a little help with peasant bread?
Good people of the Internet,
I'm trying to bake a plain round loaf of peasant bread in a conventional oven. I just want a dark, hearty loaf with big holes and lots of texture. After several miserable failures, here I am, begging for your expert advice.
My latest attempt:
1. Put together a poolish (a bit of yeast, a cup of cool water, a little brown sugar and flour) and let it sit out for 18 hours. Room temp 73 degrees.
2. Combined flours (40% whole wheat, 40% rye, a little oat flour and a little baking flour) with the poolish, some more yeast, some molasses and salt. Let rise for 90 minutes. The dough was on the wet side. 3.5 cups of dough, 1 cup of water.
3. Gently folded the dough w/o punching down or kneading heavily, added flour as needed. Did this 3 times, 45 minutes apart. Thought I had a nice ball of dough.
4. Pre-heated the oven and a baking stone to 475 degrees. Had a pan of water and a spray bottle to create steam for a solid crust.
5. Scored the loaf, put it in on the top rack, sprayed all over for the first 5 minutes. The oven lost a lot of heat because of this. Turned it down to 425 and baked for 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
The crust comes out great, but my crumb is nowhere near what it ought to be. It's half cooked, and there are NO holes! It's super dense, like brownies. Inedible. I've tried to do this with plain baking flour and without a poolish, with the same result.
What am I doing wrong? Is there not enough yeast to begin with? (Using one packet of active dry.) Is it not rising long enough? Am I manhandling my dough? Clearly, the oven's not baking it long enough, as the internal temp was only 170 degrees instead of the target of 210. But something else is just wrong...