A question about shaping, which seems to be underdiscussed on this forum and the stuff of the dark arts ("you need just the right sort of touch, not too hard, not too firm, degassing just slightly but not completely or not at all") - how does shaping technique influence the size of the bubbles in the dough, and how does one keep track of where the large and small bubbles are in the dough to be able to redistribute them well?
I generally shape with Trevor's 'stitching' technique, but my shaping generally leaves the inside very dense and the outer areas of the loaf with comparatively larger holes, such as this:
I tried it again, but but with a couple of amendments (to describe my shaping process as best as I can, it usually involves pulling the bottom two corners and folding the dough a third upwards, then folding in the left and right sides, then folding in the top, then stretching and folding each of the two corners left sticking out on either side, then flipping the loaf and rounding it on the table with a circular motion), and got this:
What in my shaping process caused the massive holes in the side, and how could I shape this differently in the future to avoid this problem? I have also suspected that my scoring (and hence the areas from which the air is allowed to escape the dough) might affect the distribution of the crumb, but I am uncertain since both these loaves were scored with the same pattern (albeit perhaps to different depths).