Dense Bread

Hi, I have been making sourdough pancakes and waffles for some time and have recently wanted to start getting into sourdough bread baking. After many attempts and varying recipes my bread always seems to turn out extremely dense, doesn't brown, and becomes stale incredibly fast. Is the result of something I am doing incorrect in the proofing and baking process, or is there a problem with the starter? Typically I will pull it from the fridge in the evening, feed it, then feed it in the morning, again that evening, and then mix and bake the following morning. I have tried using both bread flour and all purpose. Any insights into what I am doing wrong would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Merrid 2011 April 21

If you follow the process laid out on SourDom's beginners blog - particularly the stretch-and-fold steps during bulk fermentation, I think you'll find this helps to create a lighter loaf.

You say you mix and bake in the same morning - this doesn't sound like you're allowing enough time for bulk fermentation and final prove to happen. Sourdough breadmaking isn't like rapid rise yeast bread baking - the process takes a lot longer. You need to let the lactobacillus beasties do their job to get the sour flavour and the keeping qualities typical of sourdough. And you need to give suitable time to the natural yeast beasties to raise the dough, and they work at a more leisurely pace than regular baker's yeast.

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