Can I get more of a rise from wholemeal flour?
I've been making sourdough loaves for about a year now, but I always seem to make bricks with none of the big air pockets which all the pictures say you should get! Can anyone point out where I may be going wrong?
I keep my starter in the fridge between bakes. It's made with white bread flour, refreshed using a 1:1:1 ratio (usually 25g:25g:25g). Before the bake I take it out of the fridge and refresh it once or twice at room temperature.Here's my starter:
I then make a sponge using 50g of the starter, 200g wholemeal stoneground bread flour, 100g white rye flour and 300ml cold water:
This bubbles away overnight (about 11 hours). This is what it looks like the next day:
From the side it looks like this:
I then add another 200g wholemeal flour, 100g white rye flour and also 250mg vitamin C (which I've heard helps the gluten) and knead the dough. I do about 30 seconds of kneading every 10 minutes - and repeat this 4 times. I add salt in the 3rd bit of kneading. I get a nice feeling dough at the end of this:
After 5 hours the dough has risen a bit:
I then knock back the dough and shape it (into a rough tube shape) and put into a bread tin to prove.
After 4 more hours the dough has risen a bit:
I then score the top:
And then bake it in the oven. Before the bread goes in I put a tray of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to create steam. The initial temperature is 250 celsius (480F). This goes down to 200 celsius (390F) after 15 minutes. After another 15 minutes I take the loaf out of the tin and put it back in the oven, but upside-down, to help get an even crust. After another 10 minutes the loaf is baked and comes out of the oven.
It tastes lovely, but I never get a good rise. The crumb is pretty dense and I don't get large air pockets. I have had success once where the loaf had risen by so much I actually squashed it getting into the oven. But nothing since then has come close, even though I've tried varying recipes.