The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

miche pointe à callière, Tartine procedure

arlo's picture

miche pointe à callière, Tartine procedure

The past few loaves I've baked since I have moved into my new apartment at the start of the new year have been variations on the Tartine Bread whole wheat dough. Out of the five or six whole wheat loaves I have baked, I have been very, very pleased with the results. More often the crumb is remarkably open for such high percentage of whole wheat, the crumb is moist, the tang, though not assertive, lies in the background for an added depth of flavor. All in all, a lovely loaf of bread I am quite proud of and have shared with friends and family with high praise.

I thought about why this recipe makes such tasty loaves time after time for me, and then, like a good culinary student and baker, I asked myself, "What have I acquired and learned from this recipe that I can take and use in my future bakes that I haven't used before?".

I have implemented natural leavening to many doughs before and have been impressed, but I knew it wasn't just that with this recipe. It then struck me, perhaps, it wasn't the ingredients as much as the method/procedure used for the formula that helps create some excellent loaves time after time. So I went back to a book I have cherished in my baking career; Bread, by Mr. Hamelman, and attempted a loaf that has troubled me often; Miche pointe a calliere.

I feel there is no need for me to post the recipe since I am sure it can be found on this site, and if not, let this just be another great reason on why this book should be purchased. But I did alter the recipe slightly to fit my schedule, and to match the Tartine procedure, which I will go into detail now.

I developed a stiff levain before work around 2:15 a.m. using freshly milled (from my work) higher extraction flour by blending freshly ground wheat berries with Sir Galahad flour at a ratio of about 81%. After unsuccessfully having attempted to purchased Type 65 flour from King Arthur and also germ restored flour, since my supplier would have required me to order a pallet, I spoke to Mr. Robert Smith from King Arthur who pointed me toward attempting to create my own type 65 flour (for later use) and high extraction flour through my mill at work. If making this at home, just blend KAF AP and Whole wheat flour together at around 80% whole wheat to all-purpose to end up with similar flour that is needed.

After my shift ended at 11 am, I returned home where my levain was about ripened. I mixed the final dough together by hand holding back the salt at noon with my ripe levain, this does differ from Tartine since I wanted to see how much of the original recipe I could retain without changes. I performed an autolyse of around one hour. I added the salt, mixed by hand by pinching the dough and doing some stretch and folds in the bowl. 

When the salt felt like it was appropriately mixed, I transfered the dough to a 3 quart bucket (double the size of the dough) and let it sit while I set a timer for thirty minutes. Much like Tartine, I preformed four stretch and folds in two hours to the dough every thirty minutes. When 2.5 hours rounded the clock, the dough was adequately strengthened and I let it nearly double in size, taking a total of around 3.75 hours.

I shaped the loaf into two 1.5 lb loaves, saving the extra dough for a pate fermentee in the week, and refridgerated the shaped loaves to be baked when I was to awake.

I finished the loaves off like suggested in Tartine, dutch oven, or combo cooker with 20 minutes of covered time and right around 18 minutes uncovered. The final loaves looked great, though the boule was a bit flat compaired to the batard. Both loaves had a nice crumb, a bit less opened than expected, but to my liking consisted of a rather creamy, soft chew with that nice miche tang I have had with prior Hamelman miche experiences. Most likely amplified by implementing Tartine retardation procedures to the loaves.

I have been eating the boule and I happily took the other loaf to work to be ran through our slicer and shared amoung friends who thought it was rather tasty too.

Pictures can be seen here:

Though this procedure is nothing really new here at TFL, considering lots of fellow bakers have been using S&F over timed intervals to develop strength, I have not been until now. I had been following Hamelman, Reinhart, ect. recipes closely and never gave thought to take other methods into consideration for their formulas. I am thankful I did this time though since it turned out to be a tasty experience.

That's it for now really, I have some Reinhart bagels retarding, puff pastry in the fridge and my culinary program starting up again this week. So until I get time to blog for my benefit and hopefully someone elses, take care!



MichaelH's picture

This must have been a fun experiment, and it turned out so well!

Your miche looks delicious and you successfully applied your experience to a new method. Pretty satisfying.

I was interested in your comments about blending your own high extraction flour. I have been sifting mine and it works well, but I haven't tried blending commercial flours with fresh ground as you did. For what it's worth, my own research among several sources echoed your technique; the consensus seems to be 75%-85% AP or Bread flour with the balance made up of Whole Wheat, either commercial or fresh.


arlo's picture

I followed what Hamelman suggested when it came to percentages, which also was very close to what Robert Smith suggested as well when I talked to him. I thought the results were pleasant and I am sure similar results could be gained from not using freshly ground flour though.

Thanks for the comment!

Franko's picture

Nice going Arlo!

I'd say you nailed it, those loaves are gorgeous. The chevron scoring is as good as any I've seen...ever. As far as the boule being a bit flat just remember that Hammelman in his side notes to the recipe says [" the baked loaves are large, somewhat flat in appearance"]. Great bread and post!

Best Wishes,


wally's picture

I think the profile you have is dead on what is to be expected from this.  We baked this at KA when I took a course from Hamelman and James MacGuire (whose recipe JH used in Bread).  It yields a flat profile, but a very tasty bread.

Nice bake!


SallyBR's picture

Loved the photos, and your description of how you made them - congratulations, I'm sure you feel great about the way they turned out!

I loved the scoring, and the pattern  of flour you managed to get on the surface - maybe one day I'll master that  (sigh)


breadsong's picture

Hi arlo, I too love that flour pattern on the batard - the wavy lines remind me of tree limbs or branches and your scoring of leaves. Truly beautiful.
Thanks so much for sharing your method and photos! From breadsong

dmsnyder's picture

I've been thinking along the same lines - making the Miche, Pointe-à-Callière entirely by hand, using stretch and folds as in the Tartine breads. I want to use the T85 flour from Central Milling though for my next bake of this bread.

It's the P-à-C or the SFBI Miche, which we made entirely by hand. Hard to decide, since both are fabulous breads.

So many tweaks to try, and so little time! My acquisition of a grain mill has only complicated the decision.

Beautiful loaves from you oven!


hansjoakim's picture

That's a very nice looking miche, arlo! Judging from the crust and crumb colour, it's certainly a bread with lots of character and flavour. Lovely, inspirational write-up too!

Mebake's picture

Thumbs Up to you, Arlo! Indeed, very nice loaves!


arlo's picture

Thanks all for the comments!

Hans, glad to see you by the way, I haven't noticed one of your fantastic 'bread and a pastry' post so I had become slightly worried you might be too busy to bake!

rhomp2002's picture

I have been making the Tartine Bread lately using a mix of flours.  The original Country Loaf uses 90% Bread/AP flour and 10% WW.  My favorite blend so far is 75% Bread flour, 15% WW and 10% Rye.   I want to take this blend and put some seeds in it to see how that works out.   The only changes I have made to the recipe is that instead of putting 700 ml water I put in about 650 ml water and then gradually more water if it needs it a little at a time.  Seems the various blends all need differing amounts of water.   The Tartine Technique really does produce a superior bread and I love it.   So easy to do if you pay attention to what you are doing.

The one part that I find a bit confusing is the bulk rising.   My landlord is rather stingy with the heat and I can't control it so I have to kind of wing it on how long to bulk rise to get the right time to finish the bread.   I think I figured a way to do it.  I do the bulk rise in the bathroom.  I run the shower on full hot water and then put the bread in there.  After an hour I run the shower again on full hot water and  continue the bulk rise.  I think that is giving me the temperatures I need.  I know the last couple of loaves have really turned out better.