I've been baking for many years but, until recently, have been using the old "knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface, let double, knock back and prove a second time then bake" method. Time between mixing and baking typically around 1 hour!
After reading Dan Lepard's "The handmade loaf" and Peter Reihart's "Crust and crumb" and "The bread baker's apprentice", I discovered the "slow rise" method and using wild yeast as my leaven. It now takes me at least 2 days to properly create a loaf. Time well spent too. I haven't eaten any store-bought bread for 3-4 months now and my wild-yeast culture is alive and well.
I've added a thick garden ceramic tile in the oven, I have an oven thermometer, a pan to put water in and I spray the loaves and the oven walls with water in the intial minutes.
My problem is when rising dough in improvised bannetons (wicker bowls, which I've lined with muslin. I dust them liberally with flour before putting my dough in them).
When I turn the dough out just before scoring and baking, it deflates to about half its pre turn-out height. The holes in the crumb after baking are small and the texture is denser than I'd like. The bread tastes excellent (well, compared to my previous baking technique), but I'd like to improve the crumb structure. There is a good oven spring, but not to the initial height. I use a bread tin (the "pullman" shape), but this means I can't put a loaf directly onto the baking tile
I use bread-baker's flour (11.5% protein), but always with a bit of rye, wholemeal (or both). Should I add more gluten? I can't imagine 100 years ago, baker's would be adding extra gluten to flour.