ARGH! Dense Bread Causing Severe Depression
I need help!
I've been trying my hand at getting better at making bread. I bought and read Lionel Vatinet's book "A Passion For Bread" and followed his instructions for baking Country Fresh Bread. I use a scale for weighing the ingredients, and I check the water temperature and dough temperature and keep them within his recommendations. The recipe I'm using is:
454 grams unbleached, unbromated white bread flour
9 grams fine sea salt
5 grams instant dry yeast (Saf-Instant)
320 grams water
I've used King Arthur brand white bread flour, Carolina Ground 85, 75, and Crema flour, and every time and ingredient leads to the same result -- DENSE BREAD. I can't seem to get past this. I've tried adjusting the water amount, blending the flours, changing the time I'm kneading with the stand mixer, adding hand kneading after the stand mixer, going for a warmer final rise temperature. Nothing seems to work. I can't get that nice open crumb and fat loaf I see all the time with other bakers.
For those of you not familiar with Vatinet's process, I use 65-70F water, knead in a stand mixer at speed 1 for 5 minutes, followed by kneading for 4 minutes in the mixer at speed 2. My dough temp ends up from 72-80F, and I let it rise for one hour at 75-80F or until doubled. I lightly press the dough to deflate, then fold the corners to center and shape the loaf into a tight ball. I then let it rest for another hour at 75-80F, but here is where it just doesn't go. It rises a little, but not enough to get that nice crumb. I've tried letting it sit longer, sometimes up to two hours, but then it still hasn't risen like it should and the outside gets dried out.
I've tested my yeast and it is fresh and good.
I'm really at a loss and almost ready to give up. I've gone through at least ten loaves now with the same results. Can anyone HELP???