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Poilane-Style Miche and need for advice on a smoother crumb

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Poilane-Style Miche and need for advice on a smoother crumb

A few days ago I baked a couple of loaves of Poilane-Style Miche from PR's BBA and they did ok but the crumb was tougher and waxier than I would have liked. Can people familiar with this recipe tell me how I might make the crumb lighter?  Should I put in a couple of eggs? Milk? Vegetable oil?  Since I am a novice I am reluctant to substitute with recipes I am not familiar with.

Please note below that since I have no easy access to medium grind WW flour I have, as P.Reinhart suggested, gone with the 50/50 of bread flour /WW flour alternative.  

The recipe is as follows: 

Firm Starter

.......1 cup Barm

.......2 cups Sifted medium grind whole wheat flour* ( 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup WW flour) 

........1/2 cup of water 

Final Dough

.......7 cups  Sifted medium grind whole wheat flour* (3.5 cups Bread Flour,3.5 cups WW flour)
.......2 T Coarse sea salt
.......2-2 ¾ cups Water, lukewarm

ps: note to David, yes, I have RTFM......several times. 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, CountryBoy. 

Man, I'm flattered to be remembered. ;-) 

I've made this bread many times. It has a rather dense crumb. Of the 2 formulas I've tried that attempt to approximate  the original of Lionel Poilane's miche, Reinhart's comes the closer. The other one is in Daniel Leader's "Local Breads." 

If you want a more open crumb in a miche, Hamelman's Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere may do it for you. It is a much wetter dough. But, if you want a "lighter" crumb, by which I assume you mean more tender, you are looking for a different bread. 

I make few "enriched" breads, so others may be able to give you better advice, but I think milk is the ingredient most often used to tenderize a bread. 

David

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

CountryBoy, I've also made lots of those Miches.

 

Reinhart gives a wide range of water in that recipe.  Personally I don't go there to try to enrich it, you can likely get the crumb you want by handling, hydration, flour proportion, etc.

 

The Pointe a Calliere miche is an interesting lesson in handling the dough, as it's sort of underkneaded, then intermittent folds make up the difference.  It's a very hydrated miche, i think it's over 80% while the Reinhart is more like 60 if I'm recalling correctly, hydration aside, I think Hamelman's suggested handling also contributes to a tender crumb.

 

With the 50/50 ratio and the more available gluten from the bread flour, maybe there was relatively too much kneading.  Hamelman also suggests more like an 85/15 blend of ww/white, to simulate the high extraction flour.

 

I would suggest you try the Pointe-a-Calliere, then evaluate what you're after.  It's an amazing bread with a lighter and more holier crumb than the BBA.  I love that Miche (Pointe a Calliere), I really recommend you try it, then you can evaluate the formula from there.  Then if you still feel the need to enrich, go from there, but I think it's possible and nice to have a miche where a pleasant and moist crumb comes from handling, hydration, and flour.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 Ok, then with the The Pointe a Calliere miche could you please clarify for me where it says on page 165 of Hamelman's book that

7. BAKING. With normal steam, at 440F for 60 minutes. Reduce the temp to 420F after 15 minutes.  Due to high water content the bread requires a long and full bake.

Does that mean to start at 440F for 15 minutes and then for another 45 minutes at 420F?  Thanks.

 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

My thanks to Bill, buns of steel, et. al. for your feed back.

I have successfully made the Miche (Pointe a Calliere) and am amazed especially with how much oven pop I got from it.  In this my first year of baking I have had about only 5-6 real successes and this is definitely one of them.

Now back to the original question of how to make the crumb soft..??  Do I start with a cup of scalded milk or 2 eggs.  What is the difference and what is the proper amount.

I still can not believe that I did this.......

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

And many thanks for your very informed guidance. Most appreciated.

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

That's how I interpreted it Country Boy, I think that's right.  Those were frustrating instructions to me also, because if you didn't read past the step you're at, you wouldn't see the next instruction to drop the heat.

 

Now I went by internal temperature, and it took a little less, I think about 10 minutes less, but my oven might have been on the hot side.  Just a heads up to check if it's done sooner if you have an external read thermometer. 

 

The hardest part is the not cutting into it for the length of time he says ;) .  The other trickyness is the folding process as the dough is so wet, so just be well prepared and well floured as he says, work quickly before it would stick to the counter.  Have a pastry brush nearby in case you want to brush off excess IMO.

 

I'm starting one today.  I've been craving it since this thread :) . 

 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Many thanks for the guidance; most appreciated.

I will be baking mine next week and will let you know how it comes out.

Hamelman says the loaf will be low and with holes.  I wonder if it is possible to have it with a bit of height and no holes.....?

bwraith's picture
bwraith

CountryBoy,

The hydration makes a big difference. You can go from fairly dense, with small regular holes, to fairly light with large irregular holes just by varying the amount of water from a relatively stiff dough to a very loose, soft dough that will be harder to handle.

Since you are using part whole wheat and part white, I would suggest soaking the whole wheat flour in the water overnight in the refrigerator. It makes a big difference.

I think it can also be helpful to the texture to use a smaller starter than in the BBA. You can cut it in half and put the ingredients you cut out of the starter in the final dough. The bulk fermentation will be an hour or so longer because of doing it that way.

I've had better results by shaping before the the bulk fermentation has resulted in a doubling of volume. I shape when it has increased in volume by about 50% or a little more. If the final proof is allowed to go on too long, that can result in a dense crumb, too.

Bill

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Bill many thanks for the suggestion for

...soaking the whole wheat flour in the water overnight in the refrigerator.

Are you also saying that with more water in the mix it will be softer and with fewer holes as well? 

I will do as you suggest and report back next week when I bake a POINTE-A-CALLIERE MICHE recipe from Hamelman.

Many thanks. 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

CountryBoy,

A stiff dry dough will tend to be somewhat more dense with small, regular holes. At the other end of the spectrum, a very wet dough will normally have large, irregular holes. I'm suggesting you split the difference and see how you like that result. The dough should stretch a little if you hold up one end of it, but it shouldn't spread out too quickly if you drop it on the counter. With a lot of water, the dough is so slack it will spread out in seconds as you watch it. It will feel very wet and be hard to pick up without having it flow out of your hands. With very little water, the dough will be a fairly stiff ball that resists stretching and will tend hold its shape if you pick it up. In between, the ends will stretch slowly and stretch away from your hands if you pick it up in the center, but it will take minutes to relax and spread out if you put it on the counter.

Once you have tried a medium consistency in between a dry dough and a very wet dough, then you may want to fine tune from there. Adding some powdered milk and/or some olive oil or other fat will soften the crumb, make the holes more regular, and probably make it seem a little more moist internally. That's worth a try, too, depending on what you're after. It's a little hard to describe the differences caused by hydration, milk, and oil. The best thing is probably to slowly vary one by one each of these ingredients. I suggest first trying a little more water but not all the way to a very wet dough. Then, you might try a little olive oil. After that, a little milk. One of these changes will probably be more in the direction you want.

Bill

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Bill, thanks for your very comprehensive clarification.  Most appreciated.

 

 

 

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

I've been curious about the soaking of WW flour.  Would I be way off the mark in thinking soaking helps soften the bran part of the flour so that it does not break up the gluten structure so much?

 

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

glad to read in the other thread that the Pointe a Calliere Miche worked out for you.

 

You mentioned wanting a little more height on it... For better height I transfer this Miche on Parchment, to try to disturb the loaf a little less.  I do get slightly better height from disturbing it less and a smoother quicker transfer, then when I do it "naked" with just semolina or something on the bottom.  I'm liking that hydration level, so I'm not willing to part with any of the water.  With Hamelman's technique, the loaf isn't overproofed, and the structure is good, so there can still be decent height on it IMO.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Hi and thanks.  Yes I am now getting the right height by not having quite so long a time in either the fermentation or the proofing process.  It has turned out to be absolutely excellent.

I start another one tonight this time using 2 cups of milk instead of water so as to soften it up a bit.