Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Monday, January 23, 2012

Poilane style miche bread

I am working on developing my bread making skills, as I think I mentioned in a previous post. My sourdough starter, the barm, is now ready to use and I have been having great fun with it. I made my first sourdough bread the other day, and yesterday I made the bread on the cover of the book I'm using, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. If you read the introduction of this book, the author tells the story of having this bread for the first time, then taking it to a friend's house in Paris, and the friend gets mad for "ruining" him for other bread. I had to make it.

Breads like this take two days to make. I'm nowhere near ready to explain how and why all this works, as I'm a newbie, and I'm just working on my skill and technique. The firm starter takes a day, then the dough is made, kneaded, proofed, reshaped, proofed again and then baked.

This particular loaf is massive. When it was done & baked it ended up being five pounds. When I was kneading the dough, I kneaded by hand for 15 minutes (the book recommends 12-15), and then I was tired. Toni suggested letting the dough rest, though she kneaded it for a bit as well.  She suggested we get the Skipper to give it a knead as well (he is much stronger than we), but he was out at the time. I gave it another ten minutes of kneading and decided that I can live with it not getting to the "windowpane stage" of elasticity.

When it was time to bake the bread, I put the pizza stone in the oven. Toni and the Skipper have a pizza peel, so I covered that in corn meal before putting my Poilane on it. The oven temperature was at 500 degrees when I started, and there was a pan of water in with the bread. I slipped the bread from the peel to the stone. When the bread went in, I reduced the temperature to 450.

The book says to turn it after 25 minutes, but it was baking so evenly in the oven that it wasn't necessary to turn. It was, however, starting to get too dark, so the book says to lay a sheet of foil over the loaf to protect it. I did that. Gave it another 30 minutes, now at 425.

Here is how it came out:

 This is the bottom. It's is so beautiful!
Toni and the Skipper tried it last night, after it had cooled for two hours. They said it was really good. I had some for breakfast this morning. This is the best bread I have ever tasted and it was worth all the effort. So I really do need to buy this book. With this loaf weighing in at 5 pounds, it should last 5-7 days, just like the book said.

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