Leah I am still learning myself so I have my share of goof ups. I don’t have a lot of starter on hand so I have to basically refresh and build up to what I need. My second last Einkorn starter had the "hooch on top and grey film) so I mixed it in and after 2 days I thought was ok but wasn’t in the bake. Last time I scooped it out added a bit of pineapple juice and flour it took off and worked really well.
I do though absolutely love sourdough rye and found that Eric’s recipe is wonderful. In order to work with the dough I changed his recipe to a 68% hydration (and other minor additions) and still get excellent texture and flavor. Rye though just does not raise like other “rustic” breads (I guess you would call it that) and the more rye % the harder it is to work with as it gets real sticky the more rye is in it. My last I baked on the grill in a dutch oven and it spread out a bit rather than up but was about 2 1/2" high, I actually need to make a larger loaf for the 5 qt DO. Was reading Reinhard today and his pictures weren’t any different than my last in height, so it wasn’t that bad.
This is my take: My best rye results have been in a loaf pan or in a clay baker (especially with the high hydration rate), the 2 that I made on the stone spread out a bit. Since changing the hydration rate and paying attention to the dough as I am kneading it (I knead until I get strength to the dough) I am getting the dough to pretty much hold its shape. The last loaf I made instead of adding a lot of flour to manipulate the dough I used a oil on the work surface and I may not have kneaded it enough as it was a little more difficult to tell if was right, going back to flour. Practice, practice maybe I’ll get it right someday.
As I cracked my round clay baker and am baking on the grill now (so not to heat the house up) I am going to try the next time around to ferment, shape and proof the rye dough in the cooler then place the cold dough on the baking stone on the grill all by its lonesome.
I used to over-proof almost every time I made bread. Never had the problem in the store but here at home I was always trying to get the proof to max and I’d wind up over-proofing.
I pretty much make every thing whole grain so that seems to add some issues I am not used to. Proof time, time of year, humidity and the grain you are using all seem to contribute to the variables. At least that is what I am seeing.You really have to get a feel for it but I would rather under-proof than over-proof. An underproof will have spring.
My last Naturally Leavened Sourdough Einkorn baked up perfectly but did not rise during the ferment or rise in the pan the way Melissa’s do. I have though been able to repeat the bake several times so at least here I must be doing something right, even if it did not work the way she wrote.
One of the things I did do once (following what Peter Reinhard does) is add a teaspoon of instant yeast to my Sourdough Rye and it came out really good, it did help with the spring. Even saved an Einkorn that did not rise during the ferment with the instant yeast, again just a teaspoon.
When you post and think you have a problem include a picture, you may not be as bad as you think. Here is one I made a month or so ago.
Sorry for the long winded post! Happy baking!!