Dough - Day 4 @ 12:30 noon

  • 470 g bread flour

  • 330 g water @ around 50 F in order to achieve a dough temp of around 74 - 76F

  • 12 g salt

  • 190 g levain (all from above)

  • extra rye flour for dusting

Total dough weight 1kg and total dough hydration 67%

  1. Mix all ingredients in first speed of your mixer until well incorporated about 4 - 5 minutes.

  2. Switch to second speed (approx. the 4th gear on home Kitchen Aid mixer) for 4 - 5 minutes to achieve a medium strength of gluten development.  (Note: as the dough is going to be shaped and proof overnight, the gluten needs to be quite well developed at this stage.  Conversely, if the dough is to be retarded in bulk overnight and some strength will be picked up in that process, the gluten does not need to be as well developed at mixing.)

  3. Scrape dough out into a lightly oiled container, give it a fold, and cover.  

  4. First fermentation 1 + 1/2 hours with one fold in the container after 45 minutes.

  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work bench.  

  6. Divide dough to 2 x 500 g and pre-shape to cylinder. 

  7. Rest for 20 minutes and in the mean time dust linen with rye flour.

  8. Shape dough into thin batards with pointed ends.  

  9. Place shaped dough on linen seam side up and cover the dough with plastic bag.

  10. Place the whole thing into your fridge to retard overnight.

Bake - Day 5 @ 9 am

  1. Remove the shaped dough out of the fridge and turn on your oven to pre-heat to 450F

  2. An hour later, steam the oven, score the batards three times down the center line, then load the dough onto your baking stone, steam again.  Bake for 35 minutes.

  3. Bake for another 5 minutes with oven door ajar to let the crust dry out more.

  4. Cool on rack before slicing.







For relatively low hydration (67%), this sourdough has quite an open crumb.  This dough will make for a great sourdough baguette too.  The flavour is very much to my taste, mildly sour but complex with a long lasting after-taste.

With this post, I am going into the air, flying home tomorrow, and I don't know when I will return next; it was like 25 years ago in Boston, I thought I'd never come to America again in my life (flying was such a big deal then), so I did as much travelling as I could within the States, the furthermost west I'd gone to was Columbus, Ohio, to listen to New Orleans jazz.  And for some reason I forgot I didn't have a return ticket to go home!  If not because towards the end of my semester a big multinational corporation offered me a job and to fly home (I was not a seeker of a job then), I might still be like a dog gone astray in the streets of America!  


                                                The light dancing on the tree trunk, UC Berkeley



davidg618's picture

Four afternoons of hands-on baking--that's Hands-on with a capital H. We started with first steps for making croissants, and sourdough levain, went on to bake lavash, classic baguettes (poolish),  sunflower sourdough bread, rye fougasse (w/preferment), miche, and pizza. The latter two were baked in a wood fired oven; all our other dough were baked in the KA Bakery oven.

The class uses a simple format: one of the teaching bakers demonstrates what's to be done; immediately following the students do what they observed, with guidance and critique by the roving teachers. Short lectures, followed by Q's and A's round out the teaching. The ratio of doing to demonstration and talking was roughly 7 to 1.

Two, sometimes three doughs were in various degrees of completion at any moment. For example, on day one we were given a small portion of sourdough seed starter, which we fed and set aside to be fed again the next day. We had just finished making the croissant's dough and butter block, which were chilling overnight.
We also made the poolish for the baguettes, and finished the day making whole wheat lavash--a spicy, whole-wheat version, peppered with mixed whole seeds, and salt. We got our first exposure to the commercial oven baking the lavash.

Day two was devoted to baguettes, but first we completed "le beurrage" rolling out the croissant dough, encasing the butter block in the dough, shaping the first tri-fold, and returning our efforts to chill overnight again. Following, we made our baguette dough, hand kneaded and stretched-and-folded once. While our baguette doughs proofed, Sharon O'Leary, the baker responsible for KA Bakery's daily output of baguettes demonstrated the preshaping and final shaping of baguettes. The school bakers had prepared a large batch of baguette dough for our practice. Consequently, we each got to form three baguettes--the first one or two directly under Sharon's guidance, and and the balance on our own--before shaping our own doughs.  Our baguettes proofed, while we listened to a short lecture on scoring, then off to the oven where we scored and baked both the practice and our own baguettes.

On day three we completed our croissants, tri-folding twice more, and book-folding once; fifty-four laminations resulted. Micheal, the youngest student, a teen attending the class with his mother did the math. After chilling we each rolled out a sheet adequate to create eight shapes of either croissants, bear claws, or pinwheels. Chocolate batons and almond cream were provided. We also did some freeform shapes with the scrapes, and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. Properly baked croissants finish with a much darker color than the many insipid faux croissants offered in supermarket bakeries. We finished the day making the fougasse preferment.

Each day, we aslo fed our sourdough starters, discarding half each time. The Vermont weather was unusuallly hot and humid, so our teachers kindly fed our starters during the hours we were absent.

Day four we finished our sourdoughs: pain au levain-like with sunflower seeds. The teachers demonstrated forming boules and batards, tightening the dough's outer surface relying on the friction between the dough and the unfloured butcherblock table. Susan Miller, our sourdough instructor, beginning the day before making a stiff levain, made a large batch of miche dough--enough that each student shaped and scored a 3.5 pound loaf, later baked in the bakery's oven. We finshed the day hand-tending our fougasse, and then pizzas (the teachers made the pizza dough) in the school's large, wood-fired oven. I shared a bottle of my home vinted 2007 Pinot Noir with my classmates.

Although, some of us were disappointed Jeffrey Hamelman, King Arthur's Bakery and Education Center Director, neither taught nor made an appearance, the bakers, Jessica Meyers, Michelle Kupiec, and the previously mentioned Sharon and Susan were superb. Collectively, they share over sixty years of experience baking artisanal breads. The atmoshphere was informal, and relaxed.

I bake alone like, I presume, many other TFL members. There is no one, neither home baker or professional near at hand I can learn with, share ideas with, nor smell, taste, poke or squeeze their doughs and breads. This class, a birthday gift from my wife, helped fill that void.

smasty's picture

My first attempt at SD was a disaster.  Thanks to the great input I received, I embarked on a 2nd attempt yesterday/today.  This is Hamelman's Vermont SD recipe.  My liquid levain culture (Norman) was 11 days old yesterday.  I created the levain build early yesterday morning, too early, and it overripened.  Since I knew it had fermented for about 22 hours, instead of the 16 max recommended, I decided to only do a 1/2 recipe (until I get it right).  I mixed everything early this morning.  The bulk ferment took about 6.5 hours to result in just less than a doubling.  Then I shaped the loaf and let it set for about 2.5 hours.  My result is about 80% quality (way way better than last time...but much room to improve).  As you can see, my cuts did not open well, there wasn't enough oven spring--the loaf should have set for another hour, at least.  The crust is magnificent, and the flavor is really is sour!  The crumb is too dense.  The crumb color is a little off too...more gray instead of white or cream (I can't remember what causes this).  At least this loaf is edible (DH loves it).  This has been an awesome learning experience, and I greatly appreciate the suggestions I received the first time.  I realize the talent that resides on this board, and appreciate the help given to us newbies!


Jw's picture

as mentioned, I got a basket from the sfbs. It took a few weeks before I could try it out, TFL is a good resource for tips. The first attempt is actually a slow bread, it looked promising. The pattern is not that good. The other breads are all SF sourdough.

Here (below) I tried scoring the bread, but I guess it was not deep enough (or too late in the rise).

Here the scoring has improved, slowly getting there. I should have noted the rising times... too much flower as well.

Getting closer where I want to be. The wooden shoe (size US12/EU46) is there to get an impression of the size of the breads. I am happy with the crumb! I will go back to new recipes, when I 'perfected' this form.

Expectations about the taste have even been higher, when my 'customers' (friends and family) see the new form. I can definitely recommend getting a basket like this (and I will get the oval shape at a later point in time).

Happy baking!


Mebake's picture

I delayed this bread long enough, i thought to myself. It was, afterall, the inspiration behind baking craziness. The bread is 1/3 Barley and 2/3 Wholewheat.

Taste? mmm.. it was sourdough, though some 1.6 tsp of yeast was used in the final dough. The bread tastes: Wholesome- Soury- Fibery- damp- chewy - Crusty. Thats is the way i felt when i took a bite. Regrets? Would skip the  Wholewheat starter and go for a yeast poolish to somewhat reduce sourness, though the bread was mildly sour.


150 g Whole Barley flour

300 g Whole Wheat Flour

80 g Ripe Stiff Wholewheat starter

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp Active dry inst. yeast

1 tsp molasses

265 g water


As instructed by Peter Reinhart's Wholegrain breads, i made a biga and a soaker.

Soaker: 150g WholeWheat flour + 75g Whole Barley Flour + all Salt + 130g water

Biga: 150g Wholewheat Flour + 75g Wholebarley flour + all starter + 130 g water

I let them sit for 1 hour, then i refrigerate them for 24 hours.

Next day, i removed the two doughs, biga and soker from the fridge and let them sit for 2 hours to warm. Next, i mixed the two doughs thoroughly , added all the yeast and 5 grams water, and knead  until both incorporated evenly (the final dough.)

I oiled a bowl and put the final dough in for bulk fermentation. This took 1.5 hours. I carefully scraped the dough into a floured workspace, and began shaping the dough into a Boule. Initial shaping was followed by final shaping, and into the proofing basket upside down it went. I preheated the oven to 450 F or 240 C with an empty load paf for steaming and a cast-iron skillet as a baking stone.

1 hour later I removed the Hot cast iron skillet, and inverted the dough from the basket to a parchment and unto the skillet. Into the oven it went and i poured hot water into the hot loaf pan to creat steam and closed the oven.

1 hour later, i turned the oven off, i opened the oven door for 10 minutes with the bread in for extra crust, and then removed it unto a cooling rack.

The Boule in the oven after 8 minutes

Sourdough Barley Bread


A crumb Shot

Another Crumb shot


dmsnyder's picture


George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker” is a wonderful source for traditional New York-style Jewish baked goods. It has been criticized for giving ingredients in volume measurements only, though. I have previously provided Greenstein's formula for Jewish Sour Rye with ingredient weights, but I realized today that I had never done this for another of my favorite Greenstein breads – Pumpernickel. So, here is Greenstein's pumpernickel formula converted to weights.

This is Jewish pumpernickel. It is moist and chewy. It is not the dry, dense German-style pumpernickel. I make it generally as long loaves, as pictured. However, you can also make it as round loaves, in which case you should "dock" the loaves by making 6-10 holes in the top with a skewer or ice pick, rather than scoring them across with 3 slashes. You can also make this bread in loaf pans, in which case I would score them with a single slash along the center of the long axis.

The recipe that follows is taken from Secrets of a Jewish Baker, by George Greenstein. The ingredient amounts are both those Greenstein specifies and the ingredient weights I actually used. The procedures are adapted from Greenstein's.


Volume (per Greenstein)

Amount (per dmsnyder)

Warm water

1 cup

240 gms


1 pkg active dry

7.5 gms instant

Rye sour

1 cup

250 gms

Altus (optional)

1 cup

1 cup

Pumpernickel color

4 tablespoons

1 tablespoon caramel color

Common (First Clear) flour

2 ½ to 3 ½ cups

350-400 gms

Pumpernickel flour

1 cup

115 gms


1 tablespoon

8 gms

Caraway seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon

Not used

Cornstarch solution

(see below)


Notes on ingredients:

1. Rye sour: This is a rye sourdough starter. You can make it from scratch. You also can easily convert a wheat flour sourdough starter to a rye sour by feeding a small amount of your existing starter with rye flour and refreshing it a couple of times.

2. Altus: This is “old” rye bread cut into small pieces, soaked in water until saturated and wrung out. It was originally a way for bakers to re-use bread they hadn’t sold. "Waste not. Want not." However, it does make for a more tender and flavorful bread and has become traditional. It is optional. I keep hunks of leftover rye bread in a plastic bag in my freezer to use as altus.

3. Pumpernickel color: This is really optional but is necessary to give the "black" color expected of pumpernickel. It also gives the bread a subtle bitter undertone without which it just doesn't taste "right." You can use 1 tablespoon of powdered caramel color, instant espresso cof

fee or cocoa powder. I use powdered caramel coloring from King Arthur’s Baker’s Catalogue.

4. Pumpernickel flour: This is whole grain, coarsely ground rye flour. You can use dark rye flour, but it won’t be quite the same. I get pumpernickel flour from King Arthur’s Baker’s Catalogue. Like other whole grains, it will spoil in time. I keep it in my freezer in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.

5. Common flour: This is also known as first clear flour. Its definition gets into esoteric grain milling stuff, but it is necessary for authentic Jewish rye breads, including pumpernickel. It also makes wonderful sourdough breads as a substitute for bread flour or a mix of white and whole wheat flours. I get First Clear flour from King Arthur’s Baker’s Catalogue.

6. Cornstarch solution: Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water. Pour this into 1 cup of gently boiling water in a sauce pan, whisking constantly. Boil until slightly thickened. Set aside. It can be kept refrigerated for a few days in a sealed jar or covered bowl.

7. Caraway seeds: I don’t use them in pumpernickel, myself. You can add other things to pumpernickel, though, such as flax seeds (soaked overnight), sunflower seeds, raisins, minced onion.



Mixing (by hand. See Note below for mixing with a stand mixer.)

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water to soften; stir to dissolve. (If using instant yeast, mix it with the flour, don’t dissolve it. Add the water to the rye sour and mix.) Add the rye sour, altus (if desired), pumpernickel color, pumpernickel flour, 2 ½ cups of common flour, and salt. Mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as needed. Make the dough a bit stiffer than normal, since this dough softens as it is kneaded. Knead the dough until it feels smooth and silky (5-8 minutes).

Note: I mix in a KitchenAid mixer. I put all the ingredients in the bowl and, using the paddle, mix well at Speed 1. Scrape the dough off the paddle and replace it with the dough hook. Knead at Speed 2 for about 8-10 minutes. If you do not use altus, the dough should form a ball on the hook and clean the sides of the bowl. With altus, even when an additional 50 gms of flour is added, the dough does not clean the bowl. I then hand knead until the dough is smooth and silky.


Shape the dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Shaping & Proofing

Punch out all the air, cut in half and shape into rounds, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Shape into round loaves, long loaves or pan loaves. If baking free form, place the two loaves on a baking sheet sprinkled with coarse cornmeal. (Or on parchment paper if baking on a stone, which I prefer.) Cover and proof until doubled in size. (About 90 minutes, or more depending on room temperature). Brush with cornstarch solution. Score the loaves across if long dock them if round. If using caraway, sprinkle seeds on the top of the loaves.


Bake with steam in a preheated 375F oven until tapping the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound (30-45 minutes). The internal temperature should be at least 190F. If the crust seems soft, bake 5-10 minutes more. (The crust should be very firm when you take the loaves out of the oven. It will soften as the bread cools.)

Note: I use a pizza stone for baking free form loaves. I heat it at least 1 hour before baking. I produce steam by preheating a cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks in the oven along with the stone and, right after putting my loaves in, pouring 1 cup of boiling water into the skillet. Be careful you don’t scald yourself with the steam!


After baking, place on a rack to cool and brush again with the cornstarch solution. Let cool thoroughly before slicing and eating.

This type of pumpernickel is one of the breads we always had in the house when I was a child. I usually ate it un-toasted, spread with cream cheese. My grandmother ate it spread with sourcream. I think this pumpernickel is especially good with smoked fish or herring, and it is my favorite bread to eat with scrambled eggs.

Unfortunately, my wife isn't as fond of pumpernickel as I am, so I also made one of her favorites – the Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from BBA.


Submitted to Yeastspotting 


gcook17's picture

Doesn't it drive you crazy when you scale a formula down to a size you can make at home and you end up needing .011 oz. of yeast? You can do this if you have a scale that will measure in grains or fractions of grams.  A grain is a unit of weight that is 1/7000 of a pound or about 1/438 of an oz.  When I'm making poolish for my home-size batch of croissants and find that I need .005 oz. of yeast it's an easy matter to weigh out 2 grains of yeast.  It's not that I need extreme precision (if I did then I'd weigh out 2.2 grains of yeast) but when I see what a tiny amount of yeast 2 grains is, I know that if I had to estimate it by volume I could easily use two or three times too much.

Fortunately, you don't have to buy an expensive lab-quality scale to weigh things in grains, or tenths of grains.  Reloading scales are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.  There are both digital ones and beam balances.  The benefit of having a digital is that they have a tare button so you can avoid doing arithmetic.  Any sporting goods store that sells reloading equipment will probably sell these for an affordable price.  Midway USA has one for as low as $35:***731*** and Cabela's has some at

I have these from my days of competitive rifle shooting.  I only use the digital scale now and almost always use it for yeast, salt, malt powder, and anything else I need tiny amounts of.  The digital reads out in either tenths of a grain or hundredths of a gram.  It can be precisely calibrated with the weights and although that is a good idea when weighing out gunpowder, I don't do it all that often for baking.


Salome's picture

We've got so many jars and tins and boxes and bottles in our house. I "digged" in our cellar and found an old jar of dried apples. Dried 1998, surprisingly still look alright. Found a bag of organic buckwheat flour which my parents brought home from the Bretagne, France some holidays ago. And found a glass with some kind of Estonian instant Buckwheat which our Estonian exchange student left here two years ago. Everything looked alright, smelled alright, felt alright, I decided: It's time to use it!

End of August - The fall is coming! What about an Buckwheat Apple Bread, that sounds good and seasonal. It just had to be created. That's where I came into play. I intensified the apple flavor trough some cider, which we had in our cellar as well, and added a little bit of pear honey as well. Rather easy, utterly delicious.

The apple and the buckwheat are not only on the picture a nice couple, I found that the light sweetness and the sour tang of the apple worked very well with the nutty buckwheat flavor. Especially the crunchy loaf had a very interesting mouth feel!

Buckwheat Apple Sourdough


liquid levain
100 g buckwheat flour
125 ml cider
15 g mature starter

final dough
385 g bread flour
15 g Vital Wheat Gluten
230 ml cider (start with 200 ml and add more cider as required)
12 g salt
a little less than 1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp pear honey ("Birnel"), can be substituted by any sweetener
40 g dried apple rings, chopped
1/2 cup whole buckwheat


  1. Mix the ingredients for the liquid levain, put aside for 12 hours.

  2. pour some hot water over the whole buckwheat and let it soak for a while.

  3. In the meantime, mix the liquid levain, the flour, the Vital Wheat Gluten and cider and let it autolyse for some time. I let it sit for about 15 minutes, as long as it took to clean up after lunch. Watch out with the amount of cider added, I had to juggle a bit with some extra flour and extra cider until I found the right consitency, a tacky but not sticky dough.

  4. strain the buckwheat berries and let it drip off well.

  5. mix the final dough, but don't add the apple chunks and the buckwheat yet. Knead until the gluten is developed, then incorporate the apple pieces and about 2/3 of the buckwheat berries.

  6. Let the dough ferment for about 1.5 hours, with one fold after 40 minutes.

  7. Divide the dough into two, shape two boules. I rolled one in the leftover buckwheat berries and let it proof on the board, the other one proofed in a proofing basket.

  8. after the proofing, I decorated the second boule with an apple sign (Cut out an apple out of paper, mist the boule, place the apple on the loaf and dust the loaf now with flour. Take the apple paper away and in the oven it goes).

  9. Bake the loaves on a preheated baking stone with steam at 430°F, lower the temperature when the loaves take on to much color. (I finished baking at 400°, after about 40 minutes of baking in total)

  10. let it cool on a rack and enjoy plain, with butter or with a mild cheese.

Simply autumn, doesn't it look like it?

No other pictures of the "sleek" apple loaf, I gave it away to somebody who has borrowed me her car for my driver's license preparation a couple times. Of course I couldn't cut into it. ;)


Shiao-Ping's picture

Didier Rosada is our instructor at Artisan III course at the San Francisco Baking Institute.  The course is intensive in technical knowledge as in baking schedule.  Didier is an incredible instructor with amazing energy; he "trained and led the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA to first place victory in the bread category at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris in 1996."

I chose to blog this bread because, as Didier said, this bread is what bread was like "in his grandfather's days" (he came from south of France), also because back home I don't normally have the luxury of baking big size breads.






First Levain Build - Day one at 2:30 pm

  • 64 g high extraction flour*

  • 76 g water

  • 16 g liquid starter @100% hydration

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated with desired temperature of 21C/70F and allow to ferment 16 hours at room temp 18 - 21C/65 - 70F.

* If high extraction flour is not available, substitute with 80% white bread flour and 20% whole wheat flour.

Second Levain Build - Day two @6:30 am

  • 388 g high extraction flour*

  • 466 g water

  • 2 g salt

  • 156 g all of first levain build

(The SFBI staff did this levain build for us.)  Mix all ingredients until well incorporated with desired temperature of 21C/70F and allow to ferment 8 hours at room temperature 18 - 21C/65 - 70F.

Final Dough - Day two @2:30 pm

  • 263 g bread flour

  • 88 g high extraction flour*

  • 88 g medium rye flour

  • 97 g water (@55F)

  • 17 g salt

  • 1,012 g all of the second levain build**

Total dough weight 1,565 g and total dough hydration 72%

**Note: the total levain is 230% of final dough flour.

  1. Mix all ingredients in first speed of your mixer until well incorporated about 3 - 4 minutes.

  2. Switch to second speed (approx. the 4th gear on home Kitchen Aid mixer) for 2 - 3 minutes until medium strength of gluten development.

  3. First fermentation in mixing bowl for 30 minutes.

  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work bench and pre-shape to light ball.

  5. Rest 20 - 30 minutes.

  6. Shape into a boule and place in a well dusted linen-lined basket.

  7. Proof retarding overnight at 8 - 9C/46 - 58 F (in this case 18 hours).

Bake - Day three @10:15 am

  1. One hour before baking, turn on your oven to pre-heat to 450F.

  2. Score (or stencil) your dough any way you like (a traditional score is diamond score; I did a stencil of three overlapping circles with three scores).

  3. Bake for one hour with steam before and right after the dough is loaded onto your baking stone.

  4. Cool before slice.




Didier used my Miche as demo to explain that this bread was how bread was made in the old days and that its flavor was quite sour.   The sour taste is too strong for my liking but apparently many people in the U.S. like the strong sour taste and, surprisingly for me, almost all the other Aussies in the class like it too.  I was told that these days in France however, people generally don't like it too sour. 





If I were to do this Miche again, the following are the changes I would incorporate: 

  1. Hand mix to achieve a more open crumb;

  2. Increase total dough hydration to 76% at least, also for more open crumb; and

  3. To cut down the sourness by reducing the levain as a % of final dough flour from 230% to 120% or lower (in which case the shaped dough will proof at room temperature for an hour or two before goes into the retarder and for shorter time).

  4. I like the flour profile and will make no change in that.  



p.s.  I asked Didier if I could blog this formula with his picture and the answer was a very happy yes to me.  Thank you, Didier.


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