Still getting uneven big holes with dense crumb in between
Sourdough #4 is probably the best so far, but I'm still getting large, uneven holes with fairly dense crumb in between.
Here's the finished loaf - as you can see, the crust is great and the scores opened quite well, but the crumb is still uneven and dense and the overall shape is fairly squat. Flavor is good.
I used Maurizio's Simple Weekday Sourdough recipe. I am using Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour (11.5% protein) and KA White Whole Wheat.
Due to struggles building strength on my previous loaves, I made the following adjustments:
Reduced hydration all the way down to 70%
Added significantly more strengthening, due to the lower-protein flour and past results:
- 10 minutes of this "scooping" mixing method at the start of bulk
- 10 minute rest
- 5 more minutes of "scooping"
- And finally 4 sets of stretch-and-folds separated by 30 minutes
- The final undisturbed phase of bulk, after the last fold, lasted about 2 or 2.5 hrs.
With a dough temp around 76-77, bulk fermentation lasted about 4.5-5 hours. I ended bulk once the dough had increased in volume roughly 50%.
Despite all the added strengthening, I never get the domed/rounded dough shape during bulk that I see in Maurizio's photos. Rather, the surface of my dough at the end of bulk is pretty much flat, with a few very small surface bubbles. It did increase in volume 50%, so clearly fermentation is happening.
I preshaped, bench rested for 30 min, shaped, proofed in the fridge for 10 hours at 38F, and baked straight from the fridge.
I am still not sure if the problem is related to bulk fermentation (too long/too short?), cold proof (too long/too short?), dough strength, or something else.