The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

miche

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

This is a recipe that Kenneth, a long-time poster to rec.food.sourdough, has posted a few times in response to requests. I made it this weekend and can safely say it's delicious. Tangy, but not overpoweringly so, with a smooth crumb that, though not full of big holes, is nevertheless a moderately light bread. It sprung well in the oven. In fact, it reminded me of some of the better Desem breads I've made. The hydration of this loaf is 68%, so one could go higher, I'm sure, and the salt is higher than usual at 2.5%, but the bread did not taste overly salty.

On a side note, I'm beginning to think my quest for holey, super hydrated whole wheat is misguided. The breads are no more tasty, in my experience, and though the crumb is more open, the high hydration has made the loaf flatten out considerably in the oven.

Back on topic. Kenneth, I believe, uses an authentic Poilane starter in his bread (I used Carl's) and emulates the high-extraction flour that Poilane uses through a combination of AP flour and freshly ground whole wheat (the loaf is about 40% white flour). He also uses 30% whole spelt flour, based on this page on Poilane's Web site.

How well does it imitate a true loaf from Poilane? I have no idea. The last time I was in France was 17 years ago when I was a not-so-well-heeled student, and today ... well, I'm not willing to part with the kind of cash it would take to have a loaf delivered to me from across the Atlantic.

All I can say is, it makes a nice loaf of bread. Here's my result:





And here's Kenneth's recipe, or at least, the version of it that I used:

Day 1, 9:30pm 474g Water + 120g starter + 236g coarse whole wheat, ferment at 69F.

Day 2, 7:30am add 65g coarse rye, 254g KA AP flour, 170g wholespelt flour, 20g salt.

Knead fully, then refrigerate 24 hours. Then, form boule, ferment at 69F for 5 hours.

Slash, then bake at 490F for 35 minutes, the first 15 minutes with steam...
Of course, I fiddled with the recipe. First, I didn't knead on Day 2. Instead, I mixed it up and then let it ferment for 2.5 hours. I gave it a fold at 1 hour, 45 minutes and then another 45 minutes. Then, I popped it in the fridge. When I baked it, I did use a preheated oven, stone and steam, but I feel certain that a cold start would do fine as well. I baked at 460.

I'll be making this again ....
JMonkey's picture

Couldn't resist ....

September 17, 2007 - 5:50am -- JMonkey

I'm a whole-wheat kind of guy and usually that's all I make. But at the Fresh Loafer's meet-up, like Floyd, I was really taken by Crumb Bum's miche. And not only me. My wife, Aurora, who is just as big on the whole-wheat kick as I am, said, "Umm, honey? You think you could make that? You know, not all the time, but ... maybe ... THIS WEEK?!"

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Another Miche

Another Miche Crust and Crumb

Another Miche Crust and Oven

This miche is a lower hydration version of Miche(2) blogged a while back. I accidentally mixed in an entire levain that had been made larger than what I had intended in this recipe originally. I wanted to have an inoculation or percentage of fermented flour to total flour of 15%, similar to Hamelman's VT Sourdough, but I ended up with about 22%. I therefore had a problem with excess acid breaking down the gluten, which made the boule hard to shape and ended up making this a slightly denser miche than I've accomplished before. It's still a good chunk of bread. I baked it in my new brick oven from Woodstone. I managed to get the temperature much more reasonable, and came out with a nice crust and avoided the scorching I'd had in the first few attempts with this new oven, as I learned to manage the heat and the steam in a brick oven.

I have some photos of the process and an html spreadsheet, as well as the Excel spreadsheet that includes the recipe and a model to estimate the bulk fermentation and final proof times.

Miche(3) Recipe

Levain

  • 15g 90% hydration white flour storage starter (use any storage starter)
  • 90g Wheat Montana AP (or any other strong white flour)
  • 105g whole spelt
  • 89g Golden Buffalo from Heartland Mills (Use any high extraction wheat flour or substitute white flour here)
  • 145g water

Overnight Soak

  • 81g whole rye
  • 54g whle spelt
  • 108g Wheat Montana Bronze Chief (or other red whole wheat flour)
  • 338g Golden Buffalo from Heartland Mills (or other high extraction red wheat flour)
  • 257g Sifted White Wheat Flour from Homestead Grist Mill (or other high extraction white wheat flour)
  • 680g water
  • 12g malt syrup

Dough

  • Levain from above
  • Soak from above
  • 219g Wheat Montana AP (or other strong white flour)
  • 139g water
  • 26g salt

Mix Levain and Soak

The night before you plan to bake, mix the levain ingredients, knead minimally, and let it rise overnight, preferably until it has somewhat more than doubled but not much more, about 10 hours. You can also mix it earlier in the day, let it rise by double and refrigerate it. Also mix the soak ingredients, knead minimally just to mix the ingredients, the water, and the malt syrup. Refrigerate the soak overnight.

Mix and Knead Dough

Mix the additional white flour and water and knead minimally into a small dough. Spread the soak out like a pizza. Spread the white flour over the soak, roll up, and knead lightly to mix. Spread the dough out again and spread the levain over the dough, roll up, and knead the dough until well mixed. I have used a technique described by Glezer in Artisan Baking that works very well to mix the dough. It involves working down the dough squeezing it and extruding it through the fingers. I repeatedly dampen my hands to avoid too much sticking. Alternately, I work in some folds similar to a kneading technique in Bertinet's video and also described by Glezer in Artisan Baking.

Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

Spread the dough out like a pizza and sprinkle the salt over it. Again, knead to thoroughly mix the salt and to get a soft but not wet dough that is smooth and has some initial gluten development.

Bulk Fermentation

Cover the dough and set aside to rise. Stretch and fold every 30-40 minutes. The total time from mixing the levain in with the dough would be about 3-3.5 hours using my starter. It should somewhat less than double in volume during that time.

Shaping

Shape into a boule and allow it to sit on the counter upright for 10 minutes to allow the seams to seal. Be sure to shape tightly, or you will get large holes or crust separation on the sides or on top. Place upside down in a banneton or a bowl lined with a well dusted cloth. This dough can be sticky, especially if it gets too wet, so beware of sticking couche fabric. Adding about 25% rice flour to the dusting flour may help with this.

Final Proof

The final proof would normally take 2-2.5 hours with my starter. I normally place the whole thing in a ziplog "Big Bag" along with a bowl of warm water to maintain a warm and humid environment for the final proof.

Bake

Turn the loaf onto a peel dusted with semolina or corn meal. Slash as you like. I wasn't paying too much attention to this one, and ended up making a "square" pattern, which is not too attractive in retrospect. I liked a "diamond" pattern I had done previously, which is what this one was supposed to be.

Bake starting at 450F with steam, however you may accomplish that. Drop the temperature in the oven down to 400F, then down to 350F, if necessary, if the crust begins to get too dark. Bake for about 45-70 minutes, depending on your objectives. I did this one for 70 minutes to get a fairly dry crumb and a crisp crust that stays that way. However, sometimes I bake for less time, so I can freeze the bread and then reheat it later. I think it is better reheated or toasted if it hasn't been fully baked at bake time.

Cool

Allow to fully cool.

Results

I'm still very happy with the flavor, which is very similar to miche(2). This time, the lower hydration resulted in a slightly denser crumb, but it is more practical for sandwiches or for toast in the morning. The crust stays crisp with the long bake and lower hydration, which I had trouble with in miche(2). Unfortunately, I think the crumb would have been better and the rise and density better if I had used a lower inoculation, like 15%, and a slightly less ripe levain. That will be the adjustment for next time.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

My staple bread for the past couple of years has been a miche. I started doing the BBA recipe with half bread flour and half KA whole wheat flour. Lately I've been experimenting with different blends of organic and sifted flours. I haven't yet settled on one recipe and change things every time I do it lately, but I thought I'd describe this basic recipe.

 Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

 Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

Mixed-Flour Miche: Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

I have some photos of my process.

Many, many thanks to JMonkey, SourdoLady, Zolablue, Mountaindog, Floydm, and numerous others. My results on this and other recipes are much better because of the great ideas I've found in the various blogs, postings, and lessons here.

Mixed-Flour Miche: Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

There is a "firm starter" that is built from white poolish-like starter as in the BBA "barm" version (50/50 by weight using breadflour and water), which is retarded overnight and included in the dough which is baked the same day.

The recipe I've been doing lately has evolved from the BBA miche recipe to be more like the "Mixed-Flour Miche" in Bread by Hamelman. My objective has basically been to have a high whole wheat content, but use sifted flours to get a less coarse crumb. I have also mixed red wheat and white wheat flours as well as tried some spelt trying to come up with a flavor that is not too "grassy" or "nutty". I find the taste of 100% white wheat bread to be a little too bland, whereas using too much red wheat seems bitter in a way I don't like.

As a result, I've ended up mixing various flours in an attempt to get something that is mostly whole wheat with some of the coarser bran sifted out and partly red wheat, partly white wheat for flavor.

The recipe showing in the photos is as follows, and is loosely based on both the BBA Miche and the Hamelman "Mixed-Flour Miche" in Bread.

For the firm starter:

  • 7oz "BBA style barm" (100% hydration bread flour starter)
  • 6oz Golden Buffalo flour (sifted red wheat flour from Heartland Mills)
  • 3 oz KA Organic Whole Wheat
  • 4oz water

Mix/knead ingredients for about 3 minutes to get a fairly firm not very sticky dough. Place in container and let rise to about 1.5x in volume - about 3 hours. Punch it down and allow to rise again to double - another 2.5 hours, roughly. Place in refrigerator overnight. I was trying to get this one to be a little more sour, and I think I went too far, as the bread was just a touch too sour for my tastes, but I don't like my bread very sour. Some might like the more sour flavor I got. My plan is to reduce the rise time of the firm starter and use less Golden Buffalo and maybe use whole spelt flour in higher proportion next time.

For the dough:

  • 6 oz KA whole spelt flour
  • 8 oz Golden Buffalo sifted red wheat flour (Heartland Mills)
  • 3 oz KA Organic Whole Wheat
  • 6 oz sifted white wheat flour (Homestead Grist Mill)
  • 6 oz Sir Lancelot High Gluten flour
  • 3 oz KA Rye Blend
  • 29 oz water
  • 3/4 tsp diastatic malted barley flour
  • 26 grams salt (about .9 oz)
  • Firm starter from day before.

Cut up firm starter and cover with towel to allow the pieces to lose their chill.

Autolyse: Mix all but salt and starter in bowl until the ingredients form a uniform shaggy mass. Allow to rest for 60 minutes.

Mix and knead dough: Push the pieces of starter into the dough and sprinkle with salt. Mix/knead for 5 minutes to form a supple, fairly soft dough. The total hydration of the entire overall dough is 82%, so it is relatively soft at the beginning. Place in a container to rise.

Fold the dough hourly: The total bulk fermentation time was 4.5 hours. I think I probably went too long, though. Anyway, I was folding it using the technique in Hamelman's Bread, i.e. (very roughly) turn the dough out on a bed of flour top down and gently spread it out/push out some of the gas. Then pull out and stretch one side of the dough and fold it toward the center. Do the same for the other three sides. Put the dough back in the container with the top up and the seams down. I may have "overfolded", as the dough seemed a little "too tough" possibly, and I didn't get as much oven spring as I was hoping for.

Shape into boule: Form a boule not too differently from the folding technique above, except it is more of a gathering in of the edges of the dough and pinching them together to stretch the "top" of the dough (which is face down on the counter as with the folds). Flour a couche with rice flour and place in 8 quart steel mixing bowl, and then place the dough in the couche seams up.

Final Proof: Allow to rise for about 2.5 hours - again I let it go until 3 hours, and I think it was probably too long to wait.

Place on parchment: Place parchment on an upside down baking sheet or a peel and flour with coarse corn meal. Invert the bowl with the dough onto the parchment and pull away the bowl. Gently pull away the couche, which works great with the rice flour on the couche. Slash as photos show. I very lightly spray water on with spray mister.

Bake: Preheat oven to 500F well before this point, like an hour before. Use various steaming techniques as described many places for home ovens. Drop temperature to 450F after about 5 minutes. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then rotate loaf and drop temperature to 400F for another 20 minutes. Then rotate and drop temperature to 375F. Continue to bake until internal temperature is about 208F.

I would enjoy hearing any comments about how to manipulate flavor, the amount of rise, crumb texture, and so on. This bread did not rise quite as much as some others I've done in similar fashion. There are a few reasons I can think of, such as too much fermentation and proofing time, starter slightly too ripe and sour, possibly folding too much, maybe kneading too much in the very beginning, and so on. I also think the sour flavor is too much for my tastes, and other versions I've done were less sour. I think this is due mainly to overly long fermentation and proof, and to allowing the starter to become too ripe. Also, I used a higher proportion of red wheat flour in this starter than previously.

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