I need encouragement!!!
Okay, I'm new at this. This is my third attempt at baking sourdough. I'm a long time home bread baker, but like others am bamboozled by this 'sourdough thing'. I've got a great 100% hydration white bread flour and filtered water starter going. There are so many conflicting instructions about sponges, recipes, how-to's etc, I don't know quite what I'm doing wrong. My sourdough doesn't rise as much as my commercial yeast bread and to be honest it's a little 'brick like'. hem.... I increased a recipe that used two cups of sponge and three cups white bread flour, the usual sugar, salt, oil and no extra water. Instead I used about 3 1/4 cups sponge, 2 cups wholemeal and 2 cups white. The first proof is really nice, rises double, and has no cracks. Then, when I shape it and set to rise the second time, it rises quickly and cracks develop all over it. With this one, I thought it looked too wet and was full of cracks about twenty minutes into the proofing, and I also thought it was rising too quickly, so I re-shaped it and let it rise over a longer period. It went so much better, but I don't think it's rising double and the texture seems quite heavy. Am I expecting too much? I want my bread to be PERFECT NOW!!! : ) This bread comes out nice and shiny and golden brown, but can you add anything by what I've said, and by the photo? Please..... anybody.....????