I bake bread almost every day. Mostly French baguettes, old stretch and fold every 45 mts. method for 1st proofing, couche for 2nd rise. Make sourdough too. But my bread loaves, which were coming out very good, but wanted to make better, are now (last two weeks) coming out almost totally flat when out of the oven (oven temp ok). They actually look nice and fluffy (Too "marshmallowy") after 1.5-2 hrs. proofing on top of counter on tray covered by dry towel. Used to proof for 1.5 hrs. but the 2 hrs. gave a nicer, puffier (but soft) look.
- So, when I score the bread, simple center cut, it starts to deflate a little. I bake it with plenty of steam yet no oven spring, it's FLAT! BUT...the taste is great, only has little crumb but it's NOT DENSE...
What I've tried:
I use plenty of steam with pot in bottom of oven and boiling water, lightly spray the loaves.
I am pre-preparing everything (this is new, could it matter?), including sifting flours (half AP/half bread) the night before, the rest in separate containers.
This bread uses a 24 hr. poolish, which is was checked and it's fine.
How can I proof for 2nd rise if I can't use my oven, which is being heated?
I have tried keeping it in the oven until last minute, finish proofing on top of counter (cooler temperature) in order to preheat oven for baking the change in temp seams to start to deflate dough.
How can I tell that the dough is ready for baking and proofed enough? (tips!) I tried poking it, but just left a hole in the formed "baguette" shaped loaf which didn't spring back at all. Felt marshmallowy:( When ready to bake is it supposed to feel firm or very soft?
Is there a chance I could have OVER-kneaded the dough in my KitchenAid? I mix for 2 min. in speed 1 and up to 7 min. in (varies) speeds 2 and 4. (Recipe calls for 2 min mixing and 3 min. on speed 2) I have been kneading say about 3 min. on 2 and 4 on speed 4. Then I manually knead for about 10 min. (not too hard).
My house is coolish, 70 degrees, open kitchen. I can't afford a proofing box. All other breads proof and bake perfectly well. None of them use the stand mixer (!) Only this one has given me problems. I have also tried different recipes, same problem - but it seems to work for everybody else. Please help? Thanks and stay safe!:)