Given that I am probably in the presence of people who actually know what they’re doing, I have been reluctant to post my latest effort on here. But this is the fourth loaf of bread I have ever made in my life; my standards are pretty low; it needs to look like bread and not kill me after eating it.
My original recipe called for 4 hours of initial proofing and 3-3 1/2 hours of second proof. That has gone out the window. My autopsy of previous victims suggested I was over-proofing the bread dough, which reduced the rising. I think I was also using too much AP flour which made the crust pretty hard, like a tortoise shell. Very difficult to cut through even with one of my work knives.
In the latest formulation I reduced the AP flour, slightly increased the Vital Wheat Gluten (as bread flour is not available), and increased the amount of starter. I also eliminated the second proofing, only doing the initial proof of 4 hours.
I had low expectations so I didn’t really knock the dough back very much or shape the loaf properly. My scoring of the top was too shallow which is probably what caused the loaf to burst a little around the bottom.
The taste is good and this should make decent garlic bread for tonight. I will probably play with the chemistry a little more and am using a starter made from a different flour (whole wheat as opposed to whole meal). That explains the tan tinge to the bread.
I had a pretty good air bubble at the top but I like this crust better; it is more flakey and cut much easier.
So, the quest goes on.