Here is a miche that uses a large proportion of high-extraction flour. Heartland Mill's Golden Buffalo is great for this. This is probably the heartiest bread I have ever made.
The recipe is here.
Susan, this is a wonderful looking loaf as usual. The scoring is just beautiful and the crumb looks just outstanding. I love Golden Buffalo, thanks to Bill for initially bringing it to my attention. I have made Thom Leonard Country French using only Golden Buffalo and no white flour and it makes a fantastic loaf. I am sure going to try your recipe for this one. Great miche!
Thank you ZolaBlue. I too just love working with the Golden Buffalo. I wish I could find a local source for it instead of having to order from the mill.
I do love this miche country style loaf, as you probably have noticed along the way. I did a couple of Thom Leonard Country French loaves with the Golden Buffalo flour similar in ways to this recipe a while back (photo, and photo), encouraged by ZB to use the Golden Buffalo for the flour in the recipe. It looks like this is another nice example of the GB flour in recipes for "high extraction" flour. I was interested in your approach with two intermediate builds and a fairly high inoculation for the final dough. If you have a chance, could you elaborate on what you see as the pros and cons of doing it that way? I've been using smaller inoculations and just one levain in most of mine - or no levain and longer rise of the final dough. Also, I usually find the miche recipes I do with more whole grain get a bit of a sour aftertaste I'm not fond of when I've tried to retard them, but it occured to me that it might not be the same with this high extraction GB flour. Any thoughts on that topic or rules of thumb you've discovered?
I have admired your miches, as well as the ones others have showcased here recently. This was the first time I've made any at home, inspired by all of you (which I should have said in my OP).
I adapted this recipe from my recent course at SFBI. Although home bakers are welcome, the courses there are primarily geared towards professional bakers and, as such, always keep in mind production schedule as an important factor. One great thing about this recipe is that it has a very convenient schedule with large blocks of resting time punctuated with relatively short periods of attention-requiring activity. In a bakery with a retarder (50F), it would go something like this:
4PM: first feeding
8AM: levain final build
4PM: mix final dough, then 30-40 minutes of first fermentation (the brevity of which is permitted by the large amount of prefermented flour; I upped it to 45 min because my room temp is cooler than most bakeries)
Then divide and shape the loaves (no intermediate proof needed, as this would favor the loaves keeping a more tall rounded shape, as opposed to flattened as a miche should be) and directly into the retarder (but I don't have one, so it's about 2h of RT proof, then into the fridge)
And you're outta there by 5:30PM
The miches are baked first thing the next morning. Easy!
As noted, it was a bit more time-consuming for me at home, but not much. A very convenient bread to make. I mixed the final dough after work on Friday and had the shaped loaves retarding in the fridge in time to go out for dinner.
The two levain builds are just a way of getting that large amount of prefermented flour that's needed for this. The flavor is assertively sour, which I like. It's not battery acid sour though (which I don't like), and the wheat flavor really shines.
I get more of a bitter than sour aftertaste with whole grains, but that is not really a problem with the GB flour as most of that bitter taste comes from the bran and the GB has all but about 10% (I think) of the bran removed. It has all the germ, though. I really love it and use it often.
Susan: I've been ordering Giusto's flours in bulk from a local heath food store, as I know you have as well. Do you know anything about their Organic Old Mill? They faxed me their listing of 'Flour Description and Applications'. Organic Old Mill is described as: "Unbleached flour with wheat germ and bran middling. 12.5%-13% protein. Made from the highest quality certified 100% Hard Red Winter Wheat." Under applications, they suggest to use it for long fermentation and sourdough levain. It sounds like it could be Golden Buffalo in reverse -- white flour with some bran and germ added, rather than whole wheat with some of the bran extracted.
Had been hoping to try this bread this weekend, but other obligations intervened. Perhaps next weekend. Thanks, Liz
I'm not familiar with Giusto's Old Mill. Sounds like the net result could be very similar to Golden Buffalo. Does the info Giusto's sent you include the ash content? This is a reflection of the flour's relative bran content and may offer one estimate of how close the two flours are. Heartland Mills lists Golden Buffalo as approximately 1.13% ash (a white flour typically is around 0.5%).
Looking forward to seeing your miche, whenever you get to it!
Susan: I did not obtain lab data on any Giusto's products, flours or grains, so I do not know the ash content of their organic Old Mill. Such data must be available as so many Western artisan bakeries use their products (I believe Acme in Berkeley buys from Guisto's). I will try to contact them again to ask for some analyses on their flours.
It's such a pleasure to use Heartland Mill flours as they make all the lab data readily available, but, of course, they have Thom Leonard associated with them. I wish Heartland flours and grains were distributed in California.
Looking forward to trying your miche fomula. It looks like the kind of bread that I will really enjoy.
Don't know if you saw the photos I posted recently of some Poiliane loaves. A local gourment food store sells small hunks of Poilane loaves, including the sourdough miche. While it was very good, I was surprised (and perhaps just slightly delighted) that I wasn't knocked out. I would bet that your miche gives Le Pain Poilane some serious competition!
Is the Poilane hugely expensive to buy here? I think I recall seeing that you can have it shipped for something like $40 per loaf!
We spent a week in Paris this spring and found the Poilane shop where we purchased one miche. I'm not sure I would say it knocked us off our feet either, but it was definitely one of the best breads we had while there (we actually had some very bad baguettes in Paris, believe it or not). Our mistake was waiting until the week was half over, as the loaf was so big that the three of us could not finish it by the time we left. I recall it being not quite as sour as my miche.
Ditto on the Heartland Mills flours. The shipping is so expensive I really wish we could get it here in California.
I purchased my Poilane loaves from Bristol Farms. The "Sourdough Country Loaf" sells for $5.89/lb. My 1.01 lb piece was $5.95, so it was a great way to try it without a sizable investment. Bristol Farms claims that the bread is flown in from Paris on Wednesdays, and sold on Thursdays, althought I thought the bread tasted a bit stale. The most interesting quality of the bread, I think, was the flour. Difficult to describe, but it had a dry, mineral quality taste. Kind of flinty. Bristol Farms also sold a rye currant Poilane loaf, which I really liked. Very dense and moist, more of a breakfast style loaf that one would eat with a creamy mild cheese.
I also had Poilane loaves in Paris about 10 years ago. Thought they were really good at the time. We ate in some extraordinary restaurants where the breads were divine, but I have no idea of their provenance.
Eric Kayser has opened two bread stores in Los Angeles and I am anxious to try them out. I ordered his book on bread (only available in French). This could be quite a challenge (I think my last French class was c. 1969), although I have found food related books have a universality that extend beyond language. Two French speaking faculty members where I work have volunteered as back-up if my French and/or culinary skills fail!