Damp doughy crumb
I’ve been trying my hand at bread making recently and considered the no knead method that was demonstrated in the New York times (and on countless YouTube videos) to be the sort of bread I was looking for, an artisan crispy crust with open crumb texture. Easy I thought....
The problem I seem to be encountering is the bread seems doughy,damp almost crumpet like in texture, even though the crisp crust exists.
I have tried cast iron pots and Pyrex dishes, higher temps, lower temps and longer bake times but seem to get the same result whatever.
I follow the basic, now classic recipe every time, 3 cups strong flour, ¼ teaspoon instant yeast, 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cups of water and I have even weighed out the flour to ensure accuracy but still spongy doughy inside.
I am beginning to wonder if it’s the yeast, I notice that the dough has risen really well after 12 hours but is somewhat deflated by 20% or so after 18 hours and doesn’t seem to second rise very well.
Could I be using the wrong yeast...?
It seems impossible to find ‘instant yeast’ in the UK, there’s ‘easy bake’ and ‘quick acting’ and so forth but not any of the US stuff that seems to be mentioned on the US recipes that produce this perfectly baked bread.
At the moment I’m using Allinson easy bake yeast which is not hydrated in warm water, the tiny granules are just put into the dry mix.
I follow the recipe religiously and have even brought home calibrated temperature probes from work to ensure my oven temp and the temp within the Dutch oven, i.e. Pyrex dish or cast iron casserole pot are correct (235 degrees c) the dough is proven on the kitchen work top in a covered dish and the ambient temp is around 18 – 20 degrees c as a rule.
I can’t really let a loaf of bread beat me and I’m not the sort of person who gives up very often but I’m running out of variables here so any help or advice anyone can give me would be very much appreciated.