Recipe: Country-Style Miche

Two half-size miche loaves

Country Style Miches

A miche (pronounced “meesh”) is a rustic loaf made with high extraction flour. It’s big and hearty and gets better as it ages over several days. Great for sandwiches or just eating with some good butter.

Ingredients:
For the levain:
6.1 oz. (173 g) high extraction flour*
4 oz. water (113 g)
1.3 oz. (37 g) sourdough starter (I used my 50/50 WW/BF blend as for Kettle Bread)
Total 11.4 oz

Final dough:
Levain 10.1 oz (286 g)
1 lb 8.3 oz. high extraction flour* (691 g)
2 ½ c lukewarm water (564 g)
2 t Kosher salt

Method:

Preferment after overnight rise

Preferment after overnight rise

Mix levain ingredients, cover and proof overnight at 70-75 degrees. At the end of this time it will be spongy but not bubbly. In the morning, mix water and flour for final dough, reserving the levain. Autolyze 30 minutes; add salt and levain and mix thoroughly.

Proof 2 ¼ hours at 75 degrees; do five stretch-and-folds at 15 minute intervals then allow to rest for 1 hour. Remove and refrigerate 1.3 oz. as starter for your next batch (optional). Preshape on board and rest 15 minutes, first dividing in half if you are making smaller loaves. Shape the dough into one large or two smaller boules; transfer to floured proofing baskets seam side up. Cover and proof at 75 degrees for 2.5 hours.

A somewhat over risen miche loaf

A somewhat over risen miche loaf (dot was used to identify in my taste test)

Place one or two dutch oven(s) with lids in oven and preheat to 460 degrees. Remove dutch oven(s) using heat proof gloves and transfer the loaf/loaves to them. Slash the tops. Replace in oven and cover dutch ovens. Lower heat to 440 degrees and cook 20 minutes. Remove the lids, lower heat to 420 degrees and cook 35 minutes longer for one loaf, 40 minutes for two loaves, checking at 30 minutes for doneness. Remove from dutch ovens to cool and wait at least 24 hours before tasting.

  • If high-extraction flour is unavailable, use a mixture of 40% whole wheat flour/60% bread flour.

Notes: the odd measurements in this recipe come from a variation of the Jeffrey Hamelman/King Arthur Flour “Miche, Point-à-Callière” we prepared in his wood fired ovens class. It’s further modified by the suggestion of KAF baker Martin Philip to do frequent stretch-and-folds then let the dough rest. You’ll find it much easier to follow if you use the gram conversions in parentheses.

If you make a single loaf the total weight will be about close to 2 kg which is really too big for our standard 5-qt. dutch oven; the bread will rise up the sides of the pan. For my second miche taste test I reduced all proportions by 25% and it fit the 5-qt. dutch oven just fine. You could also make two smaller loaves, or cook it on a baking stone (in which case you will steam the oven using your preferred method). Or, you can use this recipe as your excuse to buy a 7-qt. dutch oven (which is the size Chad Robertson recommends in the Tartine Bread book).

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3 Responses to Recipe: Country-Style Miche

  1. Sean says:

    I’m wondering if you left off part of the Recipe or something …
    as the dough shouldn’t be any larger than: 113 + 173 + 37
    say 320 for the starter

    And 691+564+10 for the salt
    That’s 1250 + 320 … That makes a 1.6 kg dough NOT 2 kg … I guess that’s close but still makes me wonder if there was a feeding that you left out or some such.

    Anyway, I’m very interested in trying a Miche soon so I’m glad to have run into your recipe. I’m surprised that you recommend not tasting the bread for 1 day … Does the flavour take that long to develop?

  2. Burnt My Fingers says:

    Sean, you’re right. It’s 1.6 kg not 2 kg, I was being a bit casual there. The description is correct… I didn’t leave anything out.

    As to the taste, I’ve never eaten miche on the first day due to the stern admonishments of Hamelman and others, but I can tell you that the flavor continues to develop and it becomes more sour and tasty on the fourth day compared to the second while still being delicious and edible.

  3. Burnt My Fingers says:

    Update: there was a typo in the recipe, now corrected; you can see the change in two places in red. It affects how much starter you should take out for the next batch. I actually just leave the starter (37 g/1.3 oz) in the dough since I prefer to start with a new dose of my whole wheat/white flour starter each time.

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