The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Miche variation

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holds99's picture
holds99

Miche variation

 


I'm not really sure if there is a fixed definition for a miche.  From what I can determine, from reading baking books and information posted on the Internet, there are numerous miche formulas, ranging from exclusively whole wheat to mixed-flour.  Based on my limited research, one thing that seems to make them stand out from the crowd is their size---they're big.  The legendary French baker Lionel Poilâne, who reintroduced the miche in Paris in the 1970s created his loaves using stone-ground flour, natural fermentation and a wood-fired oven.  Mr.  Poilâne's loaves weighed 2 kilograms each (4.4 lbs).  I made mine approximately the same size.  His were round, mine are oval, because, as you can see from the oven photo, that's the only way I could get these two big guys into my oven.


"Poilâne is most famous for a round, two-kilogram sourdough country bread referred to as a miche or pain Poilâne. This bread is often referred to as wholewheat but in fact is not: the flour used is mostly so-called grey flour of 85% extraction (meaning that some but not all of the wheat bran is retained). According to Poilâne's own website, the dough also contains 30% spelt, an ancestor of wheat." [Wikipedia]


After a number of iterations I've come up with a mix of flours that I like and, for my taste, has good flavor.  I also incorporated a soaker in this version.  Anyway, here's the latest iteration. 


This recipe uses a double levain build, a total 14-18 hrs. total build, depending on room temperature (I used a tablespoon of mature culture, equal amounts all-purpose flour and water for each build (8 oz. water, 7 oz. flour)).


Final Dough


All the levain - 29 oz.


White all-purpose flour - 34 oz.


White whole wheat flour - 16 oz.


light rye flour - 7 oz.


Water -  35 oz.


Salt - 1.5 oz (2 Tb.)


Soaker (optional) 2 cups cracked rye


Total water = 51 oz (including levain)


Total flour = 71 oz (including levain)


Hydration = 71%


Note: Give the dough three (3) stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals.  Then retard it in fridge overnight or for up to 20 hours before removing and bringing to room temp. After the dough reaches room temp. (approx. 2 hrs.) divide, shape and place in bannetons seam side up.  Allow to nearly double in volume (finger poke test) and turn out of bannetons onto parchment lined baking pans sprinkled heavily with semolina flour.  Score the loaves and bake in preheated (475 deg. over) with steam.  After 10 minutes reduce heat to 450 deg.  Bake for 40-50 min. Check for an internal temp. of [EDIT] 205-210 deg.


Cool on wire racks.


Comments

arlo's picture
arlo

I'd say as long as they taste great, you've got some excellent miche(s) loaves! The bottom two pictures are wonderful representations of the loaves crumb and rustic apperance. Quite frankly I am impressed you could fit both in your oven at the same time too!


Maybe I'm just used to my tiny 'renter' ovens, haha.

holds99's picture
holds99

I appreciate your kind words. 


Howard


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And it's nice to see you posting again.


David

holds99's picture
holds99

It's good to be back.  Your Oregon trip looked like great fun.  Nice post.


Howard

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Wonderful breads, and it's great to have you back!

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks for your kind words.  I've been watching all the phenomenal things you've been making and posting for the past year or so.  You have become a true artist.  Keep up your amazing, inspirational work.


Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

Good to hear from you, Howard.


Nice bread!


Pat

holds99's picture
holds99

I was thinking about you a while back, and the oven burns you suffered while dilligently perfecting your naan technique.  You may be interested to know that our crack team of naan-ologists have recently returned from Punjab region of India and a year long search for the lost naan oven designed by legendary baker Mohindar Singh.  We searched high and low for traces of the oven---no luck.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.


Seriously, it's good to hear from you.  Hope all is well.


Howard


 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Neat Work! Howard. love your miche!! Nice iteration, and very nice crumb!


How did you brush off the flour on that loaf?


khalid

holds99's picture
holds99

I appreciate your kind words.  


For these two loaves, because of their size, I used two large cloth rope bannetons and generously coated the inside of the bannetons with a mix of 50% rice flour and 50% white all-purpose flour.  The dough is high hydration (71%), so the combination of rice and all-purpose flour ensures that the dough won't stick to the inside of the bannetons.  I use the same flour mix for all my bannetons, lined and unlined.


After the loaves cool on wire racks, I use a moderately stiff-bristled brush (kitchen scrubber brush, etc.) to remove the excess rice/AP flour from the tops of the loaves and the excess semolina flour from the bottoms of the loaves.  I suggest brushing the excess flour off into the kitchen sink.  Incidentally, the semolina flour, generously applied to the surface of the parchment paper where the loaves are rolled onto to bake, insulates the bottom of the loaves and keeps them from scorching.  


Best of luck with your baking.


Howard

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

to have you back, Howard!  What a gorgeous bake and you did a great job getting them into the oven.  I have really missed you on TFL.  I'm have some catching up to do.  I have had a wonderful weekend at the beach house in Laguna, CA. with my son, DIL, daughter and my four fantastic grandkids.


Sylvia

holds99's picture
holds99

It's good to be back among so many old friends.  Your kind words are greatly appreciated.  Glad you had a great time over the weekend at your beach house.  Sounds like it was fun for everyone.  It's always fun to be with the grandkids.


I'll write more later.


 Howard

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Welcome! Hope all has been well with you and Charlene. we've missed you! Your Miche's look great. Looking forward to more of your bakes.


Betty

holds99's picture
holds99

Good to hear from you.  Appreciate your complement and kind words.  Hope all is well with you and yours.  Charlene and I are doing well.  I finally wrapped up the project I was working on.  Sure glad it's over.  Now I'll have more time to indulge in some of the things that I love, like baking and reading.


It has been a long hot summer here in Florida.  It started getting hot early this year (May) and hasn't let up, and we haven't had much rain.  We're getting close to hurricane season and have our fingers crossed that we get through September without any serious storms.  A few years back, during Charley, Ivan, etc., we lost power for ten days.  Not bueno.


If they don't get that oil leak in the Gulf plugged soon the Gulf beaches, which are on the other side of the state from here, are going to be in really bad shape.  What a disaster.  No shortage of villians in that play.


Best to you and happy baking.


Howard

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Good Morning Howard:


  Your Miche looks awsome!  Wow!  It is beyond word.  Anyway, I would like to try to make it to  serve my family and to "shock" my "non baking" friends. I don't understand  this term since I am not very good at it yet:"  This recipe uses a double levain build, a total 14-18 hrs. total build, depending on room temperature (I used a tablespoon of mature culture, equal amounts all-purpose flour and water for each build (8 oz. water, 7 oz. flour))."  Does it means that you use 1 tbs. mature culture plus 8 oz water, 7 oz. flour then wait 7-8 hours and do it again?


When you said a mature culture, does it means that it must be "bubbling" or just newly fed?  I am sorry to have to ask for so many clarification but I want to be able to make a perfect miche too.



Thank you,


Mantana

holds99's picture
holds99

When I say "mature culture" I mean a sourdough culture that has been fully developed over, let's say a ten day build-from-scratch time period.  In short, it's the sourdough starter that you keep in a container in your fridge and refresh periodically.


The "double levain build" technique provides a super active levain that will really give your loaves lots of rise.  It goes like this:


1. Take a tablespoon of mature culture (starter from your jar or container in your fridge) and place it in a medium size container.  I use a 2 quart plastic food container with a lid. 


2. Add 8 oz of room temperature water to the starter and, using a wire whisk, thoroughly mix the starter with the water.


3. add 7 oz. of unbleached all-purpose flour to the water culture/starter solution in the bucket and mix the flour in thoroughly.  Cover and set aside for 10-12 hours.  If after 10 hours it hasn't at least doubled and is bubbly, turn on the oven light and put the covered container in the oven for a couple of hours to increase the heat and get the 1st build cranking.


4. After your 1st build has doubled in volume and is bubbly.  Add another 8 oz of water to the contents of the plastic bucket and mix it in thoroughly until you have a batter like consistency.


5. Add another 7 oz of unbleached all-purpose flour to the water culture/starter solution and mix the flour in thoroughly.  Cover and set aside.  This build will go much faster than the 1st build.  It should be doubled within a couple of hours, three hours at the most.


6. At this point you have your double-build levain and are ready to mix it with your final dough ingredients.  I always mix the final dough water into the levain mixture and then proceed to add the final dough flour to the levain/final dough water mixture until it turns into a shaggy mass.  Then autolyse (let it rest covered) for 20-30 minutes before adding the salt.  This autolyse is essential and allows the final dough flour to absorb water and start the fermentation process before adding the salt, as salt will inhibit the yeast and slow the rise if added before the autolyse.


Hope this helps.


Howard


 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Very appetizing looking loaves! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Howard, and your additional information regarding levain and banneton preparation.


I have a question regarding the soaker: did you already include the water to soak the cracked rye in your formula or do you have to add it? And the 30% spelt (I love spelt) Poilane uses in his miche - would you add it, or substitute it for the same amount of some of the other flours?


Greetings from Maine,


Karin


 


 


 

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate your complement and I'm always happy to share.


In that loaf I used a cracked rye, overnight soaker (equal amounts (1 cup each) of cracked rye and boiling water)  Because the soaker nearly completely absorbed all the water (it was only slightly damp when I incorporated it into the dough) I didn't include the water or cracked rye in the baker's formula calculation.  I don't believe it would be a significant enough amount of water to matter much.


As for substituting spelt, you most certainly could do that.  I have made Gerard Rubaud's Pain au Levain  a number of times and he uses spelt in small amounts.  The only thing you have to be careful with is rye flour.  It adds nice flavor, but produces no gluten and when used in large amounts become a drag on the crumb.  I've made some of Greenstein's loaves and they require an entirely different approach to the baking process.  Anyway, in my experience, when, and if, you use rye use it sparingly (7-10% max) if you want reasonably open crumb. 


On the other hand spelt is an ancient wheat, so it won't inhibit the crumb in the same way as rye.  I'm not sure of this but I think I read (or heard) that Rubaud uses a combination of rye and spelt (no more than 15% total rye and spelt) along with  white flour (85%) in his famous Pain au Levain.


What I try to do is find a mix of flours that fit my taste and give the best possible results.  Hope this helps.


Good luck with your baking,


Howard

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Hello Howard:


Thank you for your details information on the double built of the Levain!  I am now quite clear and  will try my hand at your Miche later on.


Mantana

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Thanks, for your prompt answer, Howard, I definitely will try to bake one.


Karin