Miche and more …
What better reason to bake than catching up with family and friends for lunch. On a hot humid Saturday we drove down to Nat’s parents for a lunch with old family friends from her childhood. In our possession was our contribution to lunch … bread. A bread based on Gérard Rubaud’s formula for Pain au Levain.
It’s a bread at 75% Hydration with 15% of the total flour in a stiff 50% hydration starter. Gérard uses a flour mixture of 70% AP flour, 18% fresh milled wheat, 9% fresh milled spelt and 3% fresh milled rye for both the starter and final dough.
Much has been written about Gérard Rubaud so I will not delve into this further. I will say this though … I love this bread! His story has been an ongoing inspiration for me.
I made two of the Pain au Levains at one kilogram each. I left one with our landlord and the other travelled with us to lunch. The friends we met (one of whom is Sicilian) reside in a northern Queensland town with a large Italian community. He was eager to try the bread and soon our conversation turned to pizza and woodfired ovens. His son has a small business running a pizza oven on a trailer at local events … we had lots to talk about and the lunch was lazy, delicious and full of laughter. The bread was very well received. Sorry no crumb shot as the bread disappeared fast.
Today I woke early to beat the heat and humidity we have been experiencing. The bake was to be nothing new ... 3 grain country bread with two starters ... Consistency was the aim. The night before I spent milling, sifting and preparing starters. Also on a happy note, I have sourced some rye grains that are performing well compared to the previous batch.
I doubled my usual formula as I was making two x 1kg batards and a 2kg miche.
Slap and folding 4kgs of dough was lively start to my day. The dough came together smoothly and with a little help from some icebricks and a cooler bag I was able to control the temperature through bulk ferment while watching it like a hawk.
I proved the miche for 1 hour 45 mins while the batards went straight into the fridge to wait patiently…
The miche was baked first … slightly underproved … damn.
The batards came next … very pleased. Lovely gringe and a dramatic look … happy.
I sliced open the miche in the afternoon and was greeted with plenty of flavour and aroma that will only improve as the days go on.
The evening is around us now and a quiet night waits. The oven is cool and I need a rest.
All the best,