First time I got intimated by a recipe! Maybe this bread is in the cover of the BBA book! At the end it came out great, not the photo but the bread. This is a very dense, and healthy bread.

I cut the below recipe in half, because the dough is too large for my home mixer. Still the dough was too big, I divided into 2 pieces to handle easily.

Poilane – Style Miche
Firm starter
1 cup barm
2cups whole-wheat flour
About 1/2 cup water, at room temperature

Final Dough

7cupswhole-wheat flour
3 1/4 teaspoons salt (2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt)
2 to 2 3/4 cups water, lukewarm
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

  • The day before making the bread, make the firm starter. Mix together the barm, flour, and enough water to form a firm ball. Knead for about 3 minutes, or until all the flour is hydrated and ingredients are evenly distributed. Lightly oil a bowl, place the ball of dough in the bowl, and roll it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Ferment at room temperature 4 to 6 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove the starter from refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough. Cut the starter into about 12 small pieces. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour to takeoff the chill.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and starter pieces. Add at least 2 1/4 cups of water. Adjust the flour and water as you mix as needed.
  • Knead the dough for 12 to 15 minutes to form an elastic, tacky but not sticky dough. All the ingredients should be evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Ferment at room temperature for approximately 4 hours, or until the dough nearly doubles in size.
  • Transfer the dough to the counter and gently form into a large boule. Cover with plastic wrap or towel.
  • Proof the dough at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough grows 1 1/2 times in size, or retard overnight in the refrigerator. If you are retarding the dough, remove the dough from the refrigerator 4 hours before you plan to bake it.
  • Preheat the oven to 500°F and make sure to have an empty steam pan in place. Carefully remove the top layer of cloth or plastic wrap from the dough 10 minutes before baking.
  • Score the dough. Pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan and close the door. Immediately lower the oven setting to 450°F.
  • After 25 minutes, rotate the dough, and lower the oven setting to 425°F. Continue to bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is done. The bread should be deeply browned.
  • Transfer the bread to a rack, and let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing or serving. Store the bread in a brown paper bag. It should be good for 5 to7 days.

Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

  1. Try with a bit of spelt flour in the final dough; even better and closer to Poilane…

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