100% Sourdough Rye not rising much, distressingly gummy.
(An introduction before my plea for advice---I've been coming to The Fresh Loaf to learn from your helpfulness for almost six years now---and every one, from the first pita to the recentest baguettes ciabatta, has come out lovely to eat and lovely to learn from. After a recent trip north, I decided I wanted to learn to make 100% sourdough rye, and it's the first thing I've been stuck enough on to feel like I need to ask for help.)
The basic problem---my bread, after cooking, feels gummy. I can poke a hole into the loaf that holds its shape. I didn't bother to taste rye02 through rye04, but the flavor of rye01 (utter failure, but I had to see what I was moving up from) and rye05 (recentest attempt) have been quite nice, and what I expect from a 100% rye. The smell is good, too, and even though I don't see any rise at all while I'm proofing before the bake, the crumb looks similar to 100% ryes I've bought before. What do I do to improve this?
If you need more information, here are all the dirty details:
I started my culture on Aug 2, using (I think it was Hamelman's?) procedure of mixing 70g rye flour with 100g water, covering with flour to prevent mold, and each day discarding 4/5 of the culture, and adding the final 1/5 to a new batch of 70g flour and 100g water. For this, I used the standard Hodgson Mills 100% rye that doesn't say on the bag whether it's dark, medium, or light. The grind is very coarse, and the 70:100 mix is on the liquid side, even spoonable.
After three weeks, I went to bake a loaf. My numbers and a large part of my inspiration came from Shao Ping's post ( http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15577/pure-sourdough-rye-year-1939 ) and using Mariana-Aga's blog post (Russian: http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/117179.html#cutid1  ; English: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fmariana-aga.livejournal.com%2F117179.ht...  )
I did't really have a lot of experience with sourdough, so what I took from that was to basically make another "culture" but with less hydration than my mother culture, and then to add a final mass of flour and water to do my bulk fermentation and proofing. I used 375g total of the "stiff culture" (composed of 205g flour, 170g water, and 100g mother culture) and after a day added the "stiff culture" to 330g of water, mixed it so the levain would be incorporated, and added 450g rye. After a 2 hour bulk ferment and a 20 minute proof, I baked it at 500F for 20 minutes, then reduced the temp to 390F for the rest of an hour. In this first loaf (rye01) I used a very finely ground black rye (sold in bulk at my store so I don't know the producer's name yet). It was such a stiff dough that after setting it up, I made the next substrate for my mother culture out of the fine stuff. 70:100 left me with a cuttable paste instead of a spoonable dough (although it did become more liquid as the culture took over.)
Rye01 came out like play-doh in terms of texture. I had to cut through the crust, and it looked and smelled like rye, but felt exactly like play-doh. (My friend made a few snakes and balls just to drive the failure home...) I convinced myself to taste a bit, and (ignoring the texture) the taste seemed correct and baked.
For Rye02, Rye03, Rye04 and Rye05 I went back to Hodgson Mill's rye, just to get rid of the extra variable, but my gumminess problem stuck around.
The differences for the next batches were basically to increase the proportion of the bread that I introduced to the culture.
In general, I do my best to avoid overworking the dough or developing anything---I just mix in the water til it's homogeneous and then stop right away. I admittedly don't have a way to test my pH---after the failure of Rye01 I wondered if my culture wasn't acidic enough to deactivate the amylases during bake... hence the trying to make my dough more sour by adding a greater % "stiff culture."
For Rye05 I actually just took the 170g water, about 5g salt, and about 100g mother culture, mixed with the 205g flour, bulk fermented, shaped, and baked it. Rye05 is the first one I ate a few slices of, and while I can pretend it's foodstuff now, and I have put in enough ground work that I feel okay asking for help, I've obviously got a long way to go.
So, any ideas? I hope to add some pictures as soon as I figure out how.