I baked my first sourdough loaves this weekend, with mixed results. I used Bill's 750g Rye Loaf recipe with the minimal kneading technique. Bulk fermentation (6-8 hours) and proving (~2 hours) were performed at 25C (loaf 1) and 30C (loaf 2). I used long bulk ferment times as the dough didn't rise very much, very fast. I question the speed of my starter. The starter was full of bubbles but it didn't have the prolific nature of some of Dom's examples.
Loaf 1. Was rather heavy with the consistency of bread machine bread.
Cracked bottom syndrome. Possibly due to poor pinching technique or overproofed, weak dough
Loaf 2. A little lighter, however very 'bready', heavy and cracked, undercooked bottom. With this one, I started the preferment ~15hours prior to mixing. It rose a bit more and had a bit more oven spring.
The dough flattened out in the bowl during bulk ferment. It also slumped out of shape as soon as I put it in the oven. Should a shaped dough be able to hold its shape?
Here's my baking stone (two ceramic pizza stones).
Where could I buy a thicker one?
The bottoms of the loaves didn't cook very well. Should I heat the oven up more beforehand? (I heated just until the thermostat clicked off the heat)
What's the diagnosis?
Edit: Finally, the images are working. I learn't that one the hard way. You can call me 'Mr manic gloss-over-the-important-information with preconceptions about beaming images..guy'