Perplexed by my high-hydration sourdough
Hi. I have been having a frustrating dough experience that I would love someone to explain to me!
When I make my favorite bread, no matter how much I develop the gluten through slap & folds, stretch & folds, etc., and how long the bulk fermentation, the dough flattens out like a pancake after I preshape - and I'm quite good at shaping! After a 12-15 hour overnight refrigerator fermentation, the dough has risen but still seems to go flat as I get it into the Dutch oven. Every time, I'm convinced it's going to be a disaster. But it bakes up to be the best bread I've made - with a fairly open crumb (for a 75% whole wheat loaf) and tons of oven spring. The only issue is that the scoring closes up too much due to the hydration.
And this is only at 75% to 85% hydration, which isn't nearly as high as most recommend for a 75%+ whole wheat loaf. Or nearly as high as the formula this is based on: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/spelt-rye-and-whole-wheat-sourdough-bread/
My formula/method is:
55g ripe starter (at height of its rise after feeding)
55g flour (half Type 85 high-extraction, half Central Milling Artisan Craft Baker's Plus)
935g flour (usually half Type 85 high-extraction, half whole wheat such as Central Milling HiPro Fine or Lindley MIlls sprouted wheat. Have tried slightly less and more whole wheat too)
2-3g diastatic malt if the other flour isn't malted
680-785g water, depending on the level of whole wheat and whether it's sprouted, holding out 100 g and adding after autolyse
4 hour levain (using slightly warm water for this young levain) - levain passes float test
30 minutes to 2 hour autolyse with flour and water only (have not seen a difference) then add salt and levain
3-4 hour bulk fermentation, stopping when it's very bubbly, domed and jiggly
15-20 minutes initial slap and fold, 3 stretch-and-folds at 15, 45 and 75 minutes into the bulk rise
Shaping basically according to Tartine method
12-15 hour refrigerator retardation at 38 degrees
I've made other breads with lower hydration that didn't have this pancake type of dough. But they aren't as good. So my question is - this "normal" for a high-ish hydration dough?
Also, I'm baking this bread in an Emile Henry bread pot, which the dough barely fits in because it's flattened. If I baked it in a larger pot would it still rise as much or would it expand/flatten even more? I wonder if the small pot supporting the rise.
Thanks for any advice!