I have always been taken by the photos of European bakery's that produce large loaves of bread. The Polain Miche is the shining example of bread for the week. After all of the beautiful posts of miche breads here recently, I let my inner drive get the best of me and decided to make as large a bread as I could manage on my stone. I made a mix consisting of about 7% rye and 93% bread flour. The levain contained 10% dark rye and the balance was fresh ground whole rye. I also added some toasted wheat germ. I basically followed David's Miche post except I used rye instead of whole wheat.
The 2300 gram dough was too large for my sfbi large linen basket so I proofed the rather slack dough in a large plastic steep sided bowl with a couche linen cloth lining the bowl. The dough nearly filled the bowl when starting the proof time and it turns out my couche cloth could have been larger. I let the dough proof for just over 1 hour after a 3 hour ferment time that produces a nice aerated and active dough.
I have been happy with my results shaping these higher hydration doughs recently. I dumped the dough out onto a floured counter and pull the dough edges up around the circumference to the center. Much like making a kaiser roll. Then I roll the ball over and let it rest for 20 minutes or so covered with a large bowl. After resting, I leave the ball on the seamed side and tighten by pushing it around the un-floured counter top and drawing the skin ever tighter in the process. Finally, I dust the top of the ball with my rice flour and AP combination, pick up the ball and place it, inverted in the banetton (in this case, my jury rigged bowl). Proofing was done in the microwave following boiling a cup of water to warm it up. It was Zero last night with 40 mph winds so the kitchen was a little cooler than I would have liked for proofing.
The oven was turned on at 500f when the proofing started. I knew this wasn't going to be fully proofed due to the size of the dough in the bowl. After an hour, I inverted the dough onto a sheet of parchment dusted with corn meal and I'm amazed at how well it stood up. Had it pancaked, I would of not been able to keep it on the paper.
Forgive me for attempting to score with breadsong's wonderful looking Miche in mind. Hers is so beautiful I had to try my hand. Trust me it's not as easy as it looks or rather as easy as breadsong makes it look. I ham fistedly made some cuts that (as my artist wife pointed out) were too deep. Lol I'll learn for next time.
Baked for 20 minutes at 450F then another 35 minutes at 430F, I gave it the anti alien treatment (foil cover) for the last 12 minutes when I rotated the browning boule. It sang loud and clear as it cracked and popped during cooling. This is a large loaf of bread. My family is wondering what I was thinking. Cheese Fondue is on the menu this evening.
The flavor has a mild tang but was not retarded. The rye helps bring out the acids that deliver those flavors. Moderately aerated, the cells are nicely gelatinous. A chewy mouth feel and nice aroma from the bold bake can be tasted. I do think the flavor would have benefited from an overnight cold fermenting. So then, here it is. My Jumbo Miche.
It's hard to get a sense of scale here. Note the bread is as wide as the sheet pan.
My stalks of grain look like redwoods lol.
A slice off the end reveals a nicely aerated crumb.