The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

From "Holzhackerbrot" to my second Rubaud Miche attempt.....

Sedlmaierin's picture

From "Holzhackerbrot" to my second Rubaud Miche attempt.....

This is kind of exciting-my first blog post EVER!

Tuesday to Wednesday were my serious baking days this week. I tried out a new recipe from my German bread book(which I "wisely" altered on the first go around-even though I don't think any of the troubles I ended up having had to do with my changes-apart from the pyrex bowl) and I undertook the Rubaud Miche again, since the first one was a bust and turned into a pyramid shaped, dense thing.

First to the Holzhackerbrot:the original recipe called for 80g of fresh yeast disolved in a half cup of water with 1 teaspoon of sugar.I omitted the yeast and used just a wee bit extra sourdough instead.It also said that the loaf should be free formed-well, I decided to put it in a pyrex form(maybe not such a good idea)

Here's the recipe, without the yeast:

700g rye flour 1740 (I know this is closer to a pumpernickel flour, but I only had teh Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye flour on hand)

300g wheat flour 1050 ( according to KA that is closest to first clear flour- I used white whole wheat)

350g firm sourdough starter

250 g old fashioned oat meal

about 750 ml  water at 30celcius

3 tbls salt

I hand mixed/kneaded the dough (with wet hands) until it was silky, velvety with just a nice touch of resistance to it. The dough proofed in my oven(with pilot light on) for about 4.5 hours-kneaded it for a wee bit and stuck it in my greased pyrex form, to rest again for about an hour. By the time I found it ready to go into the oven it seemed nice a plump,it had risen again by a very generous quarter. Docked it and off it went into the pre-heated oven(lowest shelf). The recipe says that it needs to be baked with steam for the first 15 minutes, then let the steam come out and bake without steam for the remainder of the time.The crust formation is very important on this loaf, since it contributes greatly to the flavor of the bread.Well, it is meant to be in a 260celcius oven for 75-80 minutes-which mine was.

Here is what I discoverd, though, upon retrieving the bread at the end of the time-it was very very dark on top(which was great) but the bottom of it was almost burnt. AND it wasn't even done yet.So that was my problem-to be solved on the next go around- with this loaf. I turned the heat down after 80 minutes, and left it in there for a bit longer(maybe ten more) and then let it sit in the turned off oven. Of course, it was a hassle to try and get the bread out of the form-since it was still slightly underdone.

So, if anybody reading this has any suggestions regarding the bake time,temp that would be great. I don't know if you still use the term of a "caramelized crust" in a predominantly rye loaf, but it does seem to require something like that.I am pretty sure that the loaf will just have to be in the oven longer and therefore at a lower temp, I just don't know if I need to try to bake it first at a higher temp and then turn down the oven for the rest of the time, or vice versa, in order to have the best crust development.I will also free form it next time and I will probably let it retard overnight-I just have a feeling it could have proofed a wee bit longer. Let me tell, ya, though, the bread is DELICIOUS!!! (if you like dense breads) Wow, the flavor is great, it has kind of a honey, malty taste and the crust is super crunchy(yay!!!).

Pictures of this loaf are here:


And then there was the Miche! So, what did I do differently? I still did the 5 S&Fs as per Shiao-Pings post, but it proofed for closer to 4 hours in my oven instead of about 3 hours. Then I shaped it, wrapped it in a floured towel and stuck it in a plastic bag for overnight retarding. Then next day, shaped it again and let it rise once more for about 3 hours in my oven-scored it. Pre-heated the oven to about 525 fahrenheit, had a steam pan in there during pre-heat, plus dumped ice cube in there when I slid the bread in.Baked it for 50 minutes at about 425-450 fahrenheit.

Well, it turned out way better than the first attempt-I don't know if the more proofing times need to be tweaked-there are some slightly larger holes at the top of the loaf than throughout the rest of the crumb-overproofed/underproofed? I wish I could comment on the taste, but we are all under the weather here and it is way more subtle tasting than my german loaf- I don't trust my taste buds to be very discerning with a plugged up nose. It has really great texture- I think next time I will let it cool off in the  turned off oven for about 15 minutes, since I think I read that will allow the crust to stay even crunchier.

I could have never done this without Mini's help-thanks so much!

I also just ordered Bread-by Hammelman....can't wait! My first artisan bread book-I read the review on here and was wavering between the BBA and this one, but one of the things that I have been enjoying so much about TFL is learning so much about the science behind this art. It seemed like the Hammelman book will make my inner nerd very happy.

Ok, Miche pictures





ehanner's picture

Well done Christina. Your breads look wonderful! I think you selected 2 very good books to help you with ideas. I have them both and refer to them often. I look forward to seeing your progress.


Sedlmaierin's picture

Thanks for looking and for your kind words. I can't wait to get my hands on this book-all this new bread baking knowledge is turning into an obsession. I am super excited! YAY BREAD!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Well done Christina! Especially on the Miche. I have no doubt you will perfect the rye bread as well. Try Eric's Favorite Rye and when you get Hamelman's book, if you like cinnamon raisin bread try the oatmeal cinnamon raisin bread in there.

If you'd like a spreadsheet to use I have one for both the sourdough and the straight dough recipes which works especially well with Hamelman's book. Send me a note and I will email them to you.

dmsnyder's picture

Good outcomes on two challenging breads.

I can feel the breeze from how fast you are traveling the learning curve.


Sedlmaierin's picture

Thank you , David. I am giving myself sleepless nights over this whole breadbaking thing-but it is so much fun!

SylviaH's picture

It is fun to post in your blog.  You will find it's fun to see your progress as time goes by baking and posting in your own personal blog on TFL.  Thanks for sharing!


Sedlmaierin's picture

Already Miche I and Miche II are worlds apart-can't wait to see what comes out of my oven once I get that "Bread" book. I might have to revert to my habit from when I was a child-bread for breakfast, as a snack and as dinner!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've never been able to bake a predominantly rye loaf above 220°C  It burns and doesn't get done inside.  260°C is very hot!  (Do you have a little cheap oven therm. you can hang on a shelf?)

Taking a look at the recipe...  There is an interesting combination...

  • Warm water, speeds up fermentation (cold water would be slower)
  • Firm Rye starter ratio to flour is high, speeds up fermentation (lower ratio slows)
  • Large portion of rye flour, thought:7-8 hour 23°C fermentation (about average)
  • 62% hydration plus wet hands,  Seems rather low to me for these types of high ash flours and oats, all heavy absorbers, could use some more moisture?
  • salt, 3 Tablespoons is a lot unless it is sea salt, 2% would be 30g or 2 Tablespoons table salt

From just my own experience, I would say that a 7-8 hour fermentation would be reduced to under 5 hours just from the speeding up processes involved.  When I read the dough was in the oven for 4.5 hours proofing (careful, pilot lights can get too hot) my thoughts were that this was already a long time... and then the dough was re-shaped.  I held my breath worried you might not get any more rise out of it.   I would change that first proof to about 2 hours, shape and let it final rise for about 2 hours before baking keeping a sharp eye on it.  If any air bubbles are popping thru the surface of the dough, then it may be very close to overproofing so get the loaf in the oven asap.

A loaf of this size, roughly 2400g, will need some time in the oven...1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs. at 220° for the first 10 min with steam, and then 210° or even 200°C for the rest if you find it getting too dark too fast.  If the pyrex has a lid keep it covered the first 45 min and then turn down the oven when you remove the lid. No added steam needed.  (Place into the oven so the top edge of the pan is level with the middle of the oven.) I managed to "darky roast" mine yesterday at 210°C  before stabbing it with my steel candy thermometer to make sure it was done.

You might want to read up on some of Nico's Blogs.  One like this one...



Sedlmaierin's picture

As always , Mini, excellent points. It is weird, but I generally feel that the temps in the book I am using seem pretty high-he does specify electric, convection or gas temps. Also, I have always wondered about the length of fermentation- and your points clarify why he generally has such relatively short fermentation times( I guess I just always expect all sourdough fermentation to be closer to your quoted 7-8 hours. There is only one or two recipes in that book that says to ferment that long).

I have never seen air bubbles close to the surface of my rye doughs,so that's good-and it did rise some more in the oven. I think next time I might let it ferment in my pyrex bowl-then I can see what's going on in there!

Yup, will use more water next time-do you think the crust will develop to a nice dark color and heavy thick crunchiness, if I bake it long at a lower temp?

Yes, and I use sea salt- he has no specifications in his book ,though.

Will go off to read that link you provided.......let's see what happens next time I bake this loaf-but man, it is yummy! And I just splurged and bought the fixings for some Obatzda(I assume you have that in Austria-for everyon eelse, it is a starange mixture of camembert , a stinky cheese like Limburger, onions, butter, chives and beer) -mmmmmmm, himmlisch!Those aromas can get through my stuffed nose!


P.S.: Gotta sit down and practice my hydration calculations!Oh yes, and I do have a seperate thermometer in my oven