Help creating a light loaf
This is my first post. I have a lot of experience making dough for pizza, but have only made a few loaves of bread. If anyone is interested in making pizza, I have probably the most popular pizza recipe on the net. Just google "NY pizza recipe" and you'll see my name, Jeff Varasano, as the first result. Just follow the link for my pizza tips.
Anyway, I need some help with my bread. I've made 9 batches and I'm making progress, but still not happy. Here are some photos:
Even though the bread has nice wholes, it's very dense. Maybe crusty is the better word. I had a bread in NY over Xmas that was super light and airy inside. What factors tend to make the dough lighter and a bit less crusty? My basic process is this: I'm using Gold Medal Harvest King flour, filtered water, kosher salt and a sourdough starter (no IDY or commercial yeast). I did a 20 minute autolyze, a short mix, 2 turns spread over an hour and then a 12 hour 50F rise, followed by 2 more turns and about 4 hours at 72F. It's baked on a stone in a preheated 450F oven (although the stone measuered only 400F with an IR thermometer). I sprayed it with water upon entry and again at 20 minutes.
It seems like the inside is kind of gummy and needed to lose more water. But in my pizza experience, using a wet dough is better for spring, so I didn't want to dry out the dough prior to bake. So I thought that baking it longer might help, but then the bottom was starting to get very crusty and hard. You can see how thick the bottom crust is. Anyway, does anyone have any general guidelines or rules of thumb for making the dough more airy and light?