My T80 Miches
Many years ago our family lived in Singapore and I had a personal trainer. Singapore is a young, vibrant society where sports may not be a big thing but going to the gym is popular. I still remember that on the first day I looked around my gym and felt daunted by what I saw. At the end of my first session, I asked my trainer how often I would have to train to look like her. I like my trainer dearly, she is great; she said, "Oh, just three times a week!"
It was well after we left Singapore that I worked out myself, No way José!
Many of us at The Fresh Loaf are not just interested in making a loaf. Many of us are good cooks at home and have a broad interest in cuisine in general. Have you ever watched cooking shows and wondered why those great chefs emphasize on fresh ingredients when all that you are interested in at that particular point in time was "the technique"? No amount of "techniques" can turn ingredients of less than the most premium quality into exceptional dishes.
I can research all I like, practice all I like, but if I can't lay my hands on the best ingredients, I won't have exceptional breads.
At different level of our learning, our masters reveal different level of knowledge to us; their purpose is to not scare us away at the beginning, and to not confuse us at the beginning (because we just won't be able to absorb all the knowledge in one go). That was the well-intention meaning of my trainer, and of many masters!
Do home bakers need other people's exceptional breads at home? You would be the judge for yourself.
If you have the freshest seafood, how would you cook it? Chinese would steam it to allow the freshest sweet taste reveal itself. If you have the best flour, how would you bake with it? Do you try to ferment it the best you can, so the natural flavour of flour "shine" through?
What if your flour is good, but less than the best to your taste, what would you do? Inject flavours! I decided I would embark on experiments on flavour enhancers on bread.
With this post, I have done four experiments with the T80 flour I have from France.
(1) T80 miche with garlic and continental parsley
- 220 grams starter (refreshed using one part starter culture, two parts water and three parts T80 flour)
- 440 grams water
- 660 grams T80 flour
- 15 grams salt
Total dough weight was 1.3 kg and overall dough hydration was 67%. (Note: The water for the main dough was two times the starter, and the flour was three times the starter. The idea for the starter:water:flour ratio for the main dough came from Flo Makanai's 1.2.3 method for sourdough bread, a very clever and easy to follow formula.)
(1) Slow roast the garlic in 160 ºC oven for 1 1/2 hours or until very soft like cream. Chop the parsley finely (discard the stalks). Use 1 - 2 tbsp of butter (softened in room temperature) to bind the garlic and the parsley together with a pinch of salt.
(2) After bulk fermentation, divide the dough into two pieces, 400 grams and 920 grams. Roll out the small one like a pizza base. Spread the garlic parsley butter over it. Shape the bigger dough into a boule.
(3) Place the boule (right side down) on the pizza base as shown on the picture above. Fold the edges of the pizza base over the centre of the boule and turn the whole thing over (so the right side of the boule is now up). Either prove free form or, as in my case, prove in a flour dusted banneton.
I scored deep. In my Body and Mind post, the boule was scored very shallow so as not to cut into the main dough inside. But in this miche, the main dough underneath was also slashed.
All of the T80 miches in this post were baked using the covered method with no steaming required. I baked at 245 ºC for 35 - 40 minutes covered, and then another 15 minutes uncovered.
Lovely toasted in garlic parsley butter under the griller
(2) T80 miche with porcini and chicken stock
- 232 grams 65% T80 starter
- 227 grams water
- 694 grams T80 flour
- 16 grams salt
for the porcini mixture
- 24 grams dried porcini mushroom, soaked in 250 grams boiling chicken stock (unsalted) for an hour
- Squeeze the liquid out of porcini, reserve all the liquid for the main dough
- Chop the porcini roughly, then mix it with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a pinch of salt to try to bring some flavour back to the mushroom as most of its flavour will have lost to the liquid. Marinate for at least 1/2 hour.
Total dough weight was 1.4 kg and overall dough hydration was 68%. This miche is very simple to make. First, use the water to dilute the starter, then add the reserved chicken stock liquid and chopped porcini, then add flour and salt, mix thoroughly, then autolyse ... the rest is standard.
This is one of the best flavoured miches I have dreamed of. When I poured the almost darkened chicken stock into the starter, I was skeptical as to how well the little beasties in the starter would like being invaded by the foreign bodies from the porcini mushrooms. But it turned out alright. The crumb was very spongy with a strong mushroom savory aroma. I used the bread to make giant chicken burger sandwiches - the works style with bacon and eggs, and lots of salad. My kids loved them.
(3) T80 miche with dates and milk
- 262 grams 65% T80 starter
- 530 grams of milk
- 784 grams T80 flour
- 18 grams salt
- a big handful of good quality dates
Total dough weight was 1.6 kg (before the addition of dates) and overall dough hydration was 67%. The dates were incorporated just before shaping. Once the dough had done bulk fermenting, I flattened the dough completely on flour-dusted bench-top, and placed the dates one by one on the top of the dough as I de-stoned them. I didn't keep count how many I had used, but as many as I could. I then rolled up the dough and shaped it round.
While I was taking the above photo, the sun was very strong. But all of a sudden it went behind all the clouds (see photo below). The true colour of the crumb was more like in between these two shots.
(4) T80 miche with bacon & pasta sauce
- 218 grams 65% T80 starter
- 262 grams water
- 654 grams T80 flour
- 7 grams salt (1%)
for the bacon and pasta sauce
- 170 grams bacon (the part that has no fat), diced and pan-fired in a tbsp of butter (once cooked, the bacon will reduce in weight to about 100 grams).
- 270 grams of the pasta sauce, mixed into the cooked bacon.
Total weight was 1.5 kg and approximate overall hydration was 67 - 68%. (Depending on the consistency of your pasta or tomato sauce, you could increase your water. In fact, my dough was slightly on the dry side.)
It was getting dark and cloudy. I should have waited until the next morning to cut into this loaf. But, NO, I had to see....
Sorry for the poor lighting. I didn't want to use my camera flash light and I didn't want to turn on my kitchen halogen lights either.
Well, this concludes my experiments. It is too easy to inject flavours. You can do anything you want. One day I might roast a whole leg of lamb wrapped in sourdough bread and use a chainsaw to saw it. My daughter said, "Don't be ridiculous."
It is way harder to try to ferment the flour.
The cello is playing inside the house and outside the house the rain is falling. I ask myself if this T80 flour is what I have been waiting for all this while. It is interesting how I have been fixated on something and have lost sight of something else.
Our family has been settled back in Oz for five years now. This coming Easter we are going to Singapore for a small break, and to reacquaint ourselves where we left off five years ago. The family is feeling an unexplained excitement.
This Easter marks my one year anniversary since I began baking sourdough. It has been a journey for me on many levels and I thank many people at The Fresh Loaf, as well as other on-line bread sites, for my development. I started off doing something, but I ended up finding something else. I am truly blessed.
Thank you everyone here at TFL and wherever you may be.
Shiao-Ping I love how this one Miche looks.
I can see by the color of the browning the bread kept expanding as it baked. You see the dark brown where it cooked the longest to the very pale color right next to the slash. I can see the bubbles in the crumb where the bread is trying to burst through the crust. I'll bet it tastes great.
Your little part on using fresh ingredients made me wonder if you were going to start milling your own flour?
Yes, I love how that bread looks myself. I was never sure how my bread would turn out. I cannot control or predict.
The bread actually looks better than it tastes, I am sorry to say. The black bits on the surface were burned bits and tasted bitter, but the crust was certainly crunchy. The interesting thing is, this particular T80 flour I've got never gives me crispy crust. Crunchy does not equal crispy. Crispiness has a lightness to it that crunchiness does not have. Over the last 10 days to two weeks, I have used up more than 10 kg T80 flour; none of the sourdough I baked with it gave me genuine crispy crust.
Start milling my flour? I am not as ambitious as you are. I know you mill your flour. I have to search for a suitable electric home miller in Australia (for the voltage) first if I want to start milling.
Have you ever made a bread using 100% home milled flour (including the flour in the starter), or 80 - 90%? Is the bread quality up to your standard?
Hey, you know what I was thinking when I was writing about the fresh ingredients? - your comment at Sourdough Companion about how you think 75 - 85% of how good a wine is depends on how good the grapes are! I love your comment HERE (so good) and here.
You are not the only one that can't predict how their bread is going to turn out. I do love it when bread gets oven spring like the loaf I pointed out. To bad about the black bits.
I'm going to be doing some experimenting with barley which I felt gave me a crisp crust. I imagine I'll post my results somewhere. The last time I used it I got crusts that seemed to explode when I cut the bread. I cut the barley back to 5% and it seemed to give me the crust that I liked.
Well I was going to recommend a human powered grain mill since you had the health club part in your original post but just couldn't picture you doing that. Since you were specific about it having to be an electric mill for Australia here is a site I ran across when I was searching to buy my mill. http://www.skippygrainmills.com.au/
I have a few times made 100% home milled flour bread including the starter. I'm making a loaf right now and I found that by tweaking my original no knead recipe that I have over come some problems. I increased the hydration of my starter to 77% for fresh milled whole wheat and it works better than when I was doing 50% hydration. One of the reasons I used bread flour for my preferment builds is because of how the preferment turned out. Now I no longer have to use bread flour. The hydration of the loaf has been reduced to 77%, just an educated guess, and last weeks loaf turned out really good. I needed more dough to fill the basket up so I'm increasing the weight by 200 grams this week. I eat this bread for lunch and it has just the right flavors and amount of sour that I like. I also have been doing a 100% whole spelt loaf that has even a better crumb that the wheat loaf and it is only at 66% hydration. I really like how the 100% spelt loaf tastes.
Wine? are we going to talk about that again? That was a fun thread. Well if you do get a bad bottle of wine you can always use it to marinade meat for a BBQ.
Thank you very, very much for forwarding the Australian grain mill website to me. I must not have been searching correctly because I have not been able to find anything decent. I have since contacted them to try to find out some more information about it. You are experienced in home grain milling and since my post is about T80 flour, do you know how to mill T80 style of flour at home?
My husband's favourite BBQ marinade is red wine, garlic (and a secret Chinese ingredient). Don't they say not to use wine that we don't drink in our cooking?! Joking..... We certainly don't feed our best wine to our BBQ.
That WAS a fun thread.
I would have to say that I don't know how to mill T80 flour at home. I did just buy a sieve to use with my flour milling to remove the larger particles from the milled flour. I think I'll end up with a flour that will be just right for me. Maybe this weekend I'll make a loaf with this flour to see how it turns out. For T80 I'll have to do some reading to see what it is.
My dad had a secret Chinese BBQ marinade and I can see that there is one ingredient that would make sense in your husband's BBQ marinade. I think I'll have to BBQ this weekend too.
A girl friend who is a very good cook uses her BBQ to slow roast leg of lamb. She comes home for lunch and put the BBQ on, then when she comes back again from work the roast is done. I don't know how she controls the heat but it sure sounds like a great idea.
By the way the secret Chinese sauce is no secret at all. It's the soy.
This is what I BBQ in.
There are several ways to control the heat in it but I use a computer controlled fan. You can read about the Stoker here http://www.rocksbarbque.com/ I have done overnight cooks in it so it isn't surprising that she can BBQ a leg of lamb while at work. I have also made bread and pizza in this BBQ.
That sends tweets and can be controlled by a smartphone, now i've seen it all, if this had been posted nearer 1 April I would have thought you were 'aving a larf!......cheers Steve
Forgot to mention that your idea of baking however long the large loaf needs under cover and then only leave 15 minutes at the end without cover to brown the loaf has worked out really well for me. Shiao-Ping
I saw that is what you said you did in the directions. Looks like you got rid of most of the burning problem. I really like cooking bread this way too as it turns out great.
Do you not find that leaving the dough for 35 minutes covered, makes the crust tough? All of the miches in this post have somewhat tough crusts. I mean the crust is crunchy enough, but just not real crispy. I am beginning to think that it is not because of the flour I had used. I am thinking that it is because of the baking method. And I suspect if I only do, say no more than 25 minutes covered, then, the crust won't be that bad.
I looked back over my records and the crusts have been thin crisp and crunchy. One of my testers doesn't like a thick tough crust like she gets somewhere else but likes my crust even when it is whole wheat. I didn't get crusts like this until I started covering the bread while it was cooking. The mysteries of baking bread, I wonder why your crust is tough?
that it is the flour.... Thanks.
I did read some more about T80 flour and I do believe I can mill and make a T80 flour if I wanted to. I have a furnace at work that I could use to check the ash content if I really got curious. In my mind I think I can make a Miche with whole grain flours that have had the course pieces sifted out. This could really be close to your T80 flour Miche.
Hey, LeadDog, Thank you for your info. I have to think on what you said and come back.
I've just brought a bag of Wessex Mill French flour in the UK (easily available from Farm shops www.wessexmill.co.uk) but I doubt I will be as experimental!, great looking and no doubt tasting breads!, thanks for sharing your recipes, Cheers Steve
Thank you for all your contributions on TFL. I rarely comment, for lack of vocabulary (how many times do you want to hear Wow! from me). Your posts are always very concise, so I understand clearly what you have done, and have learned a great deal because of this, but more than that you convey a spirit, an energy, a poetry which encourages me on a different level. Thank you.
My water tank could do with some of your rain, I guess Brisbane's weather is being influenced by Tropical Cyclone Ului.
Here's to an enjoyable short break in Singapore, what are you looking forward to most?
A poetry? Thank you for letting me know there is poetry for you. I can feel your poetry.
I didn't know it's dry where you are. There is a very special organic aged Oolong tea farmer in the outskirts of Taipei. He is a young man with a pony tail - and a vision. He lost two fingers (or three?) from his last job and decided to come home to work on their family tea plantation. It took him 15 years to turn his Dad's plantation to an organic site. I last visited him maybe 2 years ago. For organic farming he has to be attuned to weather reports, and he expands his research to global climate change. He uses a free Yahoo satellite climate tracker for ocean movements and tries to spot changes in the global trend. Pointing to his computer, he said to me that, over the continent of Australia the ocean currents had never brought much... (what's the word?) but that something has been slowly changing. This was two years ago. Perhaps that change has not made its way to your area?!
Speaking of quality ingredients, one thing which stood out for me when I borrowed the bourke st bakery book from the library last year was their focus on great ingredients over cosmetics. As I recall they even said they'd be willing to sell organic stoneground flour to home bakers.......
I've been here 10 years and this has been the driest summer, but nothing like the drought conditions Australia gets. If I weren't so frugal I could buy a tanker load of water but my experiences working in the bush in Africa have taught me to use water wisely.....still some rain would be good.
btw A Taiwanese company has set up an oolong tea operation in the Waikato and is starting to convert to organic operation.
You are always so resourceful.
Hey a friend has just sent me a link on New York Times about hot springs in Taiwan, beautiful pictures of hot springs.
What beautiful and creative breads, Shio-Ping. You are an inspiration.
I just checked my dictionary under creative energy and, surprise, your picture was there.
I completely understand your need to work with flavors to change things up. The artistry is quite unique. My wife thinks the first looks like a lotus or poppy. A beautiful work up Shiao-Ping. Thank you for sharing.
The finality of your closing is troubling SP. I hope you can find your direction and discover the fine points of fermenting to bring the best of grain.
(I am slow in learning) that creative energy does not need to be applied on art or craft. A precious friend my daughter has over in Paris has found science a creative source for energy. One day I might take up a course on physics. Ha. Wouldn't that be fun.
Your T80 miche with garlic and continental parsley looks like a roasted chest nut to me. :D I too like addins but it makes it harder to sell to the family as they can be picky eaters sometimes. I am making bread this weekend with all home ground flour used in the starter and loaves. It is time consuming but I like doing it. I am working on a "better" lean 100% WW loaf. I have so much room for improvement in the WW realm. What is your families favorite bread? Great post as always.
My family's favorite bread? Whatever bread they get served! Talk about a supportive family!
It was the only picture of myself on the computer I made my account on. I hadn't been called young man for a long time. Now to find a good new icon.
What about chopped or grated chestnuts on that outer layer, then when they roast brown, they just get better in lieu of bitter. The garlic could be mixed with mashed potato to protect it yet get a roasted potato taste, the inside loaf onion. The flowering effect is so exotic! Yet so tempting. Those petals beg to be stolen and munched on.
These miches are truely inspirational, I can see all kinds of combinations!
I've been restricting my comments to your blog for your own sanity! I've wanted to comment a billion times, but luckily for you I'll sum it up in one wholesome and simple word: Amazing!
I've taken a baby step into the world of sourdough because I've gotten over my Sourdough Anxiety, which happens to all new sourdough bakers (demonym?). A couple of months ago I made a sourdough loaf that you would be proud of, but it was overwhelmingly sour. I know sour bread is the prized possession of any baker but it scared me half to death, so I threw my starter into our arctic abyss, which is also known as a fridge, never to be seen again. As I read more and more of your posts I gained the confidence to rip it out of the fridge and give it another try. Providentially my loaves turned out with a healthy balance of sour. I now feel aplomb and ready to try my luck at natural levining.
I see no better experience than the one we gain on our own. We never own other people's experience. While I would read and study other bakers' methods, nothing can replace our own hands-on experience.
I wish you all the best in your own baking endeavour.
I know this is an old topic but maybe someone here can help me. I feel like I've been having some success with my sourdough breads lately, not to the level of the breads pictured here, but I'm happy with the results I've been getting. I'd like to start milling my own flour at home and I've been looking at the available grain mills in Australia. I've looked at the links provided above and they seem like great units. Has anyone heard anything about the Waldner grain mills? I can't seem to find much information about them in English, other than they are made in Austria. I found a company selling them here in Australia. They seem to be at the higher end of grain mill prices. https://www.livingwhole.com.au/grain-mill-australia/ I'm also interested in the Mockmill range of anyone has any experience or advice it would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Thank you for your message here. I understand that milling your own flour is the next step up in terms of home artisan sourdough baking. I would suggest that you pose the question in the forum or search the topic on the forum and see what you can find there. I haven't had the pleasure of milling my own flour but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Good luck! Shiao-Ping