Starter seems to work, but not getting a complete loaf..
I'm fairly new to baking, but have been homebrewing for many years now. I'm no stranger to proper temps and measurments and such, and I can make a regular loaf of white bread with no trouble. In fact, I started baking simply to have fresh white bread for my daily sandwich at work.. nothing more. As a result of my love for sour beers, I got interested in sourdough.. and started a, well, starter, a couple weeks ago. It's a 100% hydration model, and has the ability to easily double and sometimes triple it's volume in the glass jar I keep it in at room temp (now, 63 degrees F upstairs..), usually within 2-3 hours.
My problem comes when I try to make a simple loaf of bread with it. It simply will not rise properly (with one exception, I'll get to that..). I'm looking to make a basic 500 gram loaf, to just fit in a standard 8.5x4.5x3 inch loaf pan. I end up with right around 500 grams of final dough, shape the loaf and the dough will rise to about 1/2 to 3/4 the hight of the pan's verticle wall, and then stop dead.
When I use commercial yeast, I usually let the loaf go up to just about 1/2 inch over the top of the pan, then throw it in the oven and it pops up a bit more, making for perfect sized bread slices.. but my sourdough won't rise that high. I've kept the dough sealed in a plastic bag in the pan for as long as 24 hours, with no success. It rises fine in the jar, just not when turned into a bread recipe. I'm using what I believe is a fairly standard recipe % of about the 1:2:3 range. My last loaf, which I had high hopes for, was 247 grams of KA bread flour, 160 grams of water, 86 grams of active starter (just recently built up from 25 grams over the past two days.. it was at its peak) and 4.5 grams of salt. Mixed in my mixer for 5 minutes, rested for 10, mixed again for 5, kneaded until the 'window pane test' seemed perfect.. the dough was elastic, slightly tacky, but didn't stick to my hands. It rose weakly for about an hour and a half.. seemed puffed up to me, but not quite doubled. I folded it, formed a loaf in a pyrex glass loaf pan and set it in the hearth area of the stove downstairs in the family room with a constant measured temp in this room of 73 degrees F. That was 11am yesterday morning. I watched it periodcally until midnight yesterday, 13 hours later, and saw it had risen only 1/2 up the pan.. early this morning, it was about 2/3ds up the pan, and at 10am this morning, it seems to have just plain stopped right about there, at the 2/3rds mark.
I should say, the first two times I did sourdough, I followed a crazy recipe that used an enormous ammount of starter, about 1/2 starter and 1/2 flour and just a little water, and that loaf rose slowly, but eventually got big enough to bake and it tastes great. But the dough is nearly unworkble by hand, and totally unworkable in the mixer. But that recipe just seems crazy. But, it keeps me on the sourdough hook, because the taste is so good. Where am I going wrong? All I want is a plain old white brad sourdough loaf. I'm not doing anythign crazy here, am I?