Whole grain sourdough rye - help request
First of all, this is my first post to this site, so thank you to everyone associated with it. It looks like a great resource.
I am trying to jump in on the deep end by doing rye sourdough. I know, it is difficult. But I want to learn how to do it.
My main issue is that there are various methods given for rye bread, methods which are often vastly different. So, even finding a good starting point was tough. Further, I use a gas oven.
Anyway, for my first effort the other day, I followed Ronald Feldstein's recipe as given here. It did not rise very much, and came out of the oven with a soggy center. It tasted great, but it was dense and soggy in the middle. Not sure what went wrong but it was somewhat off the mark.
I am wondering if anyone here could recommend a good "recipe" to use as a guideline. I have seen several rye sourdough recipes, often with greatly different quantities and baking times, multiple stages, different terminology, etc. It is somewhat confusing to reconcile the different recipes. The thing is, I have a good batch of starter/sponge/whatever that I have been keeping going with my home milled whole rye flour, and it is nice and bubbly, and ready to go...I just am not sure what exactly to do with it.
My main questions are:
1. How many stages of sponging, or proofing, are really necessary? Recipes that I have seen range from very casual sounding descriptions to anal retentive multi-stage minutes/grams tomes that are difficult to follow.
2. What should I be aiming for with kneading and dough consistency? The first effort was difficult to mix by a spoon at the end, yet was very sticky. Could it have gotten so dry and dense as to inhibit rising and make the center soggy? Or is the soggy center a sign of overhydration?
3. What should I do with the oven? Baking times and temperatures are all over the map in the recipes I have seen.
Any advice that anyone could give, any links, anything, would be much appreciated. I am quite enthusiastic about the idea of learning to make whole rye and whole wheat breads now that I have a home flour mill, but I naturally need some time on the learning curve. My main difficulty now is trying to find a good starting point - the recipes on the internet are not consistent.
Thanks again. Happy baking!