Miche: first try...
after having mostly good success with the breads i tried from Hamelman's Bread, yesterday i gave the Miche a try:
A few notes and questions:
I've seen other try with a mix of whole wheat and white flours, but often it looks much darker than the book's picture and often denser too; so i used a 'semi-whole' flour i have. It's italian, and it's graded as '2', being the '00' the more refined, then the '0' and this being the less refined grade of 'white' flour. It's made with hard spring wheat in order to keep some strength (W 190 declared); here are the specs:
It's probably more refined than the high exctraction flour the recipe calls for; next time i'll try the mixed-flour miche, with 80% of this and 20% rye: it should go well.
I scaled the metric recipe at 10%, obtaining a little more than 1800g of dough; smaller than a real miche, but enough for a first try :-)
I mixed the dough at 75% water, keeping the remaining 7% water in a glass; i then poured about half of that in the mix, so the final dough was about 78% hydration. It looked VERY wet (and i'm used to make ciabatta and such). I had to mix it a while in my kenwood (a 'cooking chef', that has a much better dough hook than the regular major) for it to start to clean the bowl; i've used cold water from the fridge, so the final dough temp was just right. I then gave the dough 3 sets of fold at 40min intervals; fermented for about 2 1/2 hours.
When ready for shaping, it was clear that it was not going to keep any shape on top of a linen, so i reached for the biggest bowl in the kitchen and put the linen into it, floured, and then the loaf seams up. As for shaping, i tried to be gentle (maybe too much, see the cavern on the upper part...), folded from the sides to the center 6 or 8 portions, inverted the dough and rounded it (gently). It was still VERY soft and wet, but manageable; like making a boule out of ciabatta dough.
Proofed about 2 hours, inverted on the peel, scored 'square' and baked in my WFO, with steam for the first 15 minutes, then removed the steam tray and opened the chimney; baked for about an hour total (it measured around 205º in the center). Let it cool, wrapped in a linen and left alone for about 16 hours (then it was time for breakfast; i had to have it).
My first random impressions: even using a stiff levain, that smelled more sour than my usual liquid one, the bread is much less sour than a retarded loaf made with liquid levain. I would say it's not sour at all, just a hint. I expected a thicker crust. The crumb is moist, somewhat chewy, but not hard. Flavor is delicate for being a sourdough. All in all, a more delicate bread than the 'vermont sourdough' i tried a few times. Such huge caverns on top, are a real defect: when you slice it, the slice has like a crust 'lip' on top, and the rest of the slice below; can't use it for a sandwich, or i'll have to select the best slices. Scared from the wet dough, i might have floured the linen too much; next time i'll use less flour. I enjoy baking in a WFO, especially when i don't burn the bread:-) It feels like a good match to bake a bigger loaf in it.
For the questions:
I suppose the cavern is from the shaping; is this correct? If so, what should i try to avoid it, without getting a much tighter crumb?
Would it be reasonable to try the whole 82% hydration, or that's because the flour recommended has probably more fibers in it?
All in all i'm very happy with it (i don't make sandwiches usually anyways...); i even got much more spring than i expected. Next time i'll try the mxed-flour version; a little stronger flavor won't hurt my taste, and it'll be even healtier.
Also, thanks to all the help i received here previously and searching the site; i would probably have got a brick otherwise.