The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière

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Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière

To continue on my last post, I experimented the gentle S&F technique on this classic recipe from Hamelman's Bread, page 164.  


                             


                                                                      © Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread


There is nothing new about this technique - the slow and gentle (and at the same time, firm and assertive) stretch and folds on the dough over the entire length of time of the bulk fermentation to try to build up its strength, slowly but steadily.  Whether or not we have consciously applied this technique is another issue. 


My purpose was to develop dough strength slowly along side dough fermentation, so as to see how much volume I could get for my loaf and how open the crumb structure could be on this classic recipe.   Here is my Miche, Pointe-à-Callière:


 


                     


 


I followed Hamelman's list of ingredients but I did not use his procedure.   My ingredients were:



  • 289 g just ripe 60%-hydration levain (40% baker's percentage)

  • 725 g high-extraction whole-wheat flour (as suggested by Hamelman, 86% whole wheat flour and 14% plain flour were substituted for the high-extraction flour, which is not available in my area)

  • 634 g water

  • 17 g salt


Total dough weight was 1,665 g and overall dough hydration was 84%.


 


       


 


                                                    


 


My procedure:


Mix only the flour and water.  Autolyse for an hour.  Then, mix in the levain and the salt.  Up to this point, the procedure was as instructed by Hamelman; thereafter I broke away from Hamelman's instruction and started my experiment as follows: 



  1. 0:00  When all the ingredients are combined, do the first set of stretch and folds of 35 strokes.  Dab some oil on the edge and bottom of the dough all round where the dough meets the bowl (so that the dough doesn't stick to the bowl when you do the next set of S&F's).

  2. 0:30  2nd set of S&F of 25 strokes.  Again, dab some oil on the edge and bottom of the dough as above.

  3. 1:00  3rd set of S&F of 25 strokes.  (My dough already felt silky and smooth.)  Again, dab some oil on the edge and bottom of the dough as above).

  4. 1:30  4th set of S&F of 25 strokes.  (My dough felt very bouncy and left the side of the mixing bowl in a cohesive whole.  With each stroke, the dough felt stronger.)  Dab some oil on the edge and bottom of the dough as above.

  5. 2:00  5th set of S&F of 25 strokes.  (The gluten had developed very nicely.)  Dab some oil on the edge and bottom of the dough as above.  Sprinkle ample flour on the work bench.

  6. 2:30  6th set of S&F of 25 strokes and, at the end of the last stroke, grab the whole dough and lift it out of the bowl in one swift movement and drop the dough on the floured surface (what was at the bottom of the mixing bowl is now against the floured surface and it is the right side).  Cover the dough with the mixing bowl.

  7. 3:00  1st pre-shaping.  Gather the edges to the centre, turn it over (so the right side is now up), and tighten it.  Cover.

  8. 3:10  2nd pre-shaping.  (As my dough was a bit wobbly and extended out a lot as it rested, I decided to do a 2nd pre-shaping.  You don't have to if your dough doesn't need it ).  Turn the dough over so the right side is now down, gather the edges to the centre, turn it over to tighten it.  Cover.

  9. 3:20  shape it into a boule.  I placed the boule on a dusted kitchen towel.  Cover and place it in a plastic bag.

  10. 3:30  place the dough in the fridge for retarding.  (Total fermentation time was 3 1/2 hours for me at room temperature of 26 - 27C.  Adjust your fermentation time if your room temperature differs.)

  11. Retarding in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

  12. Bake as normal.


 


                


 


Verdict:  There appears to be more volume in my bread compared to Hamelman's bread (first picture above).  With a dough hydration of 84% (even allowing for the type of flour used for this formula), you would expect the bread profile to be somewhat flat, as seen in Hamelman's bread above.  However, the stretch and fold regime as outlined above in my procedure seems to have developed the gluten structure very nicely and, as a result, my bread seems to have more volume than Hamelman's bread.   


What this tells me is that for a high hydration dough, a slow and steady gluten development is better than a one-shot 2 1/2 minutes or 4 minutes (or whatever it is) kneading in the machine with just one or two sets of S&F's.  For a low hydration dough, you don't need to worry about the dough strength; it develops easily anyway.   Next time if I am doing a high hydration dough again, I will definitely give this method another try.


 


Shiao-Ping 

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I've made this bread many times and always struggle with the strength of the structure. Thanks for doing this experiment Shiao-Ping. While the profile may not be typical of the loaf historically, I think we eat today's bread. Yours is better in every way I can measure. Beautiful!


I have been using freshly ground WW flour from a member here and find the volume and flavor is the best when using fresh ground flour.


Eric

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hi Eric


Using freshly ground whole wheat flour!  Now, we are talking real serious artisan baking here.  You said the flavor is the best.  I can't begin to imagine how good it can get.  MC's Gerard Rubaud meet-the-baker story also talks about using freshly ground flours.  So, maybe one day...


Shiao-Ping

MC's picture
MC

...I have become a convert. When I got back home from Vermont, I started milling organic grains from the health food store with my little hand mill. The flavor is just too good to pass upon. As I can't imagine hand-milling all (or even most) of our flour, I ordered a home mill yesterday. I never thought I would reach that level of dedication! Will keep you posted...

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hi MC


I always know that it would be the ultimate indulgence if one day I felt compelled to grind my own flour!   But yeah, that sounds like a "delicious" dedication!   


Yesterday I finally had the good fortune of meeting someone who is crazy about fresh produce as much as I do.  I was telling her that I often say to my son how luxury it is to be able to have fresh snow peas (where you painstakingly peel the husks to retrieve each and every single pea).  The texture you get from freshly cooked fresh snow peas is so unlike anything you would get from the supermarket frozen peas!  She tells me how French have many ways to cook the fresh snow peas to celebrate the spring color (she is English).  She talked about how excited she was at seeing the very fresh rocket in a marketplace that I often visit myself in Brisbane.  As I was sipping on my lovely tea in her country house yesterday when I dropped my son there to see her daughter I thought to myself we were mad. 


So, yeah, I am with you, about the freshly ground flour!


Shiao-Ping

louie brown's picture
louie brown

A beautiful bread and an interesting method. May I ask two questions? First, is the 86% whole wheat flour white or normal whole wheat? The crumb appears rather light on my monitor. Second, when you say that you placed the boule on a kitchen towel before bagging and refrigerating it, did you use a container for the dough, or did you proof it freeform?


Thank you for your blog. I am enjoying it and learning from it. 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hello louie brown, Welcome!


Everytime I used the Australia WHITE whole wheat flour, someone would come to me and say, hey, the color looks a bit light.  There are really many knowlegeable home bakers out there.   Thank you for your question.  Yes, for the 86% WW flour in the formula, half of that was Australia WHITE whole wheat flour.   The breakdown of flours that I used follows:



  • 312 g normal whole-wheat flour (43% bakers percentage)

  • 312 g WHITE whole-wheat flour (43% bakers percentage)

  • 101 g unbleached plain flour (not bread flour) (14% bakers percentage)


Equivalent to 725 g substituted high-extraction-whole wheat flour in total


FYI, I used the exact same ratio of flour to feed my starter.


I proved my shaped dough free-form on a thick kitchen towel, dusted with flour.


Shiao-Ping 

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Thank you for the answers and for the welcome, Shiao Ping. I'm a sourdough baker of fifteen years and a reader of this site for some time, but I only recently registered when I realized how much there is to learn from you and others here.


The comments about types and absorption rates of whole wheat flour are useful. With such variability, it's clear there will be some "give" in reformulation of your work. It is under any circumstances, a terrific model to use as a point of departure. It's also a good clue to your ability to proof this loaf freeform, although I am also interested in how it holds together following the regime you describe. I'm not sure I will have the nerve to proof freeform the first time I try this, especially as volume is one goal!


 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hello again louie brown


No nerve to proof freeform?  I would be the same had I not learnt about retardation in the refrigerator.  You put any shape into the refrigerator and, baby, it stays in good shape!  Well, I lie a bit - in the refrigerator, it balloons a bit (overnight retardation is equivalent to two hours proofing at room temperature) and the crust is hardened somewhat so it is much easier to slash.  Did I understand you correctly?

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Yes, I do proof things freeform overnight. On the one hand it is the high hydration of a freeform loaf that is daunting, but on the other, a relatively higher absorption rate for the flour and a little bit of wiggle room in the formula may trump my reservations. I have put this bread on my list. Ironically, I eat a low carb diet, so I only bake one loaf a week at most and I wind up giving most of it away. I admire your ability to bake so much.

MC's picture
MC

Shiao-Ping, and delicious looking crumb!


I was talking to Gérard  the other day about the best way to handle a dough hydrated at around 80-85% and he advised doing the following. Mix gently and transfer dough to a bin, wait one hour and do one fold inside the bin (if the dough is very soft, repeat 10 minutes later. Wait another hour and fold again. After 3 hours, transfer the dough to a flour dusted work surface (so that it doesn't stick to the table) and fold it with the help of the dough cutter. Let it firm up 5 minutes and fold in the other direction. Repeat 2 or 3 times with 10 minutes between folds. That should firm up the dough enough to make for a very aerated crumb. I am going to give it a try...

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

That procedure sounds very interesting.  I'd like to give it a try too.  Thank you.


Shiao-Ping

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

that is what happened to me by mistake with your Miche...i put it in to proof and turned into a puddle 1 1/2 hours later...folded...waited and shaped hard and it has firm and turned out fine...


Great tasting Shiao-Ping !


Next tme i will do it on purpose!


judd


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'm definitely going to try your method, as this is one of my favorite breads. You got very impressive volume.


I'm also interested in the kind of WW flour you used.


David

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

I agree with you, I think the kind of flour used by Shiao-Ping have a great impact.


What's the weather there, Shiao? Relative hot and dry? I cannot guess this, but I think your flour has a higher water absorption. In my next post I'll try to take a good shot to show my dough consistency, so that we can compare the absorption rate.


Giovanni

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

The weather here is warm and humid (super himid).  When I made the Miche, my room temperature was around 26 - 27 C.   It's been said that WW flour can absorb up to 10 - 15% more water than the usual bread or plain flour.  But I don't know if my WW flour is capable of absorbing more water than other WW flour. 


Have you ever used bread or plain flour in a 80% hydration dough?  Can you believe how manageable the dough is with a similar S&F schedule like the one in this post?  I first came across this method when I made James McGuire's formula in this post.  The 80%-hydration dough had a very nice volume.  It was a straight dough formula (500 g all-purpose flour, 400 g water, and 2% salt and 0.4% instant yeast).


Shiao-Ping

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Thank you for your answer, Shiao. One years ago, I baked this kind of bread. It's essentially the same of "J.Hamelman Un-kneaded Six-Fold French Bread". I used an organic Italian soft wheat flour with protein contents 11.5% but W220. My dough was 68% hydration and with this soft wheat flour it was like a 78% hydration bread flour dough. The bread was the most voluminous but tasteless I never baked. But this is a straight dough!


I think the baking performance of a flour could not be measured only by protein proteine %, we have to check the quality of these proteins, that is alveographic analysis.


About WW flour: my organic WW flour has 11.9% proteins and you cannot go over 60-65% hydration, it's very sticky. Few month ago I tried P.Reinhart whole grain formula and, as he said in a note reported from European testers, the water should be -15/20% than with American WW flour. I add that the "sourdough epic method" does not work with a conventional soft WW flour because of proteolyse, higher amylase activity, ...


I also did a few research with some Italian miller about their bread flour, guess what!


- Miller A said its "bread" flour is a mix of italian soft winter wheat and North Spring Canadian wheat, and he also adds vitamin C (I used 40% of this HERE and about 60% hydration was ok).


- Organic Miller B said its "bread" flour is a mix of organic Canadian winter and spring wheat (I used this HERE and I immediately raised up the water to 68% but after the bulk fermentation I thought next time at least 70%).


- Miller C said its "bread" flour (80% extraction rate) is from not Italian grain mix (I used this HERE).


In the middle of this writing I refreshed my levain with Miller A flour + a bit of whole grain at 55% hydration; it comes together in less that 1 minute, medium consistency.


I have to say all these flours may have a good performance but could not be compared with the superior taste of the T80 french flour I found in Max Poilane miche (Lyon, France) and Princi miche (Milano, Italy).


Conclusion: hydration is really relative (+/- 20%),  I'm moving toward short mixing, I am not able to replicate Poilane/Princi miche :(


Ciao, Giovanni

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you for your information.


(1) About the voluminous but tasteless bread:  You are quite right.  Volume is hardly the thing we are looking for.  I guess many straight dough fomulas would have that problem, and therefore, in a straight dough formula, fermentation is all the more important; i.e.,  how you allow the flavor of the flour "shines" through.


(2) European soft WW flour and various different flours you use:  your points are very interesting.  I can see that you are beyond being a perfectionist, you are a purist.  For a person who works very fast and produces a lot of breads in a relatively short space of time, I am not as a purist as you are, at least not as yet.  Thank you for bringing your perspective to me. 


And finally,


(3) Hydration is relative:  I see your point and fully agree with it.  It would be foolish of any baker to make high hydration and volume the goal of their baking. The goal should be bringing out the flavor of flour and its aroma through baking; high or low hydration is quite beside the point and is to be used as a means towards that goal.  To me the 84% hydration in Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere is to allow the particular flour used in the formula easier to release the flavor.  


Thank you again.


Shiaoping

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

here.   I wonder if the 14% plain flour that I used also helped with the volume.  The conventional thinking is that high gluten flour gives volume but all-purpose flour (ie, plain flour in the Austrlian context) is what is normally used for artisan baking.  For my plain flour, I used White Wing plain flour (which in Autralia is normally used for making pastry) and it has 10.1% protein.   The average protein for the two WW flours I used is in the 12.5 - 13% range.   

Lorenzo's picture
Lorenzo

As a professional baker the crumb on this bread looks like you reversed the the whole wheat flour with the bread flour. What was the total percent of each type of flour using bakers formula? If in fact the whole wheat % is 80% or higher the high hydration is right on.


Over all bread looks delightfully perfect.


Lorenzo retired Artisan Baker

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... I reversed the whole wheat flour with the plain flour.  The percentages of my flour composition are here or http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15532/miche-pointe%C3%A0calli%C3%A8re#comment-99109 .


Thanks for your comment.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Shiao-Ping, MC,


I have decided that as much as I would like to become completely immersed in Artisan baking, I'm not going to start grinding a large amount of flour. I have an attachment that fits my DLX for milling grains and I will mill some rye and wheat for the starter feeding. As for grinding the larger amount, I prefer to purchase fresh ground organic wheat and rye from a known source. I don't know if it is the freshness or the grains or a little of both but the flours I get from flourgirl51 are the best tasting I have used.


After reading the interview of Gerhard by MC, I am convinced I can improve my aroma and flavor by using a stiff starter fed with multigrain flours. Using the folding routine demonstrated by Shiao-Ping and a hyper active starter, the miche should be wonderful.


Eric

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Eric


A few months ago I had the idea that a stiff starter, as opposed to the liquid one, would give me more yeast population (even though the rate of yeast growth is slower), so I started doing stiff starter for my sourdough baking.  I did 60% hydration, not 50%.  But I had to stop completely because I was mixing large amounts and they really hurt my wrist.  My wrist could not take a large quantity of dry dough; it is far easier mixing liquid dough.  I have had a mild form of tendonitis for years from playing tennis (inaccurately) in younger days.  Now I revert back to 75% hydration for my starter.


Shiao-Ping

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Do you bake immediately after shaping and retarding in the fridge, or you wait for the shaped dough to warm up, and if so, for how long?


 


mebake

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... retarded shaped dough cold.


If you want to wait until your retarded dough warmed up to the room temperature, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours is fine, but you really need to watch how much proofing your dough has done.  Because my dough has done proofing/fermenting, I see no advantage letting it warm up to the room temperature.  Also, cold dough is easier to slash.

la vecchia saggia's picture
la vecchia saggia

Which of these wonderful versions of your breads you suggest for a better taste?


This one or Country Sordough?


Thanks a lot from Rome - Italy.


Linda

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

I would try this one (but just do half the recipe).  If you've got time, it's worth the trouble to do a long fermentation (but you need to be careful of your dough temperature).  

Laurentius's picture
Laurentius

Hi Shiao-Ping,


Yesterday, I used your Poiline -Style Miche procedure and bake it(5- 1kg loaves) today in my wood fired oven and it was (is) to die for. I'm new to bread making and have been timid in my handling of the dough (4 folds every 30 minutes. Using your 25 fold technique I could feel the dough texture transform. I waited 4hrs before I cut a slice, my family and I were going to just have a taste with some room temp camembert cheese, but after half a loaf, our snack became our dinner. Thanks again, when is your book published?

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

I am glad your family like the bread.  Once you are comfortable with this, you'd be able to venture more bread making styles and have a lot of fun.  


In Taiwan, we've heard a lot of news of the earthquake in Japan.  I hope all your family are well.  In times like these, the fragility of human life is driven home to us.  In times like these, we are left with no doubt that we would give away anything just to be able to share something as simple as a bread with our love ones.


Shiao-Ping

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Can you please describe the motions you use in your S&F method of kneading?


In your instructions you indicate using 25 'strokes'.


I am very new to this method and have searched out the S&F videos and the only ones I have seen are comprised of 4 folds of the dough - one top-down fold, one bottom-up fold followed by each side being folded into the center creating a nice little bundle of dough.


Thank you!


P.S.  Thank you for all of your entries here.  I have learned a lot from all you have written.  My daughter's new favorite loaf is one of yours - the banana pain au levain.  


I love your writings about your life too....they contain little gems of wisdom that I find priceless and that remind me of the beauty we are always surrounded by if we but slow down at take note....

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... (with your left hand holding the bowl), your right hand reaches under the bottom of your dough, grabs a corner of the dough, stretches it upward (about 5 to 10 cm up), then folds it down onto itself. 


Your left hand then turns the bowl about 1/8 turn, your right hand repeats the stroke on a different corner of the dough.  Once you have done 8 strokes, you will have Stretched and Folded the dough one turn. 


Thanks for your comment and I hope your daughter enjoys this bread too.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thank you for the explanation. That is what I was thinking it was after reading more of the formulas that you have submitted here.  Very much like Dan Leopard's method in The Fresh Loaf.


Is this method what you use for stiffer (lower hydration) loaves?


:-)

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... however, with stiffer dough, I use far less number of strokes.  The wetter dough requires more stretches and folds for the build-up of gluten strength.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Why is it that an answered question always seems to lead to yet another question? 


So my new question is why do you use this method on all your loaves instead of doing the S&F method that is shown on most of the videos?  (Kind of like folding a letter....stretching the dough out on a counter and then folding onto itself 4xs around then putting it back into the bowl to relax...)


Does this method give you different results or is it because you simply like doing the kneading motion better?


If it is because it gives you different results I am curious as to what the differences are.


Thanks again :-)

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... why do I need to go the more troublesome way?  You will need to experiment for your own sake and find out for yourself what is the easiest for you to do the same thing.  To stretch and fold the dough in the same bowl the dough is in I don't have extra stuff to clean up afterwards.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I wasn't sure if it did achieve the same result since most videos I have seen all employ the 'folding like a letter'  method.  I only found out about the other way (the one you use) when using Dan Lepard's recipes.  You are the first one here that I have found that uses that method too.


It is the one I have used the most because I use it when baking Dan's loaves.  I like it too because of it being 'neat and tidy' - all in one bowl!  His loaves tend to be stiffer too and I don't think a huge stretch would work as well.


Now that I know both end up with the same results I won't fret about it anymore!


Thanks for easing my kneading worries :-)


I just can't say enough how much I appreciate all you contribute here and how much it has helped me!


Janet