Friday, March 2, 2012

The Poilâne "Miche"

Not really as burnt as it looks in this lighting, I swear.
I think I have finally become a real baker! I took two stunning (although not with my lighting and my camera) loaves out of the oven this morning of the famous Poilâne miche. I did, however, make a few modifications because the dough and I weren't getting along. I substituted a little durum flour and a little whole wheat flour for the high extraction flour and I added about 1oz extra water.

Part of the reason that I made it was because one of my favorite professors went to Paris. I told her to pick up a Poilâne miche, but sadly, her only day off from the conference was Sunday so the shops were not open. I decided to make one for her to show what she missed.

The crusts bloomed nicely and they sang. However, I messed up with the oven temperature on the batard because I forgot to turn it down the final time to 425 degrees F.
The baby miche
Sister loaves
The formula as I meant to make it was as follows (from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, essentially):
Day One: Make the Starter
  • Starter
    • 198g (1 cup/7oz) Starter (I will use 100%) 
    • 255g (2 cups/9 0z) first-clear flour 
    • 113g (1/2cup/4 oz) water, at room temperature 
  • Mix until it comes together. Then knead for 3 minutes. Let sit for 4-6 hours (or until double in size) and then refrigerate overnight  

Day Two: Make the Dough
  • Take out of the refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough. Dissolve the starter in the water. 
  • Final Dough
    • All of the starter
    • 907g (7 cups/32 oz) first-clear flour 
    • 23g (3.25teaspoons salt/0.81 oz) salt 
    • 510-624g (2-2 3/4cups/18-22oz) water, lukewarm (90-100 F) 
  • Mix the dough 
  •  Knead for 12-15 minutes or until window-pane test
  • Ferment for 4 hours or until the dough nearly doubles in size 
  • Shape 
  • Retard for 2-3 hours OR let proof overnight  

Day Three: Bake the Bread
  • Take the bread out 4 hours before you plan to bake
  • Half an hour before baking and preheat the oven to 500 degrees
  • Turn down to 450 degrees and steam for 25-35 minutes
  • Turn down to 425 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes
I messed up on the fermentation. It was too cold and I did not adjust the time sufficiently, so the crumb wasn't perfect.

I gave some to my professor. The bread tasted great so I am not upset with my decision, although I do wish that it had been my best work. Oh well.


  1. Thank you! Not perfect, sadly, but on it's way. I haven't gotten a response from my professor, though, which makes me a bit nervous.