What a colossal failure.
First thing’s first: I still do not know what “Poilâne Style Miche” even is. I didn’t read the blurb in the cookbook. All I know is that it contains a sourdough starter, water, salt, and sifted whole wheat flour. The loaf was supposed to be gigantic as it called for SEVEN cups of flour. That’s basically double the size of an average recipe, which normally yields two loaves. I didn’t want to use that much flour or be left with that big a loaf, so I decided to halve the recipe.
This bread was an all-day process. All the more reason to NOT ruin it. At 11am, I combined the starter (made the night before), flour, salt, and water. After kneading, it proofed for four hours. At 3pm, I formed it into a boule and it proofed again for, well, what should have been 3 hours but turned into four. The schedule was thrown off by my first-ever attempt at roasting a chicken. The chicken was edible in the end but that experience was a fiasco in itself. In the words of Vince Vaughn from Wedding Crashers, “I don’t want to get into what happened last night, ’cause it’s only gonna make me mad.” So, back to the bread.
It actually looked pretty good before I put it in the oven at 7:30. I let it bake for 25 minutes, then rotated the pan at 7:55. It was supposed to bake for another 30-40 minutes, but it looked like it was pretty close to done, so I only planned on leaving it in for 15-20 more minutes. It’s easy enough to remember to check the bread at 8:15, right? No need for the microwave timer, right?
I settled down onto the couch after an incredibly long day of Suzie Homemaker-type productivity (roast chicken notwithstanding) and Michael and I started watching this comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco, on a Showtime special. He turned out to be pretty funny, and before I knew it, it was 8:45. SHIT. I ran to the kitchen, but the damage had already been done. The bottom of the bread was totally burned. The top would have been pretty burned too, had I not decided to tent it with foil after the first 25 minutes. Regardless, it was terrible. I guess the worst part is that it’s the bread from the cover of the book. Looks the same, right? WRONG. I tasted some this morning, and even after scraping off the charred bottom, it doesn’t taste that good.
This bread is pretty much an exact replica of the bread from About a Boy, which Marcus throws into a pond and winds up killing a duck. If I lived near a pond, that’s where my bread would end up too.
So, what have we (read: I) learned from this experience? ALWAYS USE A TIMER. I guess even the best of us can get distracted (note: I am far from the best).