Basic bread - same problem every time
Hi everyone, I'm new to bread baking and I really need some help. Every loaf I make has the same problem - it is heavy, dense and often a bit doughy.
I've used Laucke bread mix and supermarket flour (plain and wholemeal). I've tried 3 different types of yeast. I've tried a number of kneading techniques. I've tried wet dough and I've tried dry dough.
The breadmix instructions say to knead for 10 minutes solid then prove for an hour, punch down and prove for another hour. A recent expert on TV says to knead lightly every 20 mins for the first hour then shape and prove for another hour. I'm proving in a humid, temp controlled environment at 40C (104F).
The only common thread is the oven - it is wood fired so I'm not totally sure what temperatures I'm hitting, but the loaf "looks" done in about half an hour.
What causes a dense loaf? Should I be proving for longer? Should my dough be soft and moist and easy to knead or dry and stiff and prone to tearing? I've baked about 10 loaves so far and I just can't seem to nail it.