I love the story of the miche /meesh/. As one baker described it, "Making a miche is one of the black arts of the boulanger." It is the classic French bread rooted in history and tradition that is centuries old. In villages across France, when the baker fired up the communal oven, all the townsfolk brought their dough to him/her for baking and the resulting miches weighed anywhere between 4 and 12 pounds. These large loaves kept their moisture better and would be enough to feed the families for days or weeks until the next baking day.
A little while ago, I baked off my first successful miche that weighed in at 4 pounds and measured 1.5 feet in diameter. When it finally came out how it should after many failed attempts, I was so ecstatic. The dough was built with a dark rye leaven and organic high extraction flour which is wheat that is milled in a more traditional method leaving behind some of the bran and germ. The baking properties of this flour lie somewhere in between bread flour and whole wheat flour while the flavor profile lies somewhere in between complex and awesome. The dough underwent nearly 30 hours of fermentation and close to 2 hours of temperature-titrated baking.
These jumbo beauties are not available at the market but I wanted to share it with you because on the days when I am not baking for the Friday markets, I am test baking for whatever that is to come after. It would certainly be a dream for Crust & Crumbles to be the "communal oven" which provides our town with their daily and/or weekly bread. And with only three Fridays left until we are no longer at the City Market, we're preparing for the bittersweet end of our 2016 season yet looking forward to grand beginnings as we forge ahead towards 2017. As always, I'll make sure to keep you updated on any developments.
On this week's menu, we will have Drunken Hog, Olive & Three Cheese Semolina, Walnut & Fig, Baker & Brewer, Sesame Seed, and Organic Country White Sourdough. Naturally leavened breads have great keeping quality - if you don't eat them right away but want to stock up on your favorites, you can always pre-slice and freeze them in airtight plastic bags to thaw, toast, and enjoy at a later time.