French bread (large Boule) sponge-like crumb
I have attempted to make a large French boule, but the crumb always turns out like a sponge. I have tried higher and lower hydration levels. I want a fluffy, cottonball-like crumb, but consistently end up with an unusually heavy, spongy loaf and I'm tired of this!!!!
Here's the recipe that I tried...
1- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp instant yeast
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
I added enough flour to make a sticky dough that almost completely pulled off of the kneading surface and let it proof in the refrigerator for about 15 hours.
I let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. When the internal temperature reached about 205 degrees F, I removed the loaf from the oven (conventional oven) with baking stone, preheated at 425 degrees F.
There were some irregular sized holes, which I don't really care for. I just want a more delicate crumb and not a sponge. It tastes decent when toasted, but I want a bread that is tasty enough to eat without toasting.
Should I bake at a higher temperature for about two minutes, then reduce temp. to about 450 degrees F?
How good can French bread turn out using instant yeast? Has anyone tried using fresh yeast and how was the crumb?
Any suggestions most appreciated.