The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poilane-Style My Miche (BBA-Peter Reinhart)

theuneditedfoodie's picture
theuneditedfoodie

Poilane-Style My Miche (BBA-Peter Reinhart)

 

I am on a roll and it is called the sourdough-juggernaut insane roll. I mean what else do you expect in a despondent economy like ours? For a miserable proletariat like myself, who is underemployed, partly circumstances/partly choice, what better way to spend your days than to bake up some bread.

More recently, I ventured into the bread that I have long admired, this one being the Poilane-Style Miche from Peter Reinhart. Now, Lionel Poilane as a lot of bread enthusiasts would understand is clearly the best baker in Paris and so obviously the best baker in the world. It would be any bread fanatic’s wildest dream to be an apprentice in Boulangerie Poilane, someday. To my understanding, the Boulangerie Poilane even ships their famous miche loaves to the United States. I mean it may sound truly insane, but there have been days when I have actually thought of buying it and getting it shipped. But I have been resisting, for hopefully if I can save enough by next year and my stars finally do get aligned, I would love to go to Boulangerie Poilane in person and pay homage to one of the best bakers of my time.

As I was getting started with my mission miche, I was also excited since I started my sourdough adventures it would have been my first date with an almost whole-wheat sourdough bread, since the only thing that wasn’t whole wheat was the barm (mother starter), made up of bread/ white flour. In my heart of hearts, I have always been a little scared of everything other than the bread/white flour, for usually the crumb always tends to be a little tight and dense, particularly when the percentage of whole-wheat is almost 100%.  Now, I knew about this occurrence even before jumping into mission miche, but nevertheless the idea of reproducing a miche by your own hands was seductive enough for me to get into it.

My first major issue in the process came upon while going through the windowpane test. I mean I have successfully administered the windowpane test for the bread/white flour; however, I seriously started questioning during this procedure- if a windowpane process actually exists for whole-wheat flour? I mean, I understand it is a lot harder for the gluten to develop in whole-wheat, but at the same time I didn’t want to over-knead my dough. 

 

Also, with issues of kneading, proofing and baking, I had cut the original quantity in half. This way it was much easier to control the beast.  My final fermentation of the dough took place in a glass bowl, which I have started to question is a good idea or not, for some reason it tends to lose shape often, though not so much in this case, perhaps it was something to do with whole-wheat.  Just before launching my miche in the oven, I made some cuts or let’s say tried to. Now, I am not sure during making cuts, if one should just do it once and let it be, or actually sometimes go back and try to go deeper in the second or third turn. During this attempt, I went with the latter.

The miche stayed in the oven for slightly shorter time than Reinhart had suggested in the book, since my quantity had been cut into half from the original amount. Just to be on a safe side, I did check the temperature of the loaf and it had reached 205 degree Fahrenheit, before I took it out.  The miche looked good, not exactly like the Reinhart one or perhaps anywhere close to that but just about satisfactory. 

Cutting into the loaf the next day was a slight challenge, definitely had to use some strength to open it up. And even though the crumb was slightly dense as predicted, the flavors were amazing; you could really taste the sourdough in it. Also, the crust was wonderful. The interesting aspect was that even though the loaf was considerably heavy while holding it, while biting through it- it actually felt pretty light!

 

Comments

JamesKirk's picture
JamesKirk

Hey UnEditedFoodie! Seems we are somewhat parallel pathways to the oven. I got into some heavy duty, everyday baking with my SD barm the past few months. While I haven't been ecstatic with my results, the journey has been enjoyable, and barring a brick here and there, the product quite edible. Unfortunately, one of those bricks occurred during my first attempt at that miche ;( Plus my sour flavor is, well less sour & not a whole lot of flavor! But I'm keeping at it because I suspect this is what one does to get better. I think I may start a new sourdough starter a per Reinhardt's instructions. Best of luck to us!

theuneditedfoodie's picture
theuneditedfoodie

James,

Baking with sourdough has been fantastic, I mean the thought of not utilizing industrial yeast, but actually something that you grow/feed in your own house and eventually create your own bread with it, only adds to the fun of baking. Yes, there have been breads, where I felt the bread could have been more sour- but then again its just the beginning. So far I have baked four sourdough breads, currently in the process of the fifth. I too have been thinking about starting a sourdough starter myself, for the one that I have was passed on to me by a friend who started it in South Africa in 2010. I definitely agree with you miche's can turn out like a brick indeed, fortunately even though my miche was pretty solid from the outside- once I cut into it, it turned out to be pretty decent, though definitely dense. Goodluck indeed.

 

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Theuneditedfoodie, hi. After you have a starter and have refreshed it over and over, hasn't it become "yours"? Isn't it now whatever any starter would become if you refresh in the same way each time? I thought it lost it's original characteristics and adapted over time. If it works, would a new one be better? It looks like you are doing things right as they are.  Jean P. (VA)

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Raj, you might want to go over to YouTube to check for video information on the Poilane bakery. I know that some members here on TFL have posted on their experiences at the Paris bakery and those posts should be in the archived threads in the Forum. One of Reinhardt's books mentions his journey deep into the production areas of the Poilane bakery in Paris and the new facility outside of the city proper. Finally, you could call the Whole Foods stores in Overland Park to see if they have the loaf there. It may be available in quarter loaf sizes. Have fun!

PG

theuneditedfoodie's picture
theuneditedfoodie

I have seen some videos of the Poilane bakery on youtube, although I would definitely check again. Now, did you mean that at Whole Foods in Overland Park they have the Poilane's Miche from Paris? I definitely have seen it a few times, but always thought it was perhaps produced locally by Farm to Market Bread Co.

-Raj