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“Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread"

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

“Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread"

 


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


 

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

David, your bakings compel me to Buy Hamellman's book.


Nice, as always


Mebake

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Mebake.


Hamelman's book is a "must read" for any serious bread baker, in my opinion. One caveat: His instructions for each bread are rather telegraphic. Correct procedures are discussed in detail in the introductory chapters and in the introductory section of each chapter. Do study these materials before tackling any of the formulas. You'll be confused and frustrated if you don't.


David

erg720's picture
erg720

And since i don't work with measurement i'll be more then happy to get your correct weight to this bread David.


Ron

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Ron.


The weights in the formula are correct. The volume measurement for the water in the "Home" formula was apparently a typo. (See msg below.)


David

Frosty's picture
Frosty

Hello,


BTW, my printing of "Bread" does have 2 3/4 cups of water at 1lb, 6.4oz. I just bought the book earlier this earlier this year so it seems to have been corrected in later editions (assuming you've had the book for some time).


I've never actually made this bread, but your post has moved it to the top of my "next break to make" list.



Frosty


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I definitely have the older printing. I appreciate you sharing the correction in your edition. It does confirm my conclusion.


I'd encourage you to make this bread. It's really good. You do have to be comfortable handling very high-hydration doughs.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Sylvia


 

ericb's picture
ericb

David,


I wonder if this is one of those cases in which having the proper equipment (in this case, a spiral mixer) makes a difference. Seventeen minutes in the mixer seems, well... it seems scandalous! You might need to go to confession for this one (even if you're not Catholic!). 


I seem to remember SteveB doing some experiments on mixing times in non-professional equipment. It has something to do with spiral mixers being able to oxygenate the dough more efficiently than home mixers. Perhaps this is what you experienced at the higher hydration levels.


Like you, I dutifully used the weight measurements for this recipe, and was quite happy with the results. I don't expect I will be trying the "correct" formula any time soon. Thanks for giving it a try and posting your experience!


 


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hey, Eric, didn't I confess in the original post? 


I was thinking today that I might try the "double hydration" technique the next time I make this Miche. That is, hold back some of the water until the gluten is partly developed. Then slowly add the rest of the water.


David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

That's fumy David. When I first made this bread I think I was complaining to you about how slack it is. I have learned to accept the hydration and work with the dough but now that I have heard your story I may back off the hydration. It just about runs off my stone after loading. Thanks for posting this.


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Frankly, with the "correct" hydration, the dough was harder to handle. The baked bread was no better.I got significant spread when I dumped the dough on the peel, but I was prepared and got the dough slashed and in the oven in record time. (BTW, I haven't mentioned I bought a Super Peel. That certainly helped.)


On the one hand, I'm tempted to fiddle with technique, e.g., try double hydration. On the other hand, I may just go back to the lower hydration, which was still pretty high. Hmmmm ... I bet the dough would be much more manageable if I could get better gluten development with less mixing. That means trying double hydration. 82% hydration is certainly in the ciabatta range.


FYI, the lowest amount of water I've used in making this miche was 1 lb, 2 oz. I've also made it using 1 lb, 4 oz of water. You know? I've never made a "bad" miche, regardless of the hydration I've tried.


David

wally's picture
wally

Hi David,


Not to add any confusion, but in our class at KAF this July here is the formula we followed for MacGuire's miche pointe-a-calliere.  I include it because it differs from the recipe in Hamelman's book (most noticeably in the levain build):


Overall formula:


flour, high extraction - 10.000kg 


water - 8.300kg


salt - .180kg


Refresher:


flour, high extraction - .600kg


water -  .390kg


mature culture, stiff - .200kg


Levain:


flour, high extraction - 1.400kg


water - .910kg


refresher - 1.190kg


Final dough:


flour, high extraction - 8.000kg


water - 7.000kg


salt - .180kg


levain - 3.500kg (remember to back out initial culture of .200kg)


We made this alongside a miche pointe-a-calliere with whole wheat flour (same 83% hydration), and the high extraction flour dough was much slacker and more of a challenge to work with.


Your crumb looks quite similar to that we achieved.


Larry


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The extra build (the "refresher") is interesting in how little "mature culture" it uses compared to the "levain" build. Since I generally refresh my starter the day before making the levain for this bread, it isn't really that different from my approach. My usual feeding is 1:3:4 (S:W:F), so it's even close to the refresher in proportions. McGuire's is 1:2:3, basically.


I'm curious regarding any comments Hamelman or McGuire made about mixing this dough. Were their procedures the same as in "Bread?"


David

wally's picture
wally

David,


My recollection is that the mix we did was as described in "Bread." The only difference was that our autolyse was for about 30 minutes, not the 20 - 60 indicated in the book.  But otherwise the procedure was the same.


It remained a pretty wet dough throughout, even after folds. 


I believe we proofed these loaves in heavily floured linen covered bannetons - the whole wheat miche we merely proofed seam-side up on boards if memory serves me well.


Larry

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

I do not have Jeffrey´s book with me right now since I am away from home, and I do not recall from memory, but I was wondering if each bread recipe mentions how the final bread dough should feel like when it is done mixing?  My bread instructor always told me to go by the feel of the dough right after it is done mixing.  He always told us never to add all of the water.  He usually held back maybe 5 to 10% of the water, and he would gradually add more water to the dough during the 1st mixing stage if the dough needed more hydration.  Every type of bread flour is going to have different water absorption rates...even among same brand of flour sold in different states.  Usually a dough formula should give you an indication of how the final bread dough should feel like.

wally's picture
wally

In "Bread" Hamelman generally does describe how the dough should feel either after final mix or during stages (when using autolyse, e.g.). In his course at KAF I don't recall reserving water when mixing, but he was adamant that after a mix (and even during it) you should always tug on the dough to get an accurate read on its gluten development, etc.


Larry

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmmm ... I've been looking for window paning, which presumably measures the same parameter, but all the videos I've seen of professionals mixing dough (including Prof. Calvel) show them tugging on the dough to judge the need for more mixing. I'll work with this.


David

wally's picture
wally

David,


You know Hamelman's take on window paning.  While we did test doughs that way, his preferred method was always to reach into the mixer at various stages of mixing and give the dough a good tug.  It quickly became evident to us that you could get a pretty accurate read for its strength and development this way.  In particular, he'd always tug at dough after an autolyse and before final mixing, and use its feel to adjust final mixing times.


Larry

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Awesome miche, David :)


It got me drooling. The double hydration technique sounds like it's made for these doughs, so I'd say go for it. Did you notice anything flavourwise? You did mix it for 17 mins., and more mixing (and oxidation) is supposed to reduce the flavour complexity. I'm not sure how the level of dough oxidation is related to dough hydration - we know mixing a wet dough takes longer to develop gluten; perhaps a similar thing holds true for oxidation as well? Wet dough takes longer to achieve same level of oxidation compared to a firmer dough, as mixing is less "efficient"?


Anyways, your crumb looks stellar. You probably worked the dough a bit harder than the one pictured in "Bread", so the profile is higher?


By the way, I've always thought of you as a measure-by-weight kind of person... What's the deal with cups all of a sudden?? ;) What about the next miche? Are you doing that with the full, "correct" hydration, or do you prefer to work with the firmer one (which you've had terrific results with in the past)?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I think the over-oxidation issue is greater with commercial mixers, but it is a consideration. The flavor of the bread was good.


I do measure by weight. The issue here was the discrepancy between the weight and volume specifications for water in the formula. It turns out that the weight given was erroneous and was corrected in later printings of "Bread."


I don't know whether I prefer the correct formula or the one with less hydration. My next step will be to use the correct formula with double hydration, I think.


David

gcook17's picture
gcook17

David, Did you autolyse the dough?  If so, how long did you do it?


-greg

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Greg.


I did a 20-30 minute autolyse, as I recall. I never to less than 20 minutes and have autolysed up to 75 minutes, as a matter of convenience.\


David

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Hi, David,


Always interesting to read your comments and see your pictures. The P a C M is also one of my favorite breads, and one that I make often. I have followed the recipe exactly, using Golden Buffalo flour, and the bread is fabulous. Haven't had any trouble, and didn't extend the kneading in my KA mixer. The Golden Buffalo develops gluten very nicely.


I have also made the loaf substituting some of the Strong Flour from the same bakery, which makes a difference, of course, but it's very nice, too. Firmer, higher profile, but still moist, flavorful, and long-lasting, which is one of the greatest features of the P a C M. I have made it into two or three smaller loaves, too, just because for two people, the one loaf is a challenge.


I have also added currants and seeds to the recipe on occasion.


I really will try to get some pics on so that I don't feel like I'm spinning yarns all the time! (Still technologically challenged.)


Patricia

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have almost always made the M, p-a-c with KAF First Clear flour. (Yeah, yeah. I know it's not really a high-extraction flour.) it has a high protein and high ash content and tastes good to me. In fact, it tastes more like my memory of Poilâne's Miche than any other flour or flour combination, including Golden Buffalo.


I've thought about making this miche with high-gluten flour, just to see how it turned out. I've also thought about using high-gluten flour with 5% whole rye. That's a combination that usually pleases me.


I haven't added nuts, seeds or dried fruit, but that sounds good.


David

cake diva's picture
cake diva

David et al,


I once tried to make a miche with an obviously high hydration formula and had to abandon my efforts because I couldn't even shape it;  the final bread turned into a humongous ciabatta.  I'll try the PACM recipe.  Just anticipating some issues:  1)How did you transfer the risen dough out of the banetton onto a peel?  I'm afraid I might deflate the dough.  2)Do they even make banettons that size?  3) Will I be compromising anything if I just proof right onto parchment?  While this may circumvent the handling issues, I'm afraid that the dough would just spread out instead of up.


The miche that's indelibly etched in my mind is one the baker slipped to me through the side door at Tartine.  It had an almost black crust and nice lift, and the flavor was just outstanding!  It would make me immensely proud to create something that's halfway as good as it.-- cake diva

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, cake diva.


I would definitely proof this bread in a banneton. I have a French, linen-lined one from the San Francisco Baking Institute that holds 3-4 lbs of dough. Their web site is:


http://www.sfbi.com/baking_supplies.html


They only take orders by phone, but are very nice to deal with.


I transferred the proofed miche to parchment on a peel by turning the banneton over and using my other hand to gently ease the dough onto the paper. It does spread, but oven spring makes up for it.


David

MC's picture
MC

I'd love to try my hand at it when I get back home. As a follow up to the musings on dough development in this thread, you might be interested in what Didier Rosada taught us last week about dough consistency and gluten development during the Artisan III workshop at SFBI. I just posted it and you'll find it here.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And thanks for the link! I am overdue trying the double hydration technique. I may get around to it this weekend. I'm thinking about making a light rye with high hydration, because it's a bread I've made enough to know exactly how much mixing it takes to develop the gluten well when all the water is added at once.


The photos on your blog are interesting, but my fingers are itching to poke and stretch each dough. The visual representations don't do it for me. I need the tactile and kinesthetic information.


BTW, I gather you attended the same class at SFBI as Shiao-Ping! She suggested I ask you about whether you had found a way of getting some of the Giusto's flours they don't generally sell direct to consumers. I'm particularly interested in their high extraction flour. I think they call it "Old Mill."


David

MC's picture
MC

I find that the pics help a bit but not much.  Like you I need to touch and pull. Hopefully it will be still fresh enough that my fingers will remember.


Re: Giusto's flours. I don't know which Giusto Shiao-Ping had in mind when she suggested I might be of help but the only ones I know are Keith and Nick Giusto and they both work for Central Milling although Keith also has his own bakery in Petaluma, CA. I think their flour is rather easy to come by, although under various names (for instance their organic AP is sold at Whole Foods as 365 and at Costco - as far as I know only in Northern California however - under another name). I might be able to tell you a bit more if I were home and had access to the notes I took during SFBI's Whole Grains class in April. I remember that Nick Giusto is the one to contact for sales but I don't have his number here. At Giusto's itself, I have absolutely no contact. I have the feeling I won't be able to help you very much. Sorry about that... But if there is any info I can get for you while at SFBI, please let me know.


 


 


 


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I believe Shiao-Ping thought you had a source for Giusto's specialty flours.


Well, you did tell me something I didn't know: WFM's 365 Organic AP flour is from Giusto's. So why am I buying Giusto's Baker's Choice in Bulk at $1.59/lb? (When not on sale.) 


I've talked to Giusto's in South SF, and there was no way they would sell what I wanted directly. Oh, well. I'm still looking for a source for good quality, reasonably priced high-extraction flour.


David