Too much salt? Can I go with less yeast?
It's been a few months since I got started with bread making. I seem to find myself gravitating towards lean bread. I'm not sure which forum is the best for my post, so under the assumption artisan baking = lean bread...
8-9 oz. water
3 cups flour
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp salt
Warm up water to lukewarm in microwave, soak yeast for 5-10 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, let sit for 1 hour. Mix in salt, add rest of flour, mix and let sit for 10-20 minutes. Fold dough a few times, let rise for an hour or so. Shape and proof for an hour or so in a non-stick pie pan. Score and bake in a 450F oven for half an hour, cool the loaf for an hour or so. Loaf is ready.
Questions from your neophyte.
* 1 teaspoon of yeast is less than half of what's in a packet of supermarket yeast. Commercial recipes seem to encourage a full packet for approximately the same amount of dry ingredients. How much really is the amount of yeast I want to get the job done, short of spending hours to get the dough to rise?
* A stiffer dough seems to make for a fluffier crumb, until the stiffness of the dough gets in the way of dough's ability to rise in the oven. Most of what I read about lean bread say I want a slack dough (for a crunchy crumb). I like to get the crumb as fluffy (and the crusty chewy) as possible without adding sugar (makes for a really fluffy crumb), so I'm thinking stiff dough is fine. Am I thinking wrong for lean bread?
* The crumb is nice and fluffy, with lots of holes. However, the bottom third of the loaf is visibly denser. When I shape my (round) loaf, I do pinch the dough at the bottom, so I suppose that part of the dough is almost void of any gas going into proofing. It's also part of the dough that's in (indirect) contact with the cold stone surface of the kitchen counter. Also, I haven't invested in a baking stone. Would any of these contribute to a denser bottom?
* The bread tastes fine while eating. But I get a salty aftertaste. Is it still too much salt for the amount of flour used?