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.
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
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
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.
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).