This spring we’ve perfected two new loaves at the Bakehouse, Miss Kim’s Baguette and Country Miche. They are both full-flavored, crusty, moist and use interesting grains and method for production.
We began working on the Miss Kim Baguette in January. We wanted to improve the baguette that we made a few years ago for Ji Hye (Managing partner of Miss Kim) She used to run a monthly special Banh Mi sandwich at the Delicatessen. While that bread was good and contained a bit of rice flour, we had the opportunity to make it even more special.
We started with Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice flour (an organic and heritage rice) and used our original recipe. While we liked it a lot, but we still wanted to feature the rice flour more. So we decided to continue to refine the recipe. The original recipe called for a mush by cooking rice flour and water. We then decided to add rice flour to the poolish in the recipe. The poolish is preferment usually consisting of equal weights of flour and water with a tiny amount of yeast and allowed to ferment for 12 hours. While this modification made the baguette a bit tastier, we still felt like we hadn’t hit a bullseye. Toasting some rice flour and adding it to the poolish was a pièce de résistance!
Our mush made of Carolina Gold rice flour and the poolish made of rice flour and toasted rice flour, created a dough that bakes into a moist, slightly sweet, and aromatic baguette. It’s best baked with some color to complement the moist and tasty crumb.
You can try our rice baguette at Miss Kim (our really great Korean restaurant). Order a Banh Mi for lunch and see for yourself how full flavored it is. Or come to our Bakeshop for lunch on Monday and Tuesday to taste the baguette on a Big Bob’s Kentucky Ham Slam. Or just pick one up from the Bakeshop at the Bakehouse or the Bread Box at the Delicatessen and serve it with some of your favorite cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery. You’ve got options!
Miss Kim baguettes are available daily now at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Delicatessen, or Miss Kim.
Our next project of the spring was to pay tribute to old style country breads that use a combination of grains. Our Country Miche features True North flour from the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan. We love this bread because it has a hearty amount of rye flour, a bit of whole spelt and a bit of whole buckwheat. It’s turning out to be my favorite new bread of the past 15 years.
Country Miche is a sourdough bread but the sourdough isn’t the dominant flavor that you taste. You can taste a delicious combination of grains and it has a deep caramel like finish due to baking with a super dark crust. We’ve been baking them in 2-kilo loaves as they would have been baked a couple of centuries ago. Even with the dark bake, they remain moist and flavorful for far more than a week.
Here’s the story of how it’s made: It has its own unique starter which is fed and allowed to ferment for 12 hours or so. We autolyze the rest of the flours and water (it’s an 83% hydration bread which means it’s really wet) for two hours. Then add the starter and salt a bit more water and gently mix it for 2 minutes. We fold it three times at 30-minute intervals; allow it to ferment for an additional 2 ½ hours before dividing it. After a preshaping, it rests for 30 minutes or so, gets a gentle final shaping and then into the large baskets where it is allowed to get its final fermentation before baking. It’s bake for a bit more than an hour at about 450º. Then it needs to cool for a couple of hours or ideally overnight. Then slice it and enjoy!
Country Miche is available (whole, ½, or ¼ loaf) in August at Zingerman’s Bakehouse or Delicatessen.
by Frank Carollo, Bakehouse co-owner