This is my first post and I apologize for the length of it. I have been baking sourdough breads for many years. I have used both home-made and commercial starters and am currently using the Original San Francisco starter from Dr. Don Wood. Recently I have been trying to create those airy, artisan loaves that I see on this site. Thus far I have been unsuccessful.
I use a home-made proving oven with an $11 computer thermostat to control my proving temperatures. The 2 dough proves seem fine with excellent rise and bubbles. However, after removing the sticky dough from the glass bowl and gently forming it into a loaf and then proving it until more than double in size and baking at 357F for 1 hour (starting in a cold oven)I still end up with a rather dense loaf (see picture) (darkened with photoshop to bring out the loaf texture).
I do use cup and teaspoon measures and not weights. I couldn’t begin to tell you what the percentage of flour and water is in my starter. It is a bit thicker than pancake batter is all I can say.
My recipe is:
3 ¼ cups white, all purpose flour
1 3/8 cup water
1 tsp salt
¼ cup starter
I use the conventional function of the convection oven. It heats from both the top and bottom elements. I cannot achieve good loaf color unless I brush the loaf with milk. Oven spring is good to excellent. Flavor is excellent. I’m just having trouble achieving the airy, artisan texture. I also don’t know why I cannot get good loaf color unless I brush the loaf with milk.
If I haven’t provided enough information please advise me and I will add whatever additional information as needed.
Hoping someone can make some suggestions to help solve my dilemma.
Thank you in advance.