I have started following the tutorials in Sourdom's beginners blog yesterday. Because I live in Bangladesh, if I want a decent bread, I will have to bake it myself. Which is what I've been doing for quite a while now. Although my baking mostly existed out of kneading basic ingredients together, give it time to rise and bake. And a lot of hoping the result would turn out ok. The breads have been pretty nice, mostly compared to what is available here ;). But I've discovered that there is a whole lot more to it and interested to learn.
Since my knowledge on baking bread is limited, I just started with the first tutorial on kneading. But I guess a lot went wrong and I would like some feedback.
First of all, the sponge didn't really look like a sponge. It was still very liquid after two hours. Which can't be the temperature because it's hot and humid here at the moment. It might be the yeast that's not effective enough?
After the first two kneads, the bread was still very, very sticky (left picture above). This made it very difficult to knead properly. The bread was constantly sticking to the surface I was kneading on. Turning it ninety degrees every time was almost impossible. So after kneading two times, I decided that I was adding some extra flour to make it easier to knead. The dough felt much nicer but it got tough, it didn't stretch as easy as I would have expected based on the descriptions (right picture above). I think the cause might have been the wet sponge? But I also think adding the extra flour was a mistake as my bread got really dense (a problem I have had in the pas as well)?
I still had some hope but the next problem occured during the 45 minutes where it was supposed to double in size. The pictures above show before and after. It clearly didn't double. Again, I do think lack of active yeast played a role? But I also wonder if the bowl I'm using is to wide? My only other option is a plastic container with walls straight up, maybe a bit to small for this quantity of dough as well.
The baking of course resulted in, well, not much! The bread was very flat, contained no air and the crust had become really hard. I would like some advice on if the yeast / sponge caused most of the problems along the way and if there are other things I should have done differently? I only have all purpose flower to bake with. No other options here either.