The Fresh Loaf

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread” is one of my favorite breads. I've made it a great many times. But I have a confession to make: I've never made it with the proper hydration level.


It started out by my finding one of the very rare errors in this marvelous book. Hamelman's ingredient list in the “Home” version of the Final Dough calls for “1 lb., 6.4 oz (2 ¼ cups)” of water. Now, 2 ¼ cups of water weighs less than this. I initially assumed the volume measurement was correct, and I used 1 lb., 2 oz. of water. You know, this made an outstanding bread. It did have more oven spring and a higher profile than expected, but the crumb was nice and open with large holes, and it tasted great, so I kept using my “corrected” formula.


Now, “Bread” has been such a reliable book, I always doubted my solution. Finally, I compared the ingredient quantities in the 3 listings Hamelman gives with the baker's percentages he gives. It turns out that the error was really in the volume measurement, not the weight. The home recipe should call for 2 ¾ cups of water, which is 1 lb., 6.4 oz.


So, today, for the first time, I made the Miche at the 82% hydration called for in Hamelman's formula.


At the higher hydration level, this dough is not just slack. It is truly gloppy. Hamelman says to mix it 2 to 2 ½ minutes (in a professional spiral mixer) to get “moderate gluten development.” I mixed it in a Bosch Universal Plus for 17 minutes to get something less than “moderate” gluten development. Hamelman then calls for 2 or 3 folds during a 2 ½ hour bulk fermentation. I implemented the “stretch and fold in the bowl” approach and did 30 folds at 30 minute intervals over 2 hours, then I let the dough proof for another 45 minutes. (This is much like the method McGuire uses in his “Pain de Tradition,” as Shiao-Ping has shared with us. Since the Miche, Pointe-à-Callière is also a McGuire bread, according to Hamelman, using this method seemed entirely reasonable.)


I “shaped” the miche by dumping the dough onto a heavily floured board and folding the edges to the center. I made 6-8 folds. The loaf was then transferred to a linen-lined, floured banneton and proofed for 2 hours and baked with steam.



 


I am cooling the miche overnight before slicing. 



Miche profile


This miche still has a higher profile than those pictured in Hamelman.



Miche crumb


The crumb is about right, but, interestingly, I've gotten more open crumbs on previous bakes using somewhat lower hydration. My hunch is that the difference is related to how I did the bulk fermentation.


David


 

wally's picture

My Excellent Adventure at King Arthur Flour

July 27, 2009 - 3:00pm -- wally

In response to a prior post where I mentioned my recent experience at King Arthur Flour, David (dmsynder) kindly suggested a fuller account of the class, and was even kind enough (at my urging) to provide a list of topics I should include. I've attempted in what follows to touch on all of them, if in revised (and perhaps stream-of-consciousness) order.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


Even before the recent crop of beautiful breads made with James McGuire's “Pain de Tradition” formula, I had been planning to bake the “Miche, Point-à-Callière” from Hamelman's “Bread” this weekend. Hamelman attributes this bread to McGuire, whose intention was to replicate the type of bread baked by the first French settlers of what ultimately became Montreal. The name of the bread, “Pointe-à-Callière,” was the name of their first settlement.



Miche, Pointe-à-Callière


The other, more well-known, bread meant to approximate French bread of that era is Pain Poilâne. Hamelman's formula is for a 82% hydration Miche (very large boule) made with high-extraction flour. It is a pain au levain with no added yeast. The principal difference between McGuire's and Poilâne's miches is the higher hydration of McGuire's. Actually, I make this bread with 2 oz less water than Hamelman calls for, which makes it a 76% hydration dough.


I have made this bread with first clear flour, Golden Buffalo Flour (a high-extraction flour from Heartland Mills) and with a mix of bread flour and whole wheat. Personally, I prefer the results with first clear flour over the others.


 


Overall Formula

 

 

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

2 lbs

100.00%

Water

1 lb, 8.2 oz

76.00%

Salt

0.6 oz

1.80%

Total

3 lb, 8.8 oz

177.80%

 

Levain Build

 

 

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

6.4 oz

100.00%

Water

3.8 oz

60.00%

Mature culture (stiff)

1.3 oz (3 T)

20.00%

Total

11.5 oz

 

 

Final Dough

 

 

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

1 lb, 9.6 oz

 

Water

1 lb, 4.4 oz

 

Salt

0.6 oz

 

Levain

10.2 oz (all less 3 T)

Total

3 lb, 8.8 oz

 

 

Procedure

  1. Make the levain about 12 hours before you want to mix the dough. Dissolve the mature culture in the water, then mix in the flour. Cover tightly and ferment at room temperature. (I let the levain ripen at room temperature for about 10 hours overnight. I then refrigerated it for another 6 hours. This was a matter of my convenience. It probably did increase the sourness of the final dough, which happens to be fine with me.)

  2. To make the dough, mix the flour and water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one that can handle this much dough. Cover and let stand for an autolyse of 20-60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the dough, add the levain in chunks and mix thoroughly. Hamelman says to mix the dough at second speed for 2 to 2 ½ minutes to get a loose dough with only moderate gluten development. This time would be for a professional spiral mixer, of course. DDT is 76F. (I mixed the dough in a Bosch Universal Plus. It took about 4 ½ minutes to get what I regarded as “moderate gluten development.” I think one could easily use the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique with this bread and achieve equally good results, if not better.)

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, large bowl, cover tightly and allow to ferment for 2 ½ hours. Fold the dough twice at 50 minute intervals. If the gluten development was less than “moderate” after mixing, a third fold may be needed. If so, do the three folds at 40 minute intervals.

  4. After fermentation, transfer the dough to a floured board and lightly pre-shape into a round. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes, then gently round up the dough and transfer it to a well-floured banneton. Cover with a slightly damp towel or with plasti-crap. (The miche could be proofed on a well-floured linen couche, in principle. I have never attempted to transfer a slack dough loaf of this size from a couche to a peel. I imagine the results would be … amusing.)

  5. While the bread is proofing, pre-heat the oven to 500F and set up your steaming method of choice. (Hamelman calls for heating the oven to 440F.)

  6. After steaming the oven and loading the bread, turn the oven down to 440F. After 15 minutes, remove the steam source and turn down the oven to 420F. Hamelman says the total bake time is “about 60 minutes.” You can leave the miche in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes after the bread is done. This will dry out the crust somewhat, but this is a very wet bread, and the crust will soften.

  7. Cool thoroughly on a rack. Hamelman prescribes covering the cooled miche with baker's linen and delaying slicing for at least 12 hours. (I think I actually did forgo slicing it for 12 hours once. It is an excellent idea, but I am weak.)

Miche Crumb

Miche crumb close-up

The flavor of this bread, like Poilâne's Miche, definitely improves over 1 to 3 days. I personally like the flavor best the day after it was baked. Of course, the next day is also pretty terrific, and the next … Hamelman says that the bread gets more sour and the “wheat flavor intensifies” over several days. My experience has been that the sourness does increase. I would describe the change in flavor as “mellowing” rather than intensifying. I think that is the same as what Hamelman describes as “the flavors melding.”

This bread has excellent keeping quality. Kept in a bread bag or bread box, it is very enjoyable for a week. It also freezes well. I usually cut it in quarters to freeze, wrap each quarter in 2 layers of freezer wrap and place them in food-safe plastic freezer bags.

Enjoy!

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

SulaBlue's picture

Dr. Evil Bread!

April 1, 2009 - 1:01pm -- SulaBlue

After going to breadtopia.com I decided to try the Poilane-style miche. I was amazed at how easy it was! Unfortunately the crust went from 'done' to 'oops' in the last couple of minutes that the inside was finishing. I probably should have put the lid back on as it got a bit more toasty especially on the ears. BUT, I shall focus on the good qualities!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I haven't blogged about this bread for a while. We have lots of new members, and they should be aware of this wonderful bread. The recipe is in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread." Like Poilâne's Miche, it is an attempt to replicate the bread of the common folk in the 17th and 18th century in France and Quebec. A "Miche" is a very large boule. This recipe makes 3.6 lbs of dough.


This is a pain au levain made with 100% high extraction flour. I used the first clear flour that Norm got in December and shared with some of us. This flour is more finely milled than KAF's First Clear. It is slightly gray in color and acts like a high-gluten flour.


This dough is higher in hydration than Reinhart's Miche in BBA. It is quite slack. It makes a very moist and open crumb. The taste is wonderful and gets better for several days after baking. The bread stays moist for nearly a week. 



Miche, Pointe-à-Callière





Miche, Pointe-à-Callière Crumb


David

gaaarp's picture

Weekend Bake - Anadama Bread and Poilane-style Miche

November 30, 2008 - 8:16pm -- gaaarp

This weekend I baked Reinhart's Anadama Bread and the Poilane-style Miche featured on the cover of BBA.  Someone mentioned the Anadama recipe in another post, and I remembered making it years ago from a Better Homes recipe.  Needless to say, the BBA recipe is head-and-shoulders above my old one.

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