The Fresh Loaf

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High Hydration Miche with Sifted Whole Wheat Flour

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varda's picture
varda

High Hydration Miche with Sifted Whole Wheat Flour

The other day I posted on preliminary miche attempts.   Due to problems with handling high hydration dough, the results were fairly disreputable.   The nice crumb did give me hope that I was on the right track.   Today I tried again, taking extra care not to fumble the dough.   While the dough throughout had the consistency of a water balloon I handled with care and got a better result.  This has a crispy crust and complex flavor which I don't really know how to describe, but it is definitely memorable.    It is made with 40% hand-sifted whole wheat flour, which I think I'm safe in describing as 90% extraction and the rest AP and Bread Flour.    For a simple formula - predominantly wheat - this bread achieves flavor that I usually can only coax out of multigrains and/or added ingredients.    I think it's all about the fermentation which is aided by the high hydration.  

I picked a difficult bread to try out a crescent moon score, but here it is:

Formula and method:

Starter

 

4:45 PM

9:15 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Seed

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KAAP

15

 

120

135

 

 

 

 

KABF

 

47

 

47

 

 

 

 

Dark Rye

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

Whole Rye

 

3

5

8

5%

 

 

 

Water

12

34

145

191

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

382

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

 

 

 

 

Hi Ex

303

 

303

41%

 

 

 

 

KAAP

150

96

246

33%

 

 

 

 

KABF

150

33

183

25%

 

 

 

 

Whole Rye

 

6

6

1%

 

 

 

 

Dark Rye

 

1

1

0%

 

 

 

 

Water

480

135

615

83%

 

 

 

 

Salt

14

 

14

1.9%

 

 

 

 

Starter

270

 

 

18%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1367

 

 

 

 

 

Starter factor

0.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave starter overnight after second feed for 10 hours 45 minutes before using

Sift Whole Foods Whole Wheat flour to around 90% extraction

Autolyse flour and water for 45 minutes

Mix in salt and starter for 20 minutes at KA Speed 1, 20 minutes KA Speed 2

Dough should cohere into a loose ball by end of mix

Do a quick stretch and fold in bowl right after

BF for 3 hours

Stretch and fold in bowl

BF for 30 minutes

Stretch and fold on counter by pulling out in all directions flat (around 2.5 ft diameter)

and then folding into center

BF for 30 minutes

Remove from bowl and preshape into a loose ball

Rest 15 minutes

Shape into a ball by loosely turning corners into the center

Dough is very squashy like a water balloon

Place seam side up into a basket covered with tightly woven well-floured cotton cloth

Proof for 1 hour 40 minutes until dough starts to lose spring

Very gently turn dough onto peel with wheat bran under parchment paper

Slide onto stone

Bake with steam at 450F for 20 minutes, without steam for 35 minutes

Leave in oven for 5 minutes with door closed and heat off to finish

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful looking bread Varda...I like how your scoring turned out and your crumb looks excellent.

All of these posts with fresh milled wheat is going to force me to break down and buy a mill attachment for my Bosche!

varda's picture
varda

Hi Ian,  I am sifting using a regular hand held sieve, but not milling.    I hope to get to that at some point, but not there yet.   Thanks so much for commenting.   -Varda

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

varda's picture
varda

Even though I didn't catch miche fever when you first started posting about it, it finally caught up with me.      -Varda

sweetbird's picture
sweetbird

This is one that I think I can imagine the taste of just from your pictures. It looks very much like some whole wheat sourdoughs that I've made and loved the flavor of. I'll try your formula one of these days!

Janie

varda's picture
varda

Thanks Janie,   Hope you try it and enjoy it!  -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

The great glossy crumb, Varda! :)    I really love the idea of adding a little amount of rye in the starter. I often do that myself, too,  and find it adds extra depth and subtle complexity to the resultant bread.

A large miche....... Another thing I've been meaning to challenge one day but too nervous to try...... 

One question, please.  What's the difference between whole rye and dark rye?  Isn't dark rye wholemeal rye?

varda's picture
varda

Difference between whole and dark rye?   I had to look it up because I forgot.   From Hamelman:   "Dark Rye is the flour milled from the periphery of the grain, similar to the clear flour produced during the milling of wheat.   It tends to be coarse and sandy, to absorb a lot of water, and in general is difficult to work with."    As you can see, I only used a bit of it in the starter which I tend to use either dark rye or whole rye, usually just depending on what I have on hand.   Miche does not seem to be a precise term, but I wanted to make a large, wet bread with high extraction flour, so there you have it.   Thanks so much for commenting.  -Varda

Kamuflirt's picture
Kamuflirt

Will try it :-)

varda's picture
varda

Let me know how it goes.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Varda, it looks absolutely lovely! Given the hydration, your dough handling and scoring was superb.

Looking at the picture , I noticed that the bottom recieved less heat as opposed to the top of your loaf. This can lead to premature crust formation and thus the lack of proper oven spring. Onwhich rack level do you place your stone? Your description of the dough feel makes me think about the potential for greater oven spring your dough may have had, if not for the excessive top heat early on.

Just my thoughts,

varda's picture
varda

Hi Khalid,   I tend to think this loaf did get good oven spring, but a wide low profile which is typical of such a high hydration bread which likes to spread out instead of up.   However, I see what you are talking about with the top crust.    I put the bread on the middle rack on top of a stone which is what I always do.   I had a large steam pan underneath with three preheated towels in it which throws off a lot of steam.   Recently I changed orientation based on discussion with David S so that stone was to the left of the oven, and steam pan was on rack below to the right.   I'm not sure if any of that explains the more charred top crust.   I did bake this bread for an hour because it is so large, and that's the only way that you can get the middle done.   Now that I'm thinking about it, I probably should have turned the heat down halfway in to avoid charring the top crust.   I must say though that the extra baking of the top crust tastes really good.   Thanks so much for your comments.   -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

Nice baking Varda.  83%. That is a high hydration dough.  I don't think I have made anything except, perhaps, for ciabatta with such a high hydration. Kudos to you for your shaping and scoring.  

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Hi Syd,   I think I forgot to turn my water meter down when I went back to wheat from rye.    My last Boroschmadinsky was 94% hydration.    Of course I shaped that one with a spoon and a spatula.    Somehow the high hydration for this bread just seemed like the right thing to me but I'm not sure I could justify it in any logical way given what a pain in the neck it was to work with.    Thanks so much for your comments, as always.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

That crumb shot is spectacular!  Deep, dark thik crust, glossy and  airy crumb with little brown specks and over 80% hydration.  This bread has to taste great.  Just about as good as it gets if you forget about WFO's :-) 

I'm down to 1 SD starter now (+ 1 YW) .  I mixed my ancient one with my 3 month old one.   Now it is kept at 33% whole rye, 33% WW and 33% AP and build to what ever is next on the bake list.   Building buckwheat today.  Rye and WW in the starter make for better tasting bread in my book.

I did find some dark rye, so will give this a go too.  It is too good looking to pass up .  Might take it doen to 80% hydration though :-)

Love the smile.  Will try it on sweetbird's buckwheat, apple cider bread today.

varda's picture
varda

I had just run out of whole rye and so used a bit of dark rye for some previous starter feed.   I'm absurdly obsessive about keeping track of what's in my starter and if you see, I compute exactly one gram of dark rye in the whole 3 pound loaf.    Most people don't bother keeping track of this level of detail, but I have my spreadsheet and I'm sticking to it.    If you want more details about how I do this, let me know.    I was very happy with this bread because of the taste, the taste, the taste, which is the one thing we can't all share with each other.   I do not particularly recommend making this bread early on in your baking career.   It is just too difficult.   But I know that won't slow you down, so make away.   -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I made my starter and first SD bread when I lived in SF in 1973.  But you are still right, I am still early in my baking career - not even half way and expect to be baking at least another 40 years - on my 100th birthday.  This recipe seems easier than sweetbird's buckwheat recipe that butchered today :-)  I'm with you on the taste.  My father in law used to say about resturants - 'you can't eat the atmosphere!'  Same thing about bread - Taste is the most important thing.

varda's picture
varda

Sorry DA.   I guess since you just showed up here, I made assumptions.  Here's to 40 years more baking!  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Only have one bread book - The Complete Book of Bread by Bernard Clayton 1973.  Used it to make my starter and I made quite a few breads out of the book but, without any pictures, who knew what they should have looked like:-)  A title like that and you don't need any more books on bread either .  For years I concentrated on cooking and made bread occasionally nothing special.  After retiring I got into baking because there was more time, loved deserts and bread.

Developed my multi-grain challah made into loaves for sandwiches because we love multi-grain everything here.  I always thought the yellow color was due to the egg, so did my wife,  but found out it was the saffron instead.   Also acquired an affinity for rye since I distributed Rubschlager Bread for nearly 20 years - a fine bakery in Chicago - and brought their various 100 % rye breads home all the time as samples to taste - and got hooked.

Was looking around the Internet for a rye bread recipe and bumped into this site about 4 months ago.   Best thing that ever happened.  Found out there was 99% of bread out here that I was totally ignorant about and wasn't in my complete bread book.

Now because of TFL crowd, after converting to S &F's, long retardation of levain and fermention and changing some ingredients my old SD multi-grain challah is top notch and so much better with the right techniques - no matter how it is shaped or what technique is used to bake it.   Have made overt 25 new SD breads of all kinds (Pulgiesi Capriosso more than once), using all kinds of bread baking methodologies, started yeast water for heaven' s sake and made 6 breads from it plus they were so much fun and all were delicious even when shaped poorly and nearly always slashed with challenges galore.    I really need a lame and practice.  Baggies must be near :-)

I'll be doing rye breads for awhile though, with the baggies, so Prazel's Tzitsel is on the list, with Borodinski, Andy / Phils, and other bakers many rye breads too.  I want to make a Pumpernickel better than Rubschlager some day.  Finding the flour is difficult sbut the Pumperberries are impossible to find, but I will keep looking :-).  I might have to call on some old co-workers for help.

Happy Baking Varda!

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

That really looks like a loaf that could keep a person happy for a week.  I'm adding that formula to my to-do list for sure.  83% hydration - like mud wrestling with Jabba the Hut I bet.  But wow, if I can ever bake a loaf like that, well, it'll be a miracle.

I have to ask though:  40 minutes in the mixer?  Is that normal?  I don't use/have a mixer so I'm not familiar, but wow that seems like a lot, esp when so many protocols I see (e.g., Tartine) call for such minimal mixing and warn about over-mixing.  Why so long?

And I had a thought about this sifting work-around to cobble a Hi-E equivalent.  Why not just add wheat germ to AP or BF?  That would omit the bran of course, but how much flavor does bran contribute anyway?  I recall David Snyder's SFBI miche has some toasated WG in it -- maybe that was the purpose.  I'm thinking about such things now because my local source of the closest thing to Hi-E, Golden Buffalo, has dropped it from the bins -- not enough takers I guess.  :-(

Thanks for posting the formula!

Tom

varda's picture
varda

Hi Tom,  

1.   Why 40 minutes in the mixer?    Because that's how long it took to develop the dough.    Very high hydration dough is harder to develop.    Whole grain and high extraction flour dough is harder to develop.   The last thing I wanted was a gummed up crumb with big sloppy holes in it so I mixed away.     I was conscious of the time, but I was mostly looking to see when I felt the dough came together enough and was strong enough to withstand a bit (not a lot) of stretching.    If I hadn't had a mixer, I would have stretched and folded a lot in the bowl, which for a high hydration dough like this is pretty much equivalent to mixing.    I have a low-end Kitchen Aid mixer and I had it on the first and second speed only, which meant there was no danger of beating up the dough and compromising its quality.    The previous time I tried this bread I went for 45 minutes in the mixer and 3.5 hours of fermentation without any stretch and folds, which I think worked fine.    For some reason even after 3 hours of fermentation, I felt the dough had lost too much of its strength so I did go ahead with 2 stretch and folds to build it up.    I was able to do the second one on the counter which for such a liquid dough means that it had a lot of strength.    I did take breaks during mixing to scrape the dough off the hook.   I wonder if I should have taken actual 5 minute breaks as some have suggested in other threads to let the dough develop by itself. 

2.  Why did I sift to get high ex flour?   Because that is what high ex flour is - whole grain with some of the bran removed.   Adding wheat germ is just a different thing.   Bran does contribute some flavor directly, but it also has an effect on the fermentation which then impacts the flavor even more.  

If you make this please let me know how it goes.     Thanks so much for your comments.

-Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Living and learning:  the higher the hydration, the more exercise the dough needs to develop its gluten.  Roger that.  Does make me wonder how the hell one could make that bread without a mixer and not collapse from the otherwise awesome upper body exercise.  Now that I think of it...could do worse.

Autolyse pauses for both the dough and your poor mixer might have benefitted both.  But I'm the last one to second guess a triumph like that.

And thanks for your thoughts on bran/WG.  I've read that bran tends to abuse the gluten, so less can be better.  Maybe my WG addition 'solution' would have reduced required mixing time.  But then there's the flavor issue. 

And high hydration contributing to its special flavor -- another nugget.

Cheers,

Tom

 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

A beautiful loaf Varda!  Nicely done and well handled.  That first photo makes me want to hold my breath for fear of collapsing the dough even though I know it’s the finished loaf!  You certainly were rewarded for the risk, though.  The crumb alone… great stuff!

Marcus

varda's picture
varda

that first picture as a miche from outer space setting down on earth bringing gifts for humankind, but I guess that's just me.   Thanks so much for your kind words.   -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Well Varda you inspired me with your nice big Miche to spend the better part of a rainy day doing something quite similar. I hope my crumb turns out at least half as nice as what you've achieved with yours but it (and I) are in the limbo period of cool down at this time, so it's hurry up and wait till tomorrow. Lovely baking and writeup Varda!

Cheers,

Franko

 

varda's picture
varda

I hope your miche is delicious.   -Varda