The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How long to bake a 3 lb miche?

Berti's picture

How long to bake a 3 lb miche?

because of a "mishap" when baking my usual pain au levain, I ended up with a lot of dough making two 3 lb miches.

when baking early morning I accidentally (wasn't awake enough yet) underbaked them at 45 mins 450F/230 C.

when I discovered the problem I reheated the oven and baked them additional 20 minutes.

what baking time would you recommend otherwise? I will aim for 70/80 mins next time.

now they are out of the oven, center  temp was 200F/100C, have started crackling right away when cooling (the sound of crust, to speak with peter reinhart!)

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Only a thermometer will tell you–and with a 3 lb miche, you'll want to check the temp. at the center and the edges.

If at sea level, 195-200 F (+5 F) is probably sufficent.

Mason's picture

For the 2kg (4.4 lb) pound behemoth miche I made last year, I baked this way:

  • Oven preheated to 500F with pizza stones and a pan of lava rocks.  I preheated for a good 45 minutes, to ensure the oven kept its heat well when a loaf this huge was inserted.
  • Insert bread. Steam for 10 minutes.
  • Lower heat to 425F for another 25 Minutes
  • Rotate loaf, drop heat to 400F and bake another 25 minutes or so, until internal temp is above 195F

The high initial heat gets the crust good and crackly.  The lower heat for finishing ensures that the crust does not burn before the inside is baked.

For a miche like this, it helps also to let it completely cool before cutting it (which is always very difficult for me to do).  The bread continues to steam, and for a loaf this big, that is a bit longer than regular loaves.

Mine had 24 hours cold retardation (to develop the really sour flavor I was aiming for), but then 1 1/2 hours at room temp before baking.  If you are baking from cold dough (you said you were not awake enough yet, so perhaps?), it might take even longer, I guess. Some others on this site have had more experience than I with baking from cold dough.

The most important thing is to get a digital thermometer, the kind that has a long stake you plunge into the center of the (bottom of ) a loaf to measure its internal temperature.  (This is the one I use.)  Use it to test every loaf that comes out of the ocven.  (Reinhat gives "done when internal temp is at least X degrees" guides for all his breads.)  

A miche like this will be baked well when its internal temp is about 195 degrees F.  Times will vary by the size of the loaf.  The internal temp is the key.

vtsteve's picture

When I'm baking miche (Hamelman's, 84% hydration) I keep the oven door cracked open after the first 20 minutes to let some of the moisture escape - it's possible for these big loaves to be fully cooked, but still too wet inside. I preheat to 475F, load the bread and turn the oven down to 440F. Total bake time is around 80 minutes. If the crust is getting dark too quickly, I'll lower the oven temperature to 420F, but I don't shorten the bake time. I go by crust color and the 'thump test' - if it's dark enough and it sounds hollow when I thump the bottom, it's done.