One more small step in the very long journey of the Mellow Bakers, working their way through Hamelman’s book Bread. I was looking forward to this one, a classic European-type bread, leavened exclusively by a whole-wheat sourdough starter.   The term “miche” means a very large, round loaf, and Point-a-Calliere  is its place of origin, the initial settlement that later would turn into Montreal.   To preserve the dimension of my waistline, I made mental apologies to Hamelman, and cut the recipe in half, turning it into a “demi-miche“…

Once a very stiff sourdough starter is prepared, the recipe is quite straightforward: mix high extraction whole-wheat flour with water, starter and salt, fold it two or three times over a 2.5 hour period, shape as a round loaf, let it rise for another 2.5 hours. It is a tricky dough to handle, very moist, it did not gain body until the last folding cycle.  The bread is then baked in a very hot oven, with steam during the initial stage of baking.

The recipe doesn’t mention anything about slashing the surface before baking, but I followed the footsteps of  my fellow bakers, and cut a few slashes on mine. However, they were barely noticeable when the loaf came out of the oven. This is a flattish bread, with reasonably open crumb – in fact, the crumb was a lot more airy than I expected from a bread with such a high proportion of whole wheat flour.

Great flavor, that should get better and better as the days go by. We shall put this statement to test in the next few days…. if my demi-miche can make it, that is… 😉

Check other Mellow Bakers’ take on this bread by following these links to Lien’s blog, Joanna’s, and our host Paul.

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  1. Lovely open crumb you’ve got there Sally!

    I would tentatively suggest using more flour when you shape the dough and putting more flour in the banneton. Really rub it into the cloth and for some reason rye flour is better for this than wheat flour. I use lots and brush it off with a paint brush if there is too much just before it goes in the oven. Paul found the timing for the second prove questionable and I gave mine a shorter prove because of what he wrote. I think this bread is a flattie though, it’s just its nature 🙂


  2. I am unofficially baking along as I just got the book for Mother’s Day and made two of the recipes last week. I read this one, and was sort of overwhelmed at the thought of it, but your post makes it look and sound easier than I had imagined. Love the color and the crumb on this…I bet you really enjoyed it beginning to end!


  3. Elra, I much prefer a slightly softer sourdough starter myself. Some people like liquid starters, I do not. But this one was a tad too stiff for me. It is hard to judge when it’s at its peak. At least, for me it wasn’t very clear…


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