I know there are already similar questions but I thought I would share my baking process to get more specific advice.
I'm currently using a variation of the French dough recipe that came with the bread maker. Also I am cooking in the oven rather than the bread machine.
The original recipe uses:
- 400g flour
- 250ml water
- 1tsp yeast
- 1tsp salt
- 10g butter
I have replaced the butter with lard, but most importantly I am using a sort of starter instead of the dry yeast. This is basically a loose dough made with a tiny amount of yeast, water and flour. I feed the starter every 2 days with flour, water and sugar.
I use 2 spoonfuls of the "starter" for a loaf. The taste is good but the texture is quite inconsistent. I am probably doing the proofing wrong: 2-3 hours at room temperature to get it started, then overnight in the fridge. Next morning I knock it down and wait for it to grow again. It's ok but not fluffy enough. The crumb is too compact.
This time I let it proof overnight at room temperature because the fridge was full. I wasn't too worried because when I went to bed it hadn't started raising yet.
In the morning the dough was doubled so I cut it in half and made two loaves. I waited 3 hours for a final rise but when I touched the loaves they collapsed.
I had a go with one hoping it would raise in the oven but got a "flat". So i added some flour (100g) and water to the second one and let it proof 1 hour. It seem it had doubled but after cooking I found the crumb was very compact.
How should I proof my bread?
I'm attaching pictures of the 2 loaves.