I just can't get a rise out of it
I have dabbled in bread baking for a while now and my greater successes come from baking sandwich loaves for my family.
However, for the life of me, I just cannot get a boule to spring in the oven or be anything other than a UFO disc or an oval focaccia-wannabe.
No matter what recipe I follow, whether I knead by hand, knead in a mixer for 10 vs. 80 minutes, proof for less time vs. more time, it's always the same, and I get slightly discouraged by it.
I see all these incredible loaves people bake following recipes that seem to occupy a career's worth of time and steps, and all I hope for is just a boule I can make with instant yeast within a single day--perhaps even if just as a reference point to go off of when trying more advanced recipes.
People say to knead by hand until it feels firm, but this is too subjective for me. People say to pinch off a piece of the loaf and see if it floats in water, but mine always sinks, no matter how long it has risen or proofed.
Given the above, I would be infinitely grateful for any advice or starting points. From many of the recipes on this site, the comments make it seem like there are errors with dough hydration, salt quantity, or other issues, so they all seem like they require some expertise to follow.
Picture of a sad loaf attached for funsies. :)
I look forward to continuing my baking journey with y’all!