I've taken up bread baking again recently, and I'm trying to improve my skills. One thing that still eludes me is how to get a less dense wholemeal loaf. I know that wholemeal breads are nearly always denser than white breads.
A recipe I used recently was:
150g wholemeal bread flour 200g strong white bread flour 245g water - 70% hydration 4g active dry yeast (dissolved in some of the water) 5g salt
First prove was 1.5 hours - at room temperature. After shaping 2nd prove was around 40mins while my oven came up to temperature. It seemed to be proved enough when I poked it. I slashed the top, it didn't collapse or anything. Baked at 250C for 12 mins, then 200C for the rest (total 35minutes) baking, with a tray of water in the bottom of the oven for steaming the crust.
Here's the pic of my bread
Now don't get me wrong, the bread is nice enough, it has a lovely flavour. However it's denser than I'd like. I need to know if the problem here is the relatively fast leavening process, versus a longer process such as using a preferment like a poolish or biga.
Can anyone tell me, before I try the experiment, if using a preferment with such a loaf would help make it a bit lighter, with a looser crumb? Or am I headed for yet another disaster?
My reasoning behind this is that I've made higher hydration breads before - like ciabatta made with white flour, quite successfully, with lots of air and bubbles, but these usually start with a biga, which sits fermenting 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. I also know that higher hydration has a role in the size of the air pockets. I'm not looking for massive air pockets/holes in my wholemeal bread, just something that's a bit less dense.
Update: Forgot to say, the kneading was 10 minutes at a medium speed in a stand mixer. I mention this just in case it's relevant, although I tested the dough afterwards, and I thought the gluten development was OK.