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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As more and more fellow bakers finished the BBA Challenge, a net-gossip started: what should we do next?   It was so much fun to bake together, cheering each others’ successes and commiserating over the failures, that we all felt a void when the party was over.

The idea of baking another complete bread book, from beginning to end, didn’t appeal to me because of the tight scheduling required.    So when Paul proposed “Mellow Bakers,” it was just what I was looking for:  we’ll bake Hamelman’s “BREAD”  at a leisurely pace, and I’ll even emphasize the “mellowness,”  by skipping some of  breads.   In fact, they already made hot cross buns while I only watched from a safe distance… 😉

So here is an invitation for you:   for a nice bread project  that will expose you to delicious recipes by a great author,  Jeffrey Hamelman,  first jump to Paul’s site to read all about it, and then to the Mellow Bakers forum to introduce yourself and join the party!

I’ll see you in the forum!