My quest for great oven spring *and* holier crumb
I've noticed what I think is a pattern, and I'm hoping you more experienced bakers will have a suggestion or two.
Over the several months I've been baking bread, the most inconsistent aspect of my results have been the crumb: I'm shooting for a nice open crumb, but often it's on the dense side. Most often, I've used the European Peasant bread recipe from AB5MD, and get a superb crust and taste. Oven temps and steaming procedure are always identical.
If I do a great job shaping, and the amount of proof is right on, my dough firmness/slackness is just right when I slash. From this I get very good oven spring and scoring results, but the crumb is denser.
If I do a mediocre job shaping (i.e., hurriedly stretch my batard and plop it in the banetton to rise overnight in the fridge) or OVERproof at room temp, my dough is too slack to "hold" the scores, and my oven spring is poor to mediocre, but the crumb is much holier than in the first example...much more to my liking.
I noticed this a few weeks ago, and since then I've been able to replicate
good shaping/proofing = tall loaf and dense crumb
suboptimal shaping/proofing = flatter loaf and holier crumb.
This has held true with all four recipes I've tried, including those using my starter. Since the crust and taste are always very good, I'm forced to choose between oven spring or holy crumb...and I'm convinced there must be a middle ground...but where?
What should I be paying more attention to in order to get both great oven spring *and* a holier crumb?
Thanks so much for your ideas!