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BBA Challenge #33: Poilane-Style Miche

Oh, people. It has been a long, long time since I baked a bread for the BBA Challenge. I think the sourdough section is defeating me. You see, most of these breads take two days to make, and because you need to feed the sourdough the night before, it is effectively three days. And if I forget to feed my sourdough, then my whole schedule is thrown off. And as you can tell, I have frequently forgotten to feed my sourdough. Also, the last bread I baked (the Sourdough Rye) wasn’t that great, and I was not impressed with this one, either.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Poilane-Style Miche is the huge bread on the cover of my now very battered copy of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The day after I fed my sourdough, I made the starter.

First you sift some whole wheat flour. This recipe uses only sifted whole wheat flour.

Sifted Whole Wheat Flour for Starter

Wheat Bran

The recipe has you mix and knead everything by hand because of the amount of dough, but I did the starter in the stand mixer.

Mixed Starter

Then I put in my proofing bowl and waiting for the magic to happen.

Kneaded Starter

Starter Ready to Rise

My starter rose fine:

Risen Starter

And then I popped it into the refrigerator.

The next day, I sifted more flour. A lot more flour.

Sifted Whole Wheat Flour for Dough

Then I added salt, water, and my starter. There are not a lot of ingredients to this recipe.

Before Mixing
Appetizing, yes? It’s all right, you can say no.

As you might be able to tell from the photos, this was a lot of dough. I started mixing it with my dough whisk, but then gave up and just mixed it with my hands. Then I turned it out on to the counter and kneaded for fifteen long, long minutes. My hands were covered with dough, so there aren’t any photos of that part. Finally, I took its temperature and got a windowpane, and I was done.


Ready to Rise

I got a nice rise here, too. I think it took four hours both times, for the starter and the dough to rise.



Now I faced a problem. I have a round banetton, but I was pretty sure that there was too much dough for it. I don’t think it would have fit before it rose a second time. So I improvised.

Plastic Chip Bowl from Target, $6.99

Proofing Bowl
Add a couche and poof! It’s a proofing bowl

My seams never stay together

After it rose again, I had a bowl full of dough.


I flipped it out onto my pizza peel covered by a sheet of parchment.

Proofed and Flipped

I slashed it, but my slashing skills have clearly deteriorated.


I thought it was interesting that although we were supposed to “prepare our oven for hearth baking,” we didn’t do the thirty second spritzes of water like usual.

I baked it twenty minutes, then turned it 180 degrees and took out the parchment. Then it baked for 30 more minutes, and the internal temperature was over 200 degrees.




The slashed didn’t look so bad once it was baked. I thought these loaves looked very pretty, but I wasn’t so enamored of the taste. Like the Sourdough Rye, this a dense, heavy bread with an aggressive sour taste. I love sourdough, but I am starting to think I prefer white flour sourdoughs to the other flour varieties. Mike and I both agreed that this is the kind of bread that you could pair with some kind of deli meat to make an excellent sandwich. But this doesn’t help us vegetarians. Maybe egg salad?

Two more whole grain sourdoughs to go. If any meat-eaters out there would like to give them a shot, I am sure I will have plenty to give away.

3 thoughts on “BBA Challenge #33: Poilane-Style Miche

  1. Loved the improvised “banneton” – very creative!

    So now you have made the King of Breads! Congratulations….

    I have to say I don’t mind having my Poilane with butter only – and a little salt sprinkled on top

  2. Once you have made this bread you qualify for the title of “Breadmaker”!! Congrats for getting through this hurdle. It’s like a rite of passage. Your scoring is actually very pretty when it is all baked. Love the Target banneton!

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