The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Finally, I baked my first successful sourdough wholegrain miche.

QARunner's picture

Finally, I baked my first successful sourdough wholegrain miche.

I am a very inexperienced baker who has been trying to bake a decent whole grain boule for the past month. I have had success using kneadless techniques and recipes from Nancy Bagget's Kneadlessly Simple book but wanted to have more control than the kneadless technique allows. I've tried several of Peter Reinhardt's yeasted multi grain and whole grain recipes but invariable found that while the flavor was good, the crumb tended to be very tight and the bread dense.

I decided to try the European style whole grain recipe from Breadtopia web site courtesy of Eric mainly because it seemed fairly simple based on his video.

I created a wholegrain starter based on Peter Reinhardt's approach and after 7 days tried my first European style whole grain. I followed the recipe very closely with the exception of using a hearth and steam pan rather than the la Cloche used by Eric. I was disappointed by the result. Even though the loaf seemed to have a good oven spring, the crumb was very tight and dense and the bread lacked a sourdough flavor. I think the latter was due to my starter being too new and not developed enough.

For my next attempt decided to try to focus on technique. I built up my starter for a week at room temperature feeding twice a day. I revised the recipe by increasing the hydration to 75% and using several of the techniques described by several posters on this site. I mixed the dough by hand without adding the salt and used a 30 minute autolyze. Then I added salt and kneaded the dough for 4 ½ minutes in my Kitchenaid until the gluten just began to form (about 4 minutes). Then I rested the dough for 20 minutes and performed 3 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals. Next I retarded dough in fridge for 24 hours. I then left dough at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping and placing into a banneton. I let the dough proof for 4 hours at room temperature before hearth baking for 45 minutes in a 440 degree oven with steam for the first 15 minutes.

I knew that this attempt was THE ONE the instant the wonderful aroma filled the house. Pictures below show the results....yes, yes, I know the scoring is bush league and there is no stenciling but I am a novice. It's like dad just took the training wheels off my bike and I made it all the way down the driveway.

 I definitely can still improve my technique... the dough was a little sticky due to its hydration level and stuck to the banneton when I placed it on the peel. The shaking needed to dislodge the dough caused some deflation and distorted the shape of the boule. Next time I will line banneton with parchment. Obviously the scouring and shaping are a work in process!

Thanks to all the generous folks on this site for their willingness to share their vast knowledge. I've invested in a number of the books referred to by posters and I look forward to absorbing and trying some new techniques.

ananda's picture

Hi QA Runner

Lovely bread!

What are the exact proportions of flour have you used here?

Some great techniques in the process for sure; well done

Best wishes


Yerffej's picture

Very nice.

There are many here who have a full appreciation of what it took to create that loaf.  I too am curious about the flour(s) that you used for this bread.


QARunner's picture

Thanks for the replies. I defintely have a new found appreciation for the amount of effort and technique needed to turn out a good loaf of bread! I hope this was not a fluke. 

The bread has wholegrain, rye, spelt and white flour. I am not comfortable posting the proportions as the recipe belongs to someone else but you can find it on the breadtopia site on the link I gave in my original post. The recipe is about 1/4 of the way down the page. The only change I made to the quantities was to increase hydration to 75%.

dmsnyder's picture

You shouldn't need to line your brotform with parchment. Just rub it with a 50/50 mix of AP and rice flour. Rice flour will help the release greatly.


QARunner's picture

Thanks dmsyder, I used rye flour on the banneton this attempt and it has always worked in the past. However, I think the hydration was too much for the rye. I understand rice flour is much better in aiding release and will try your suggestion on my next bake.

eva_stockholm's picture

Vow, QaRunner!

That bread looks absolutely perfect - yummy AND healthy. Very inspiring write-up, too! (Love the bicycle metaphor, lol)




Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Wow, I'm impressed! This looks great. What a nice crumb! The fancy stuff is unimportant, just makes the pictures look pretty. The scoring is hard to do if the loaf is high hydration but you'll get the hang of it. I wouldn't line with parchment because things tend to stick to it until it heats up. Just use the rice flour as mentioned, heavily floured.

Beautiful color and great crumb. I'll have to look up the recipe and think about baking it sometime soon. I'm hoping to buy a Le Crueset or some type of La Cloche next week with my gift certificate so maybe I'll try this one with it.

wally's picture

and your miche is beautiful!  Very well done.  At that hydration I'd not fret over the scoring, expecially when your crumb looks so lovely!


jackie9999's picture

Beautiful loaf..and healthy!

I have ordered a few things from Breadtopia in the past but haven't checked out his recipes..I will be sure to do that now.

You say you used rye flour to dust your banneton? I could be wrong, I so often am...but isn't rye very sticky? I thought we used rice flour since it's low gluten, low stick? I've never had a problem with a good dusting of brown rice flour, I place a peice of parchment over the banneton when it's ready for oven and place my peel over that, then flip it over and the loaf drops onto the peel with a satisfying 'thunk' :)