The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Miche Point a Calliere

dmsnyder's picture

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière

I haven't made this one in a while. It is still a favorite. I made it with Central Milling's "Type 85 Organic, unmalted" flour. I retarded the firm levain overnight, but the bread was baked on the same day the final dough was mixed.

Episodic supervision and taste testing were provided by granddaughter, Naomi.

Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere, crumb

Tasting notes

Crunchy-chewy crust. Chewy crumb. Sweet, nutty, wheaty flavors with moderate sourdough tang, tasted 18 hours after baking. Naomi, who doesn't eat the crust on bakery bread, 1. Asked for a second slice. 2. Finished both slices to the last crumb and said the crust was her favorite part. 


Happy baker/grandfather

Franko's picture


Late in 2010 I posted on a bake of James MacGuire's Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere from Jefferey Hamelman's "Bread" *here* This is a bread I've been meaning to do a re-bake of for some time now, but for one reason or another hadn't gotten around to it until yesterday. Varda's recent post of her lovely high hydration Miche *here*, and that my flour stock includes some Central Milling Organic Type 85 Malted high extraction flour gave me the inspiration to finally have another go at this wonderful bread. The CM high extraction flour came to me because of breadsong's generosity in sharing some of what she picked up last year while in the Bay Area. Thanks again breadsong!

A miche size loaf isn't a terribly practical bread for me to make considering I'm the only one in our house other than our dog who eats wheat, and anything over a 1.2K loaf size is more than I can reasonably eat over a 7-10 day period. Practical or not, I decided to make it in the size it was intended to be and give enough away to friends and relatives that none of it would be wasted. Now that I've had a chance to taste it I'm seriously reconsidering that strategy. 

Having made this bread previously with good results I didn't see any reason to alter any of the formula percentages or procedures other than a minor change to the initial oven setting of 440F by increasing it to 460F in order to compensate for the temperature recovery time of a domestic oven ( or at least our particular oven) with a large dough like this. The dough was scaled to yield 2K, which by the time it went for bulk proofing was just around 70 grams less than that due to waste from stickage. At 82 % hydration this is indeed a sticky one at first, but it does become quite manageable after it's 1st of 3 stretch and folds, and as the author mentions, liberal dusting flour is needed during this part of the procedure. By the time it was ready for final molding the dough was soft and supple but with enough strength to easily shape it into a boule for it's final rise in a floured banneton. Because I'd managed to keep the DDT, bulk and final fermentation temps within 1 degree +/- of the recommended 76F, the final proof was almost bang on at the prescribed 2 hours, always a good sign.

The last time I baked this bread I used Sylvia's wet towel method for steaming, but this time I was concerned that too much steam with this very soft dough might hinder good crust development. The dough was quite a bit slacker than I recall the previous one being, and after a brief debate with myself I decided I'd be better off just spraying the oven before and after loading and let the moisture of the dough do the rest. Whether my thinking was entirely correct on this or not I can't say for sure, since the loaf did in the end develop a satisfactory crust, however I do think it's time I invested in a second stone to put in the rack above the loaf for more even top heat.

The low profile shape of the loaf is fairly close to the one pictured in "Bread", but the crumb doesn't have the "large interior air holes" Hamelman refers to in his side notes, at least I haven't encountered any yet. The crumb is moist and chewy with a pleasantly mild wheat flavour and just a trace of sour at this point. I'd be quite happy with the flavour if it remained the way it is, but I know from the last loaf that it will become stronger over the next few days, which is fine with me as well so long as it remains fairly moist.

A very tasty lunch today of home made country pate, sharp cheddar, pickles, with Maui onion mustard and thick slices of the miche.



Franko's picture


The Last Loaf of 2010

Earlier this month I made a trip down to Cowichan Bay to visit True Grain Bakery and to pick up 30K of Red Fife flour that I'd ordered for breadsong a fellow B.C. Resident and TFL member, and myself. Cowichan Bay is a small, rustic seaside village with a fair number of various shops and restaurants lining the sea side of the main drag, and is a popular tourist stop here on Vancouver Island.  The bakery itself has a funky eclectic look to it that is totally in keeping with the general ambiance of the village, with lots of bric a brac and paraphernalia decorating the walls. The staff were all very helpful and friendly, greeting me almost as soon as I walked through the door. When I told them I was there to pick up some flour that I'd ordered, the miller himself came out from the adjacent mill room with our flour and thanked me for the order, and asked if there was anything else he could help me with. Two weeks earlier I'd sampled some of their fabulous Christmas cake at one of our local craft fairs so I asked him to put one of those on the bill as well. After I'd settled the bill I asked if I could take a few pictures of the shop while I was there. He told me that'd be fine and allowed me access to the mill room so I could get a few shots of the mill setup.  I took a few photos of the bread display as well, but by now the small shop was filling up with customers, making it difficult to get any decent closeups of the breads. I can tell you that from what I saw of the breads it's all very good looking product, obviously made with a lot of skill and attention to detail. 

I'm looking forward to my next visit to True Grain,which will probably be in early Spring 2011, depending on how quickly breadsong and I go through our flour. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pics of the production area and the ovens at that time.


When breadsong and I were messaging each other to set up the arrangements for shipping and payment for the flour, she raised the question of whether the 75% sifted RF that we ordered would be considered a high extraction flour. At the time I wasn't entirely sure as I've never had occasion to use it either on the job or at home. After a quick search I found that high extraction flour lies between 75% and 100% . The best information I found was on Joe Sloan's 'Hamelman Challenge' Blog where he explains what high extraction flour is exactly and provides a conversion formula so that you can blend your own.

I've also noticed since then that Hamelman provides a description and formula as well in his side notes to the Miche recipe.

I sent breadsong the link and she ran the numbers through her Exel spreadsheet and sent me the results the next day. Darn good teamwork I thought.


Now that I had the information I needed I was finally ready to make a bread from Hamelman's book that I've wanted to make for a long time which is the Miche, Point a Calliere. This mix being a first run of the formula, I stuck as closely to Hamelman's recipe and instructions as possible, the major exception being that I built the levain over a 3 day feeding rather than 2 as the recipe calls for. One thing I've noticed since using the Red Fife is that it doesn't take quite as much water as regular bread flour to get a nice supple dough that's easy to work. In this mix however I stayed with the indicated overall hydration and made some minor flour adjustments during the second phase of the mix to achieve a very soft but cohesive dough that could be further developed through the fermentation and folding to follow. In total, I did a stretch and fold 4x over the course of a 2 ½ bulk fermentation,which gave it enough strength to hold a low profile shape after molding. The final proof was just a little over 2 ½ hrs and the dough weight before baking was 1.654kg /3.6 lbs and 1.371/ 3.0lbs after baking, a difference of just over 17%. The oven was steamed using Sylvia's method, and baked on the stone for 20 minutes @ 440 before removing the steam tray and rotating the loaf. Then another 30 min. @ 420 and 15 more minutes with the heat off and the door slightly open. Big loaf, long bake. I left the loaf wrapped in linen for 20hrs before I took the first slice just to let it settle and for the flavours to ripen. This bread is definitely not lacking in the flavour department, with a good sour tang, but the rich wheat taste of the Red Fife predominating overall. The crumb is chewy with some semi large holes and the crust is nice and crackly. This is one of those breads that doesn't need anything else with it to fully enjoy, but a slice of cheese or sausage, maybe a bowl of soup and a glass of red wine wouldn't take anything away from it either. Hmm, I think I just came up with what I'm having for a light dinner tonight. Some crumb and crust photos below.

Hope everyone at TFL has a Happy New Year, and all the best for 2011!




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