The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


BurntMyFingers's picture

For my second miche taste test I wanted to do two things: compare King Arthur High-Extraction flour against Central Milling Type 85 Malted, and experiment with a smaller loaf after the comment from one of my tasters that the first loaf was "gummy" (though he ended up liking that loaf the best.) Above is a closeup of the result, with the Central Milling loaf on the left.

As you can see, the King Arthur flour has higher ash content which led to a difference in taste that I found distracting (it actually did taste like ash, or chalk, but to a very subtle degree) while others didn't mind it. The crumb turned out great and this 75% formula (producing a loaf that's a bit over 3 lbs vs the 2 Kg full-size miche) is an ideal size for a 5 qt dutch oven if you're using that method.

The complete results of the 2nd miche test are available here: . The first taste test is at and my TFL post about it is at . Thanks for reading... and commenting!


pmccool's picture

I have been on a baking hiatus, of sorts, realizing that the stash of bread in my freezer needed to be reduced.  Having worked through that gradually, I finally got around to baking again the weekend before Labor Day.

What my mouth wanted was something robust, chewy, mildly tangy, and thoroughly wheaty.  And it had to serve as a reliable foundation for sandwiches.  What to do, what to do?  Leader's Local Breads beckoned, and in it I found the Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche, modeled loosely after the Poilane miche.  After checking the metric weight quantities (which are generally less error prone than the others in this book) and deciding that it was safe to proceed, I hauled my starter out of the refrigerator and gave it a couple of good feeds.  It didn't take long for the starter to bounce back to vigorous health, especially with kitchen temperatures just slightly below the 80F mark.  It more than doubled in less than 5 hours!  

For once, I stuck pretty closely to the formula and process.  The one deviation of note was that I dissolved the levain in the water before adding the rest of the final dough ingredients.  Since I mix by hand, I find it easier to do that than to mix the levain into the already-mixed dough as Leader instructs.  Other than making my life easier, I don't see that it makes any real difference in the outcome.  Because of the warmth of my kitchen that day, I did have to trim fermentation times to avoid over-fermenting the levain and the final dough.

The outcome, by the way, was stunning!  A deep, brown-verging-on-black crust, lightly crackled; a firm, moist crumb; a heady aroma redolent of toast with sweet and tangy overtones.  I can't remember a recent bake that I was happier with than this.  And then there is the flavor!  It was everything the fragrance promised, and more.  Roasted nuts and malt, a gentle hint of acidity, a down to earth wheatiness, and other good things that I don't have words for.  The crust, after cooling, was more leathery than crisp but that played well against the moist coolness of the firm crumb.  The crumb texture is rather fine-grained for this style of bread; that comes from the extended kneading that Leader recommends.  Frankly, I didn't knead it as long as he recommends and I might even cut it back to just a couple of minutes of kneading for future bakes, combined with more stretch and folds to build strength.  That would open the crumb somewhat, but not to the point that condiments would be oozing out of sandwiches.

Here's a picture, which doesn't do the bread justice:

Good stuff, even if it is me that says so!

Both our daughters and their families were with us for the Labor Day weekend, which gave me the excuse to do some additional baking.  The tally for the weekend included Portugese Sweet Bread as rolls for barbecue pork sandwiches, sourdough English muffins for one morning's breakfast, and lemon oat scones for another breakfast.  Fun!

Now I need to finish testing the breads that I plan to teach at the Culinary Center of Kansas City, starting in November.  More fun!


isand66's picture

Last weekend I baked some of the best rolls I've made to date using instant yeast instead of my usual sourdough or yeast water.  I didn't have time to refresh my starter which is why I had used the instant yeast.  I wanted to try a similar formula using a combo of sourdough starter and yeast water levain.  I decided to leave out the cream and the eggs for this version since I didn't want the bread to be quite as soft as the rolls even though with the oil, potatoes and polenta the final bread ended up pretty soft anyway.

The final bread tasted great with a nice sour tang but not too overpowering with a slight hint of sweetness from the honey.  The crumb was nice and open and moist and the crust per above was soft.  The dough did spread out more than I would have liked but overall this ended up being a nice tasty loaf.  If I were to make it again, I might reduce the moisture content slightly but other than that this one is a keeper.


I used a combination of my white sourdough starter which I keep at 66% hydration and did a 3 stage build with my fruit flavored yeast water starter.

Yeast Water Starter Build 1

50 grams Bread Flour (KAF)

50 grams Yeast Water Starter

Mix the flour and Yeast Water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 4 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed to build 2.

Build 2

Add ingredients below to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

100 grams Bread Flour

100 grams Yeast Water

Build 3

Add flour to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until bubbly and either use immediately or put in the refrigerator for the next day.

75 grams Bread Flour

Main Dough Ingredients

170 grams Refreshed AP Starter (65% hydration)

255 grams  Yeast Water Starter (you may have some extra from above)

400 grams Bread Flour (KAF)

100 grams Spelt Flour

160 grams Mashed Potatoes (I like to mash them with the skins on and used red potatoes)

50 grams Olive Oil

180 grams Cooked Polenta (I used some butter and parmesan cheese in mine)

16 grams Salt (Sea Salt or Table Salt)

40 grams Honey

397 grams Water (80 to 90 degrees F.)


Mix the starters with the water and stir to break it up and make sure to hold back about 50 grams of water.  Next mix in the flours into the starter mixture and mix for 2 minutes with your mixer or by hand.    Let the dough autolyse for 30 minutes to an hour in your bowl covered with a cloth or plastic wrap.  Next add in the salt, mashed potatoes, polenta and oil and mix on speed #1 for 3 minutes and #2 for 2 minutes or by hand.  This dough is very wet but it should start to come together after mixing but will still be very wet.

Next take the dough out of the bowl and place it on your work surface.  Do a stretch and fold and rest the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl after the rest and do another stretch and fold and cover the dough in the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Do one more stretch and fold and put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit at room temperature covered for 2 hours.  (If the dough is still too lose, you can do several more stretch and folds until you are ready to put in the refrigerator). After 2 hours you can put the dough into the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to 2 days before baking.

The next day (or when ready to bake) let the dough sit out at room temperature for 2 hours.  After 2 hours form the dough into your desired shape and put them in floured bannetons, bowls or on a baking sheet and let them rise covered for 2 hours.

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 30 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees. (I made a large Miche so I ended up lowering the temperature half way through to 435 degrees).  It should take around 20 - 30 minutes to bake  until both loaves are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 210 degrees F.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an hour or so before eating as desired.

Crumb Close-up
Boris the Guardian of the Sandman Residence. Natasha keeps watch in the back of our house.


isand66's picture

Last Friday I finally returned from my latest trip to China and was eager to try my hand at a rye bread after reading about some interesting ones on The Fresh Loaf.  I wanted to make one utilizing a Yeast Water starter per my baking friend DA Brownman who recently baked a master piece using a combination of a Yeast Water starter and traditional SD starter.

Since I have been having some fairly successful bakes using coffee in place of the water in my multi-grain bakes I decided to try again and used a simple dark roast coffee for the soaker and for the final dough.  I made a soaker using rye berries and cracked wheat.  I mixed the hot coffee with the dry ingredients and let sit for 24 hours covered at room temperature.

For the Yeast Water starter I wanted to develop a Pumpernickel starter so I built up the starter in 3 stages.  The first stage was left for 4 hours at room temperature and the second stage was left overnight for about 8 hours at room temperature.  The final build was left for around 5 hours at room temperature.  I tried to make exactly 425 grams of starter, but be sure to weigh your final starter and adjust as needed.

Make sure you drain the grains from the soaker, but be aware that they will absorb a great deal of the liquid.  Even though the hydration of this dough is only 70%, it is really much higher when you take the soaker into consideration.


485 grams Hot Coffee

100 grams Cracked Wheat

150 grams Malted Rye Berries

Mix coffee in a bowl with other ingredients and let sit covered at room temperature for 24 hours.

Yeast Water Starter Build 1

60 grams Yeast Water

60 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Mix ingredients in a bowl and cover.  Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until you see some activity and your starter is almost doubled.

Yeast Water Starter Build 2

100 grams Yeast Water

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Mix above into starter from Step 1 and let sit covered for 8-10 hours or until the starter has almost doubled.

Yeast Water Starter Build 3

15 grams Yeast Water

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Mix above into starter from Step 2 and let sit covered for 4-5 hours or until starter has almost doubled.  You can also put in the refrigerator and leave for up to 1 day if necessary until you are ready to bake.

Main Dough


425 grams Starter from above

150 grams Graham Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)

200 grams White Rye Flour

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour or Dark Rye Flour (I used KAF)

70 grams Roasted Wheat Germ (adds a nice nutty flavor)

370 grams Dark Roast Coffee (90 degrees F.)

14 grams Sea Salt (or table salt)

10 grams Walnut Oil (substitute any oil desired)


I mixed  the flours together with all the coffee except for 50 grams and let them autolyes for 30 minutes.   I then added the Yeast Water Pumpernickel levain, oil and the soaker and the rest of the coffee with the salt and mixed on speed #1 for 1 minute and #2 for 4 minutes.  I then did a stretch and fold, rested the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  Note that since this dough was extremely sticky it was not very easy to do a stretch and fold.   I then did another stretch and fold, covered the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  I did one more stretch and fold and put it in a lightly oiled bowl for 2 hours.  I then put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day I let the dough sit out at room temperature for 2 hours.  I had planned to make 2 boules but since this dough was so moist and did not come together like a bread made with white flour I decided to form it into a large Miche.  Alternatively I could have formed it into loaves and baked in a bread or Pullman pan.

Cover the dough in your pans or basket and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until you notice some lift to the dough and it can pass the poke test.

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

I then baked on my oven stone with steam at 450 degrees until the loaf was golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 210 degrees F.

I had to bake this bread for almost 50 minutes since it was so moist and the final dough came out with an excellent crust and moist crumb but a little denser than I would have preferred.  It is an excellent bread for some sharp cheese and/or a nice grilled cheese sandwich.

This bread has been submitted to Yeast Spotting here at

isand66's picture

I love everything and anything that has pecans in it.  While I was at a local market called Wild by Nature which is similar to Whole Foods I stumbled on some pecan butter, and a couple of new grains I have not seen before.

These were Millet and Amaranth which you can find out more information at this neat website I found:

I made a soaker with the Millet, Amaranth and some Rolled Oats and let it sit for about 1 hour.

I wanted to get a nice tender crumb so I used som 00 Italian style low protein flour and added some White Whole Wheat, White Rye, Wheat Germ and to make it even more nutty, I added some Hazelnut flour.  Oh, and I added some chopped pecans to round off the final bread.  If you don't like pecans feel free to substitute your favorite nut.

This dough ended up very moist especially due to the added water absorbed in the soaker but ended up rising very nicely in the refrigerator and ended up with some nice oven spring as well.

I decided to try one of my new baskets I found at Good Will so I formed the dough into 1 nice size Miche with the final bread weighing in at 3.5 lbs.  The bread ended up with a nice crunchy crust and open crumb.  The pecan flavor is not overwhelming and combined with all the other ingredients this bread has  nice mulit-grain, nutty flavor as expected.


For the starter, I refreshed my standard AP white starter the night before and used most of it in this bake.  I have also included the ingredients to make the exact amount of starter needed from your seed starter.  Mine is kept at 65% hydration so adjust yours accordingly.


100 grams Amaranth

100 grams Millet

50 grams Rolled Oats

276 grams Boiling Water

Mix boiling water in a bowl with other ingredients and let sit covered at room temperature for 1 hour or longer.


71 grams Seed (Mine is 65% AP Flour Starter)

227 grams AP Flour

151 grams Water (85 - 90 degrees F.)

Mix seed with water to break up for a few seconds and then mix in flour until the starter form a smooth dough consistency.  Put it in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover and leave at room temperature for at least 10 hours.  The starter should double in volume.  Put the starter in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days or use it immediately.

Main Dough


425 grams Starter from above (all of the starter)

250 grams Soaker (all of soaker from above)

250 grams 00 Italian Style Flour (KAF)  (You can use AP Flour if you don't have 00)

100 grams White Whole Wheat Flour (KAF)

50 grams White Rye (KAF)

30 grams Wheat Germ

50 grams Hazelnut Flour

26 grams Pecan Butter

53 grams Chopped Pecans

400 grams Water (85 - 90 degrees F.)

18 grams Sea Salt (or table salt)


Mix 350 grams of the water with the levain and break it up with your hands or a spoon.    Next add the flours and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Let the dough rest for 25 minutes and then add the soaker, levain, pecan butter, remainder of water and the salt and mix on low for 4 minutes.  Add the chopped nuts and mix on low for 1 additional minute.  Transfer the dough to your work surface.  Resist the urge to add too much bench flour (I didn't add any) and use a bench scraper to do about 5-6 stretch and folds.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled container/bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it sit for another 15-20 minutes.  Do this 2 additional times waiting about 15 minutes between S&F's.  By the last S&F the dough should start developing some gluten strength.  Let the dough sit out at room temperature for around 1.5 to 2 hours.  Do one last stretch and fold and put in your refrigerator overnight for 12-36 hours.

The next day take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit out at room temperature for 1.5 hours.  After 1.5 hours you can form it into loaves and put them in floured bannetons and let them rise covered for 2 hours (note: make sure to watch the dough and depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the refrigerator adjust your timing as needed).

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.  I use a heavy-duty baking sheet on the bottom rung of my oven and I pour 1 cup of boiling water into the pan as soon as I load the loaves in the oven.  Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. before placing the loaves in the oven.

Once the loaves are loaded onto your baking stone and you add your steam turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake until both loaves are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 200 - 210 degrees F.  For an extra crispy crust once done baking turn the oven off and crack the door and leave the loaves in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Once done place on a wire cooling rack and resist the temptation to cut the bread until they are sufficiently cooled.

For some of my older posts you can search TFL site or visit my other blog at

Balloon Flowers

Berti's picture

How long to bake a 3 lb miche?

May 30, 2012 - 6:34am -- Berti

because of a "mishap" when baking my usual pain au levain, I ended up with a lot of dough making two 3 lb miches.

when baking early morning I accidentally (wasn't awake enough yet) underbaked them at 45 mins 450F/230 C.

when I discovered the problem I reheated the oven and baked them additional 20 minutes.

what baking time would you recommend otherwise? I will aim for 70/80 mins next time.

now they are out of the oven, center  temp was 200F/100C, have started crackling right away when cooling (the sound of crust, to speak with peter reinhart!)

davidg618's picture

Because of competing, food related commitments I chose to merely replace my refrigerated starter this weekend, in lieu of both replacing and baking. However, returning home from the home brewing club meeting last night, and having replaced my saved starter, I had some good looking ripe levain left over. Reluctant to throw it out, I refreshed it, and went to bed with no clear plan what to bake today, but a head-full of ideas, and yet another competing food chore too. I've planned to smoke some baby-back ribs, turkey legs, and pastrami Monday--the meat cure finished yesterday-- which makes Sunday "get-ready" day. First things first, I put the rub on the ribs, began brining the turkey legs, exposed the pastrami cure to air---the smoke adhere better--and prepared its coriander/black pepper rub.

While doing these chores, I decided to bake: A Big Loaf.

I had 500g of 100% hydrated ripe levain, so I made 1750g of 70% hydrated dough, with a mixture of 60% whole wheat flour, 30% bread flour (25% in the levain), and 10% whole rye flour; I baked it all as one Big Loaf.  I don't know if the result qualifies as a miche, but it sure looks like one; and since "miche" translates to simply "loaf", I guess it does.  Sorry, no crumb shot. I'll freeze this behemoth and refresh it for our next neighborhood pot-luck.

David G


madisonbaker26's picture

After a long time being intrigued by artisan bread baking, I finally decided to give it a go.  I think I got it from my father, but I usually dive in head first and think "go big or go home."  

Last weekend, after experimenting a little bit with my sourdough starter I decided to pick up a copy of BBA and start baking...with the Poliane-style miche.  Other than not using the high-extraction flour (did a 50/50 bread + whole wheat mix) I made no modifications and I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.  Of course, you guys are the experts, so please let a newbie know what you think!  Personally, one of the best tasting breads I've had in a while.  3 days after baking and I'm amazed at how the flavor has changed and gotten even more complex! 

Here's a shot of the miche right after shaping it into a boule:

The scoring (just a bought a lame, so hopefully it will improve quite a bit)

Right out of the oven...I think maybe it should be a little darker? The lighting is a little off..probably something to do with my iPhone:

A close-up of the crust and crumb:

Miche cross-section:

I've really only been baking on the weekends, but hopefully I can find a way to work in some bread baking around my weird work schedule during the week so I can post more often.


varda's picture

I have been admiring Andy's breads made with Gilchester flour for some time now - in fact since he posted this, and later this, and most recently this.   But I felt inhibited from trying it, since I didn't see any reasonable way to obtain the flour.   Recently Andy suggested that I might try using Atta flour, perhaps sifted to remove some of the bran.   The idea was to simulate the high extraction, low quality gluten properties of the Gilchester flour.   In fact I now have two different types of Atta in my closet - a 100% whole durum that I have posted on several times, and a more refined durum with some wheat bran added in, that I recently found at a local Indian grocery store (thanks Lynnebiz) both under the Golden Temple label.   I decided that rather than sift, I would just try the refined durum with added bran.    I proceeded exactly according to the instructions here with a couple intentional changes.   First the Atta flour rather than the Gilchester flour.   Second King Arthur AP rather than Carr's Special CC flour.   And one unintentional.   I autolyzed with starter rather than without.   I am so used to doing that that I didn't even check the instructions until it was too late.   Other than that I did the three starter feedings the day before, and left on counter overnight.   I did the first mix (before adding salt) in my Kitchen Aid, but did the rest of the mixing by hand very gently.    I also felt that more stretch and folding was necessary, so I did one more than the one that Andy directed.   And I baked in my WFO for around an hour.   I had a very hard time getting the oven up to temperature today since it has been extremely wet out, and no sooner was it up to temp when it started dropping off.   So while initial temperature was around right (600degF) by thirty minutes in it had dropped to around 380.  But fortunately crust had browned already and loaf had expanded.  

This is quite a large loaf - over a foot in diameter.   I had to score with my long bread knife - this dough is pretty wet, and a short blade would have caught in the dough.   We had this for dinner tonight - one slice was enough to cut in half for a chicken salad sandwich.   The taste is very mild given the high percentage of durum - that wouldn't have been the case if I had used the whole durum - but with very pleasant flavor.    Here is the crumb:

Reasonably even, but with mouse holes, which I've gotten every time I've used this flour.  

So in sum, I wish I had some Gilchester flour for this, but I think Andy's formula adapts well to this version of Atta and I'm glad I tried it. 


PiPs's picture

We cut the miche today, three days after baking...and after a lazy Saturday lunch sent my parents home with half.

This miche was made on the fly...with these thought processes.

Total dough weight: 1.8kgs
Hydration: 82% (Freshly milled flour is thirsty...did not seem this hydrated)
Prefermented Flour: 25%
DDT: 24°C

Whole wheat Levain @ 60% Hydration: 400g
Wheat Flour Freshly milled and Sifted: 517g
Spelt freshly milled: 122g
Rye freshly milled: 100g
Water: 661g
Salt: 20g


Cool grains from fridge milled before being mixed with cool water. Autolyse 1hr

Knead (slap and fold) 20mins with 5 min break in the middle.

Bulk ferment for 2hrs with two stretch and folds in the first hour at 30min intervals as dough needed some strength.

Preshape and bench rest 20 min before gentle shaping into boule. Shaped dough placed into mixing bowl with floured teatowel.

Final proof was in fridge as the miche had to wait for oven. I judged that the size of the loaf would take a while to cool and the proof would be complete in the fridge as the dough was pretty lively...was a good guess.

Baked under SS bowl at 250°C for 20mins then 40mins at 200°C

Really enjoy working with dough this size and was happy with the spring the oven achieved....the rye flour adds a touch of tang and earth. A bread of this size sure gets noticed.

One of my parents dogs, Mr Hermann spent some time cleaning crumbs off the floor.....





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