French bread problems
In my last post (my first) I had the problem of on my second attempt at French Bread of it collapsng. The problem was overproofing. However i cannot seem to make anything resembling anything other than a slightly raised flat bread. I formed my engram of what French bread should be in 1958 at the Brussels World Fair. In the early morning sales people on bycycles with saddlebags full, would bring still warm loaves of this bread with tubs of butter which we would purchase for breakfast. It was still warm. The crust was chewey and the inside soft and alost fluffy with a sweet taste. The dough was slightly moist but I remember most the chewey crust and the soft insides.
What I am turnng out is not at all what I would call French Bread. The crust is hard and crackly the inside heavy and what i would call doughy but of good flavor it is not the delicate inside that I remember. My son loves it but hes never tasted GOOD French Bread.
Now have i created a disaster for which there s no remedy and I should be prevented by force if necessary from attempting this again ?
I have used both all purpose flour and bread flour-- no difference. I have hand kneaded and perhaps thats the problem. I am thinking of buying a mixer. 200 dollar range is all I could afford can I get a good mixer for that and would that make a difference in the inside of the loaf and finialy how can I get a chewy not a hard crust? Oops one more thing can anyone suggest a brand and model of a mixer in my price range or suggestions on the wattage of the motor? Thanks