The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Monster Miche

burnunit's picture

Monster Miche

I made a special miche for holiday family celebrating. This is the 2nd miche I've ever done, and by far the biggest loaf I've ever made in my short six months of really diving into bread. I have a batch of Carl's 1847 starter that I've been feeding for a few months now. I keep it at 50% hydration in my fridge and feed it once or twice a week. The recipe I did is pretty easy:

1. Carve out 225g of the starter (50% hydration so 150g of flour, 75g of water) and drop it in the mixing bowl. 

2. Add 1,142ml of cool water. Stir and break up the clump of starter as much as possible. 

3. Add 666g of high extraction flour (I used King Arthur first clear). I am not superstitious, so yes it really was the Flour Addition of the Beast for Christmas.

4. Stir to make a batter consistency. Let sit, covered, for 12 hours. 

5. Add 333g more high extraction flour. 

6. Add 333g bread flour (I used King Arthur again). 

7. Mix by hand until raggedy. Let sit, covered, for 8 hours at room temp*. 

8. Kneaded with dough hook for 3 minutes. Rested for 5 minutes.

9. Added 32g of salt (I used 16g of smoked Maldon + 16g of Alaskapure sea salt) and kneaded again with the hook for 5 minutes. Covered with plastic and refrigerated for 18 hours.

SO! That's

1482g of flour
1217ml of water
32g of salt

2.7kg of dough at just about 82% hydration? Bulk(and I mean bulk!) ferment for 16-18 hours. I went with 18.

10. Remove from fridge. After an hour at room temp, stretch and fold (I used dough scraper). 

11. Cover and let sit another 90 minutes. Stretch and fold (dough scraper again).

12. Cover and let sit 60 minutes. Stretch and fold. This time I was able to wet my mitts and handle the dough with my own hands. 

13. Cover and let sit 60 minutes. 

14. Turned on oven to 500. I had a new 15"pizza stone I put in at that time to warm up. Dusted that with a good dose of semolina and white corn meal. 

Oven Spring - That is a 15 inch stone, so loaf diameter was just over a foot.

15. Shape dough into a big ol sphere and put in a heavily floured, lined basket. This last stretch and shape I picked up the dough by hand and it stretched wonderfully—almost windowpane development and very strong—and stuck pretty much only to itself. 

16. Set the rising basket on the stove to let it warm for an hour. Looked kinda jiggly and puffy like a floured pale pudding.

17. Put my peel over the basket (derp. semolina everywhere.) and slowly peeled off the linen from the loaf. Big, round, intimidating. I swiped off some of the flour and slid it onto the stone. Slashed a simple X across the top. 

18. Threw 8 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven. 

19. After 5 minutes threw in 4 more cubes. 

20. At ten minutes I turned the oven down to 400. 

The Beast sprang from that new stone and filled out the space nicely. The outer edges baked up first, reaching finishing temp of 203 in 30 minutes or so.

21. The interior came on slow so I kept at it, nice and easy with the probe. I think total baking time was about 60-70 minutes. Let it get to 198 at the center before shutting down. I held the door open with a wooden spoon and let it cool overnight.

Took it to family activities the next day. We took the first slice about 2pm (bake+15hrs) on Christmas day. Terrific flavor and soft texture at the center. Chewy at the edges. 

22. The day after Christmas it's still holding strong with deeper flavor, and a richness. It toasts magnificently and I used a little homemade cultured butter to maximize my sense of Frenchiness.

BreadluruStanding up on the breadboard after slicing, my wife said it looked like a model of a mountain, with snow and everything. All it needed was a little train set. After slicing further, the backside looked a little like Uluru or something. 

It's served about 15 people already for Xmas dinner, and great with leftovers on Boxing Day. 

*Here's why my autolyse lasted 8 hours: I was planning for about 2 hours. But I got incredibly sick with profound gastrointestinal distress and sort of passed out from dehydration. I woke up, staggered down and kneaded-in the salt. Pitched the bag-covered mixing bowl in the fridge and fell back into bed until morning. 



dabrownman's picture

It just has to taste great.  Love your process and write up of it.  A labor, and workout,  of love for sure.

Happy New Year

isand66's picture

Nice looking Miche!  Must taste great.