Pain Poilâne is a naturally fermented French country bread that weighs in at a hefty two kilograms. The flour used for the bread is high extraction gray flour, containing some but not all of the wheat bran. High extraction flour is not likely to be available at your local grocery store but Peter Reinhart suggests a couple of options in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
The first option is to sift the coarsest bits of bran from regular whole wheat flour. The approximate weight of the sifted flour should be anywhere between 85% to 95% of the original whole wheat flour weight. It’s a bit messy and time-consuming to manually sift all of the flour needed to make one Poilâne-style miche but there is a more convenient option. Using a mixture of equal amounts of whole wheat flour (100%) and bread flour (70%) approximates the extraction rate of gray flour (around 85%).
After tweaking the formula in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice several times, I settled on mixing 75% white whole wheat flour with 25% regular bread flour. I sometimes use equal amounts of white whole wheat and regular bread flour for a lighter loaf but prefer the added health benefits of using a larger amount of whole grains.
The crusty exterior and minimally airy crumb makes a very satisfying alternative to regular sandwich bread. I prefer lightly toasting a thick slice on one side, either drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or smeared with butter.
View Poilâne-Style High Extraction Miche recipe »