My first try at the simple French Bread- What's Wrong?
This past weekend I made French Bread I, using instant yeast and overnight retardation, following Reinhart's recipe in Crust and Crumb. I ended up with 3 loaves and baked them in our mud oven (traditional for Cyprus). I kneaded the dough as described in the book to disperse the ingredients, form the gluten and hydate/ferment. I should admit, when I performed the windowpane test, I had difficulty forming it. So, I continued kneading an extra 5 - 8 minutes... Then, without testing anymore, I scaled, benched and shaped, let the 3 loaves proof and retard in the refrigerator until the next day. I then took them out the next day, and had them continue proofing for about 2 hours, as they didn't look like they rose enough in just another. In any case, they all looked pretty proofed (doubled in size and soft, the spring was not great though...). As I put the first on the peel and scored it, the big puff just collapsed... I baked it. I didn't score the other ones, afraid that they would do the same. The resulting baked loaves tasted good (much better than bread available around here anyway!), had irregular holes with an airy structure, under a crackly blistery crust (not thick though)... Yet, the two I didn't score had this huge dome on top. What are your thoughts? Why the big dome? Is it because of underdeveloped or overdeveloped gluten, or overproofing before baking?
Looking forward to some tips... Thanks!