Preventing French bread "deflation" during scoring?
Hello, all. I'm brand new to bread-baking, and have made two rather unsuccessful attempts at simple French bread this weekend. The problem? With both batches, when I scored the top of the bread before baking, the loaf "deflated." I end up with a rather flat loaf (maybe 1 1/2 inches high) with a spongy center and thick, chewy crust. Tastes good, but a bit hard on the jaws....
Here are some specifics:
* Used a kitchenaid mixer to start the kneeding, but finish up by hand (folding and pulling, like I'm supposed to). Dough is firm enough so that it doesn't stick to by hands easily, but still fairly slack. I use flour, but sparingly--dust my hands, not the bread.
* First rising (in oven, with steam) it doubles, no problem. Punch down, turn out, divide, let rest for 10 minutes covered.
* Shape by rolling (for 2 loaves) or folding (for mini-loaves).
* Put seam-side down on baking sheet, pinch ends, cover, let rise again--no problem--loaves get bigger, look pretty.
* Remove from oven, make shallow scores (with knife or razor blade)--dough pulls, bread deflates. In the oven, I get no "spring," and the scores never open up.
The first recipe I used was from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, the second (from the web) was slightly different in terms of treatment of yeast and the addition of a small amount of sugar. But, the dough rose both times. Clearly, with two recipes and the same results, it's something I'm doing or not doing. Come to think of it, I tried wheat bread (white/wheat combo) in loaf pans this weekend as well, and also had no problem with first and second rise, and deflation wasn't a problem, but again, no oven spring. What am I doing to my poor bread dough? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!