The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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GSnyde's picture



I generally follow trends slavishly, but I can’t get into the nine-pound-miche thing that seems to have taken TFL by storm.  In fact my one and only complaint about miches is they are too large for my small (albeit voracious) family of only two carbovores.  I know they can be divided and a piece frozen, but they’re never as good thawed as fresh.

So what does one do if one loves the flavor and texture of a miche but wants smaller loaves???  I pondered this for several long minutes, and then I settled on the idea of trying a radical experiment.  What if one made a miche dough, and then (gasp!) divided it into two boules!!??   Though I risk the disapproval of the Mega-Miche adherents, I took the risk in the spirit of bread science and the quest for the perfect loaf. 

I am among the seeming thousands of TFLers who have tried and admired the SFBI Miche my Big Brother David posted about five weeks ago (   It has a magnificent caramel flavor and an admirably chewy crumb.  My favorite variation on that formula is to use 50% Central Milling Organic Type 85 high extraction flour and 50% Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft (Malted) white flour, as described in my 1/30/11 blog post (

So this week, I used the SFBI formula but with that flour combination (and no wheat germ), and then after primary fermentation I divided the 1250 gram dough ball into two boules and plunked them into small brotforms.  After a night in the fridge and 150 minutes on the counter, they were baked with Sylvia’s magic steam towels for 20 minutes at 450F, and then dry for 35 minutes more at 430F.


Besides having loaves of a size we can eat, the shorter bake time produced a rich dark crust with no burned spots.  And who can complain about the higher crust ratio of a mini-miche?

The flavor is more-or-less the same as the full-sized version, wheaty and moderately sour.  And the crust is similarly crunchy.  The crumb may be a bit more airy. 


A successful experiment. 

And here’s my day’s baking output, the mini-miches with the Vienna Bread Dutch Crunch rolls.


A good baking day.



GSnyde's picture



Since the start of my baking adventure (only six months ago), I have been searching for the perfect sandwich roll, one with a thin, crispy crust, a tender crumb so it’s squishable, but dense enough so it holds together with a burger or saucy filling, and airy but not too holey.  I had good success with SylviaH’s excellent bun formula (  

Then, Dvuong posted about Reinhart’s Vienna Bread rolls with Dutch Crunch topping (from BBA) a few days ago (   And I baked them today.  The formula made enough dough for eight potato-shaped rolls of 4.5 oz each.



I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered this formula before!  It’s even in a book I’ve been enjoying baking with.  It’s a tasty white bread with a little egg , a little sugar and a little butter, using a good proportion of pate´ fermenteé.  The texture is just what I’ve been looking for.   The Dutch Crunch topping adds a nice …ummm…crunchiness.

They were perfect for turkey sandwiches.  I also think this formula would be good for dinner rolls or a pan loaf, maybe topped with sesame seeds.

My Number One Taster says I’ll be baking these rolls again.  And  so I know I will.  Pretty soon she’ll have so many favorites I’ll need to stop experimenting with new things.

Thanks--again!!--Professor Reinhart.  And thanks for lead, dvuong!  This is a winner!



dmsnyder's picture

The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread has been one of my favorite breads and was my favorite miche for a long time. It's been quite a while since I last baked it. Since then, I've been doing more hand mixing of doughs I formerly machine mixed. I've found a new and wonderful high-extraction flour, Central Milling's “Organic Type 85.” And last, but my no means least, I've baked miches according to the formula we used in the SFBI Artisan II workshop last December. Many TFL members have baked this marvelous miche since I posted the formula, and they know what a wonderful bread this can be.

After these months of enjoying the SFBI miche, as well as Chad Robertson's somewhat similar “Basic Country Bread” from Tartine Bread, it seemed time to revisit the “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière.” I made it using Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour. I followed Hamelman's formula. I altered his procedures only by mixing the dough entirely by hand.


Overall Formula


Baker's %

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

2 lbs



1 lb, 10.2 oz



0.6 oz



3 lb, 10.8 oz



Levain Build


Baker's %

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

6.4 oz



3.8 oz


Mature culture (stiff)

1.3 oz (3 T)



11.5 oz



Final Dough



High-extraction whole-wheat flour

1 lb, 9.6 oz



1 lb, 6.4 oz



0.6 oz



10.2 oz (all less 3 T)


3 lb, 10.8 oz


  1. Make the levain about 12 hours before you want to mix the dough. Dissolve the mature culture in the water, then mix in the flour.

  2. On the day of the bake, mix the Final Dough flour and water to a shaggy mass and autolyse in a large covered bowl for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the Levain in several chunks. Mix thoroughly.

  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment the dough for 150 minutes, with stretch and folds on a floured board at 50 and 100 minutes.

  6. Form the dough into a tight boule and transfer it, seam side up, to a floured banneton. Place the banneton in a large plastic bag or cover with a towel or plasti-crap. (Note: Hamelman recommends the usual pre-shaping and resting before the final shaping. I did not do this, since the dough was rather slack, and the gluten did not require “relaxing,” in my judgement.)

  7. Proof for 2-2 ½ hours.

  8. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Transfer the miche to a peel. Score it with a single square, “tic-tac-toe” pattern or diamond pattern. Load the miche onto the baking stone.

  10. Steam the oven and turn it down to 440ºF. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 420ºF, and bake for about another 45 minutes.

  11. When the miche is fully baked (internal temperature is 205ºF), turn off the oven. Leave the miche on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 10-20 minutes to dry the crust.

  12. Transfer the miche to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Then wrap it in baker's linen and let it rest for at least 12 hours before slicing.

Note: All times are approximate. Watch the dough, not the clock.

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière: Profile

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière: crumb

I rested the loaf for about 18 hours before slicing. The crumb structure was similar to that pictured in “Bread,” but I think I slightly under-fermented the dough and over-proofed the loaf.The crust was chewy. The crumb was rather dense and chewy. The flavor was not really sour but was very wheaty – more intense than I recall from other bakes with this flour.

Next time I make this miche, if I hand mix it, I'll add some S&F's in the bowl during the first part of the bulk fermentation and lengthen the fermentation, hoping to increase flavor complexity.



davidg618's picture

After two years following the directions and/or advice of Dan DiMuzio, J. Hamelman, a bit of Reinhart, and a lot of TFLers, e.g., dmsnyder, SylviaH, Susan, Debra Wink, proth5, hansjoakim, ehanner, ananda, and a host of others, I'm comfortable that I can consistently bake satisfactory sourdough loaves, reminiscent of Vermont, Norwich, San Jouquin, etc., while at the same time, feel they are subtly my own.

Of late, flavor-wise, I've been leaning more and more into sourdoughs with modest, but noticeable, percentages (15% -- 50%) of Whole Wheat flour. I've been concentrating on developing flavors we like: intensely wheaty, and for me, a sour presence, not overpowering but distinct. My wife prefers those with the in-your-face wheatiness, but much milder tang.

From an enlightening discussion between proth5 and dmsynder, and proth5's replies to a question about holeyness, i.e., open crumb, my own and TFLer Syd's observation about sour development in preferments vis-a-vis bulk fermentation, and just baking and tasting I'm satisfied I'm getting the flavors we want manipulating the levain's building (precentage flour prefermented, build schedule, time, and temperature) and bulk fermentation (time and temperature).

I've also encountered subtle, and not so subtle, changes in the final dough's gluten development seemingly dependent primarily on time and temperature during bulk fermentation. Although the 100% hydrated levain has been 1/3 of the final dough in all cases--30% of the flour (so far, all Whole Wheat) prefermented in the levain builds--bulk fermentation appears to have the dominant influence on two factors: wheaty flavor, and the dough's extensibility. On the other hand, how I develop the levain, especially time between feedings  clearly controls the degree of sourness in the final loaves, irrespective of the time and/or temperature of the bulk fermentation. However, I've not found a noticeable difference in the dough's gluten development whereing three batches were bulk fermented for 3.5 to 4 hours, but the levains were built differently: 1) a single feeding, fermented twelve hours; 2) Three progressive 1:1:1 feedings over twenty four hours; and 3) three progressive 1:1:1 feedings at 8, 8, and 12 hours respectively. All were fermented at 76°F. Flavorwise, the 12 and 28 hour levains had distinct sourness, more in the 28 hour levain; the 24 hour levain was quite mild.

In one case, made with the 24 hour levain,  I retarded half the dough overnight at 55*F (~12 hrs.). The other half I fermented at 76°F for 3.5 hours, and final proofed for 3 hours. That dough was well behaved. yielded good flavor, and modestly open crumb. The retarded dough was extremely slack, and I had considereable difficulty shaping the loaf--shaping is not my strong suit. Final proof took four hours, and I may have still underproofed slightly. Slashed and in the oven, it's oven spring expended itself horizontally. The flavor was excellent with no noticable acidity; the crumb was closed but not dense.

Today I'm building a levain (28 hour schedule) timed to start mixing tomorrow morning at 8 AM. I've changed the levain build flour to a 50/50 KA AP/ KA whole wheat. This halves the whole wheat content in the final dough. Once again, I'm going to retard half of the dough. I'm specifically looking for, if not answers, at least guidance for answering two questions:

Does reducing the amount of Whole Wheat effect the acidity in the levain?

Does halving the amount of Whole Wheat seriously reduce the wheat flavor in the final loaves?

I'm expecting the retarded loaf to have less extensibility' i.e., stronger gluten, because the Whole Wheat content is reduced.

I'm also expecting that the loaves will be edible, even enjoyable, even if all I come away with is more questons.

David G




eugenerella's picture

Cinnamon Raisin Brick Shape ?

I've been making Peter Rheinhart's Cinnamon R/W bread for some time now. It rises well enough in the loaf pan. A good inch above the rim. However, there is no oven spring whatsoever. In fact, it recedes slightly below the rim. The resulting loaf resembles a brick, not the nice domed loaf I prefer. The crumb is nice enough though, not squished at all. The yeast is good, I use it with success on my weekly weekend Baguettes à la Bouabsa. Any thoughts?

MarieH's picture

I've been baking bread a long time and I'm still amused by the narrow line between success and failure. I fed my sourdough starter last night in preparation for baking a (singular) rustic loaf today. When I looked at the starter early this morning it had grown to over 16 oz. by weight. Being a frugal person I decided to use all the starter and made a monster ball of dough. I blended 2 recipes, substituted and blended flour, and basically just winged it with autolyse, proofing, and shaping. I ended up with a 2 1/2 pound boule and 20 2 oz. rolls. I stayed on the right side of that fine line somehow and ended up with great looking bread and awesome crumb and taste.



And just because I like a challenge, I made a 100% whole wheat focaccia at the same time. I almost crashed and burned with getting everything in and out of the oven on time, but again I stayed on the line.

The lesson?  Learn to trust the instincts you develop through experience and have some crazy, risk-taking fun! It is a hobby, right?

Whole Wheat Focaccia

This 100% whole wheat flour recipe was adapted from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.


Mix together until well blended. Cover and let stand at room temp for 12 to 16 hours.

4 oz. KAF white whole wheat flour

4 oz. water

Scant pinch of yeast


In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer add:

All the biga

9 oz. water

1 oz. orange juice

12 oz. KAF white whole wheat flour

3 Tbs Vital Wheat Gluten

Pinch of ascorbic acid

2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp instant yeast 

With the paddle beater, mix on the lowest speed until dough starts to come together. It will be very wet and slack. Scrape down the paddle and add 1 to 2 Tbs water if the dough seems too dry. Mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead for 4 minutes. The dough will be very soft.

Cover and let rest in the bowl for 30 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a silicon mat and fold like an envelope length-wise and width-wise (4 folds). Return to bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold process again, and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold process once more and turn out onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan. With oiled hands, press the dough outward to the pan edges. When dough stops spreading, let it rest for 10 minutes then continue pressing the dough out with your fingertips. The dough will not cover the pan - it will be approximately a 10" x 13" oval.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 500 degrees. I use a baking stone set in the bottom third of my oven. Uncover the dough and drizzle with olive oil. With greased fingers, gently dimple the dough. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in the pan on the stone for 18 to 20 minutes until a deep golden color.


Przytulanka's picture

My lovely husband brought two bottles of Polish beer. He is not an average man who enjoys his time with pals watching games and drinking beer. He said that he was given the beer and  I could make the bread with it. 

So I did. In my opinion the best place for alcohol is in food. I also marinated and baked a leg of lamb with the second bottle of beer.


1st build of the sourdough starter

Wednesday 1:30PM-8PM

7.6 g mature whole rye sourdough  starter

11 g water

9g whole rye flour (always stone ground)


Second  build

Wednesday 7:30 PM- Thursday 10 AM

all of the starter from the first build

90 g water

90 g whole rye flour


Final build

Thursday 9:30 AM-2:30 PM

all of the starter from the previous build

245 g water

245 g whole rye flour



Soaker: Thursday 9:30 AM-2:30 PM

500 g beer

475 g whole rye flour

162 g steel cut oats



Final dough:

all of the sourdough starter

all of the soaker

119 whole wheat flour

19 g salt

Combine the ingredients and let ferment for 10 minutes. Shape and score the loaf . Proof  it seem-side down for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven with a baking stone and steam pan to 500F. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 15 minutes . Then reduce the temperature to 450 ºF and bake for 30 minutes.


Internal temperature of the baked loaf was180F.






oceanicthai's picture

My first attempts at boules weren't so grand and glorious.  I had several flat, dense loaves that I was too ashamed to take pictures of.  Things have progressed but I am just a newbie.  My friend called me a bread nerd, I felt kind of excited about that.  Maybe I can truly be a bread nerd someday.  I made a pretty good loaf this morning, but now I want to do something a little more add more ingredients.

  This was a little better than my earlier attempts.  LIke I said, I was too ashamed to take photos of them.  I did eat them, though, and my family dutifully chewed their way through them, with some hot soup to help soften them up a bit.

  This was my first loaf that resembled a boule.  Unfortunately I forgot to add salt, so it was pretty terrible.

  This was another one, it came out better but I had major problems with slashing the dough.

  I was really excited and proud of how this loaf came out, but I must confess, I forgot to add the salt till the last moment and it, uh, didn't get distributed very well.

  This was one I baked 3 days ago.  Just a sourdough boule with some whole wheat flour.  I couldn't get the poppy seeds to stick very well, I had used too much flour.  I didn't slash deep enough & I couldv'e baked it a bit longer.

  Today's bread, another sourdough 7-grain boule

I've had a great time reading, experimenting, eating and sharing my newfound bread obsession with my bemused family and entertained friends.  It is difficult for some of them to understand why I want to take photos of my bread.  I know, however, that you, my bread heroes, will understand.

Jo_Jo_'s picture

This is by far the best tasting whole wheat bread I have made so far. It is soft, tender, and very light. I soaked the ground flax and fresh ground Hard White Winter Wheat flour in the kefir and water in my recipe for 20 hours. I then added the rest of the ingredients and mixed them together, plus kneaded for 6 minutes in my mixer.  This is the first test to the theory that soaking the freshly ground whole wheat flour for 12 to 24 hours makes it easier to digest.  I have had problems in the past with large amounts of fresh ground wheat making my stomach hurt, and have come across a lot of info both for and against soaking the entire amount of fresh ground flour in the liquid of the recipe.  I started with the soaking method, just to make sure that I don't upset my stomach by not soaking.  I have eaten this bread since yesterday and haven't had any problems at all, so maybe there is something to this.  Just have to see...

I formed it into a boule, it was slighty tacky and not sticky at all.  Nice looking flecks of the flax meal, and a nutty smell.

Allowed the dough to ferment for 1 1/2 hours, till double.  Then shaped and measured the dough into 2 two pound loaves, and 3 small rolls. 

I then let it rise for 45 minutes for the rolls, which I cooked first. 

I then put the loaves into the oven @ 380*'s for 30 minutes, and then tented it with foil for 15 minutes. I pulled from the oven these huge wonderful loaves.

The last whole wheat bread I made I also used 2 lbs of dough per loaf pan, and they were about 1/3 smaller than these.  This is just amazing bread, great taste, and light and fluffy.  Andy says it's the best whole wheat I have made so far.....

From WWFlax
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MadAboutB8's picture

I finally got around to make the famous SFBI (San Francisco Baking Institute) Miche the past weekend. I have been wanting to try this recipe for sometimes after reading so much rave reviews from the TFL members.  

The recipe was posted by David (dmsnyder). Many of the TFL members have made this Miche and all reported fantastic results (many thanks to David and all TFLers who baked the bread and share their results). 

The bread has a mixture of bread and whole-wheat flour in the starter. The recipe also contains wheat germs, which was toasted before the mixing. I have never baked with wheat germs before, or have any wheat germs for that matter. The aroma of toasted wheat germs was fantastic. It has nutty and sweet aroma and give the earthy flavour to the bread.

The original recipe yielded one 2-kg Miche. It was suggested not to scale down the recipe, or you'll be sorry if you do, as the bread was really nice. I didn't scale down the recipe, but instead, I scaled it up to 3-kg batch for two of 1.5-kg Miches.

The dough was soft, silky and nice to work with. I was surprise how well the gluten has develop with little effort. I almost did ZERO kneading but the gluten seems to develop itself from the very beginning, which I was wondering if it was the result of high hydration.

It is one of the tastiest bread I made so far. I love its chewy crumb, crackling crust, and pronounced sourness (which I wonder if it has anything to do with whole-wheat flour in the starter).

I have also posted about this bake in my blog, here.







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