Help with slumping French bread
In my recent retirement, I've branched out from a lifetime of family cooking into the realm of baking, specifically bread baking. My goal is to bake french bread from scratch. However, I cannot get over a certain hurdle. Here's my story...
I've tried probably 7-8 different artisan recipes and have made 12-14 different attempts but ALWAYS suffer from severe slumping on the second rise. Remember how you could put a rolled up ball of Silly Putty on the counter, only to return in 20 minutes to find that it's slumped flat? That's what all of my loaves do. I've tried shortening my first rise, switching to very active yeast, kneading more, kneading less, etc., you name it- I've tried it. My loaves turn out wonderfully- egg washed to perfection, gorgeous to the eye, tasty as can be, but none of them are over 2-3 inches tall. They look like glutenized slugs. Help!
Thanks in advance!