Miche 50/50/50

shiao-ping's picture

I read in MC's beautiful blog, [b][color=red]farine-mc.com[/color][/b], that Miche is not her favorite bread but that she can understand how someone can go wild about it.  She said, "It is a majestic bread ... rich with the lore and fervor of the old days."    That is exactly how I feel about Miche!  "... rich with the lore and fervor of [color=red][b]the old days[/b][/color]." 

The word, Miche, conjures up for me images of a past full of hardship and labour, and yet, romances, at the same time.  Romances, [b]not[/b] in the true sense of the word, but in a nostalgic way, referring to the simple, unsophisticated, and natural way of living.

One of the pseudo-Miche I made was Sourdough 50/50 nearly four months ago.  I was not happy with the bread at the time and had wanted to re-make it ever since.  But, No, I had to do something slightly different.  I could not even follow my own script.  I introduced one more element into my Sourdough 50/50 to make this Miche 50/50/50.  In addition to 50% levain, and 50% Poolish, of the final dough flour, I added 50% old dough.  The old dough was a piece of dough reserved from a previous bake a couple of days ago.  This piece of dough did not go through bulk fermentation or proofing.  It was sectioned off and placed in the refrigerator straight away.

Apart from being whimsical and having fun, I had but one purpose for doing this - to see how adding a piece of old dough would improve the flavour of the crumb, along with the levain and Poolish which I already had.  This is nothing new.  Many people have done something similar.  And here is my Miche 50/50/50:




In order to be able to score the dough easily, I went for an overall lower hydration of 63%, compared to 68% for Sourdough 50/50.  I wanted to have some sort of [b]Chinese tofu look[/b]  on the crust.  As a result, I gave up some openness of the crumb.




The crumb was exceptionally flavourful, which might come through the close-up shot below:



The crumb is very sour to my taste, due to the lower hydration too. 

When I prepare my Poolish, I did not put in a pinch of instant yeast, which one would normally do.  I wonder if this has anything to do with the slightly dense interior structure of the Miche.

If you are interested in trying the idea in this post, I would suggest a dough hydration of no lower than 67 - 68%, and definitely a pinch of instant yeast to go with your Poolish!





MC 2010 January 2

Beautiful "grignes", Shiao-Ping! I love it when you put you personalize your breads "à la chinoise". Your whole persona shines through and it is gorgeous.

Did the use of three pre-ferments produce a more complex taste (as opposed to using purely levain)? Why do you think a lower hydration promotes sourness? In my experience, this is only true about the starter itself (not the dough) and only when you choose to promote such sourness by keeping it at certain temperatures, keeping a certain schedule for the feedings, etc.

Re: the crumb. Yes, it is a bit dense but that's par for the course as far as miche is concerned, isn't it? I love the close-up with the crumb all shiny and the flecks of whole grain. Just beautiful and so appetizing!

Thank you so much for your kind words about Farine. It is always a pleasure to have you visit and comment. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year, Shiao-Ping!

ledu1000 2010 January 3


My name is Patricia, I am from Mexico, I am giving my baby steps about starters, and sourdoughs.

I have seen your beautiful Miche bread, and also it looks delicious!!!  I would love to try it!!!!

Please, could you help me by telling me how is the best way, (based on your personal experience) how to make a rye starter????

I would appreciate very much your advice, or if some one else on this blog can advice me, I also would appreciate this.

I thank you all in advance



shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 January 3

Thank you for your comment.  A big YES to your question as to whether or not the three pre-ferments produce a more complex taste in bread than using just levain.   I have read in a few places where they said old dough improves the flavor of the new dough.  So when there are more types of different pre-ferments, the whole dough gets more complex, it's natural, don't you think?

As to why lower hydration dough tends to be more sour than higher hydration dough, it is mainly from my own experience.  This type of sourness is more acetic, rather than lactic, in my experience.   This is not to say that I have never had higher hydration dough with sourness, but that such sourness to me has always been a sort of creamy sourness, ie, lactic acidity (as opposed to acetic acidity). 

What I did not say in my post was that my starter was actually a stiff starter (@ 60% hydration) and my old dough was 65% hydration (and Poolish is the usual 100% hydration).  Perhaps these contribute to the sourness, in addition to the overall lower hydration of the dough?!   


shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 January 3

Hi Patricia, Welcome!

Do you normally keep a white starter?  It is very easy to convert your usual starter to any starter you want.  It just takes 2 to 3 feedings.  Take out a very small portion of your usual starter, say, a peanut-size starter, or about 5 - 10 grams.  Place this in a small container.  (You don't want a big container because it is harder to work with.) Dilute the starter in water, say 30 grams.  You do it by pouring a small portion, say 5 - 10 grams first, of this water, and thoroughly combine it with the starter; then pour another 5 - 10 grams of water, thoroughly combine it again, until you finish all 30 grams of water.  Then, you put in 30 grams of rye flour, all in one go, and combine it with the starter.  Cover.  You leave it at room temperature for 8 hours or more, or until it doubles or slightly more than doubles, depending on how warm your room temperature is. 

After that you repeat the process (ie, do the 2nd feeding) but with a bigger amount of flour and water.   Ideally, you want to do at least 2 to 3 times the weight of your starter in both flour and water.  For instance you starter is now 30 + 30 + 10 grams = 70 grams in total.  You want to add at least 140 g of water and 140 g of rye flour for the second feeding.  

The way I do is not strictly kosher, but works for me.  Try it and see if it works for you.


shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 January 3

... that almost all proper teachings tell us to put in a substantial amount of flour and water for the first feeding, and then throw away most of it, in order to fit in, again, a big amount of flour and water in the second feeding... and so on and so forth.   I have never followed it from the very first time I started my culture.  

OneLove 2011 July 9

Too true! As my good fortune would have it, all my starters were a success without me having to follow any step by step process. I've never used a recipe for baking bread. I do however have a lot to learn when it comes to producing a loaf of anticpated outcome. All my bread usually comes out as pleasant surprises. I do "cheat" when there is kefir whey available, because I love the flavor of bread produced by yeasts in kefir.


That is a georgeous miche! It reminds me of the bread my soup was served in while I was meandering through Romania, where in the villages people still walk around with heavy crusted juggernaut loaves under their arms.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 January 4

 that it was the evil flour companies that put forth using large amounts of flour to make a starter.  ;-)  They did this so they could sell more flour.

You are right though I see lots of instructions on how to make a starter that just uses huge amounts of flour and I just wonder why.  I think there are even ones that have you double the size of the starter every feeding and that is just plain crazy.

shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 January 5

Nowadays I leave no more than 50 grams of starter in my fridge if I know I will not be baking for a few days.  When starter becomes "soupy," it is no good at all for bread (except perhaps flavouring).

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