how to get a good crumb and crust?
So I'm starting my very first sourdough bread and I've made the sourdough starter. I'm using the instructions in the Bread Bakers Apprentice book. I've made bread before (never sourdough) and always had problems with the crumb and crust and I want to make sure I dont have this problem with my first sourdough bread, as I'm sure you can imagine how frustrating it would be to put over a week into something and not have it turn out right.
So my usual problem is that my crumb is dense. It turns out really nice in pizza dough and bread rolls, but for a nice large bread loaf or boule it just dosent work well. The crust is often 50/50. I've been able to get it nice and brown and crusty before, but other times it turns out grey and weird.
What I usually do is mix the dough via stand mixer for about 5 minutes, transfer it to the counter and kneed for about 5-10 minutes as well. I can never get it to pass the window pane test without the extra kneeding.
After that I let it rise for about and hour or 2. Then I deflate it, mold it into the shape I want and let it rise again for about and hour before putting in the oven.
I received some advice from some bakers at the farmers market near me last weekend. They said that because the area (NYC) is humid this time of year, I should let it rise in the fridge instead of on the counter and that I need to let at rise and deflate 3-4 times before I'll get the nice crumb that I want.
Will these tips solve the problem or are there any other tips you can recomend? Also, what kind of crumb can I expect from a sourdough bread?