I was mightily impressed when I saw the depth of your sourdough bread baking expertise! I had no idea how complicated this business can get.
I never baked bread before I tried Sally Fallon's recipe from her book Nourishing Traditions. I have baked quite a few loafes by now but I just don't seem to get it right. For my starter (which is about 2 months old by now) I have a soupy mixture of rye flour and water which I feed a little bit every day. My recipe for the dough is basically 1tbsp of rock salt disolved in about half a cup of water, about 0.9 litre of the starter mix, and about 6 cups of organic wholemeal spelt flour.
My problem is that the bread comes out much too dense, doesn't 'crumb' to the core and usually even burns along the bottom before it is baked inside - making the bread doughy and even harder to digest.
I tried making the starter mixture less 'soupy' by adding very little water at feeding time, now it is just kind of gooey. This way I have to add less spelt flour to make a dough that springs back when I pinch it. This reduces the weight of the dough (which is usually very heavy). But it still comes out very dense and unbaked.
The recipe says to bake it at 180C for an hour, so I tried 150C for an hour and a half+ in the hope that it would bake it more inside. Not too much luck with that, either.
The bread usually rises just fine, within 4-5 hours it grows by maybe 50%. But here something seems to go wrong too, as I often get a 'floating crust'. This is one problem which I think I managed to solve by letting the dough rise for a shorter time, but it still happens sometimes.
I love the simplicity of that recipe, but maybe it is making it too simple? I'm starting to get very irritated and I'm tempted to use up my starter for a couple more final tries and then give up on it. Any ideas? Maybe someone can recommend me a straight-forward recipe that allows me to keep my current starter? I've started to like it (I hope my Kombucha doesn't get overly jealous).
Thanks so much!