With all of the attention on the Miche breads of various members, I was motivated to try the one dmsnyder posted on. I was taken by the flavor comments and the use of toasted wheat germ. I took a stab at replicating the high extraction flour David used by combining 25% whole wheat flour with 75% Better For Bread (my stock AP). I use the fresh ground WW from Organic Wheat Products (flourgirl51) which is stone ground. She offers it ground fine but I have been using the more course ground product which you can see in the bread. David's photos seem to indicate a finer grind which would make the dough less speckled. Perhaps I'll run some of my WW through the mill to take it down a step in particle size. I think this would be a great excuse to order some Golden Buffalo high extraction flour.
I also took Davids suggestion with oven temperature and pre heated at 500F then lowered to 440F after loading and steaming. The vents were blocked for the first 20 minutes then opened for another 45 minutes. As you see, the crust is quite boldly baked. The areas of expansion are a lovely golden color. The singing is quite pronounced as would be expected with such a well colored loaf.
I think the next time I make this bread, I'll scale it up to 2kilo's as David suggested and shape it more oval. My dough weighed 1240 grams before baking and just 1002 grams after cooling for 30 minutes. The internal temperature was 205F when I pulled it from the stone. Normally I would dry out the crust by opening the door slightly after the oven had been shut down. In this case I thought the 65 minute bake was ample time in the oven to harden the crust.
I'm waiting for later in the day to slice this bread with dinner. Hopefully it will pare well with chicken piccata as bruchetta. I'll try to post a crumb shot later.
ADDED CRUMB SHOT AND COMMENTS:
First I have to say this bread has taken me to a place I have not been before. Such simple ingredients are blended with time and careful handling to create a most wonderful eating experience. This is one of those times where the sum is greater than the parts. I believe David mentioned thinking that he thought the deep flavor was coming from the crust but in fact the soft, chewy crumb has this flavor all on its own. I don't profess to understand why the addition of a small amount of toasted wheat germ makes this flavor so unique (I'm guessing that's it) but I'm sold. Everyone loved the rich flavor of the crumb. The crust was shattering as I cut it, pieces flying everywhere even after 6 hours of cooling. My wife was not as fond of the crispy, crunchy crust on her teeth but the dog was happy to relieve her of the trimmed edges. I had made some dark turkey broth earlier in which I dunked some chunks of this miche. A perfect melding of flavors if I do say so. Just wonderful!
We ate the bread with dinner of chicken piccata and a tomato and onion salad with my custom dressing of abundant Gorgonzola cheese and spices. The salad is a bold side dish but believe me the bread held its own with the lemon from the piccata and also the garlic/onion/cheese dressing. A wonderful meal.
I might like to try this slightly less boldly baked for the general public. I do think the over all awesomeness (is that a word?) of this bread will be enhanced by baking as a larger loaf. I would love to make a huge 8 pounder. If only I can find a way to bake it. Hmmmm.