Excessive bread firming
My bread hardens excessively, especially when stored in paper bags...
Types of bread:
Pain de campagne made with 40 % pate fermentee and 10 % rye flour
Sourdough bread made with 40 % wholegrain flour
Sourdough read made with 50 % rye flour
After 2 days, the chewing is really a challenge for the teeth and jaws (starting with the crust, but gradually also the crumb)
Is it normal, just due to loss of moisture? i think it can be better.
Could it be the flour i am using is too rich in gluten? I tried an autolyse of 40 minutes before addition of salt and yeast - which supposedly weakens the gluten - and it seemed to me that the bread maintained a softer consistency, still not satisfactory
Does excess dough hydration or excess residual moisture increase firming by speeding up starch retrogradation? again it seemed to me that further drying up the bread during baking made it keep a softer crumb as it aged, but still not enough
If someone has an idea, please guide me in my next trials...
Should i try to switch to a weaker flour? or mix with all purpose?
Should i try a longer autolyse (like 2 hours)?
Should i reduce the initial hydration? or dry the bread better during baking?
When it is fresh the crumb is quite moist (overly i would say) but becomes ok after a few hours
the bread looks and tastes great... i am selling it at the market and getting positive feedback, but this firming issue is really a problem
Bread hardens, this is normal, but does not need to be so tough to chew!
Thank you for your help,