After getting laid off a year ago I started making my own bread to save money and because I'm home all day so I can let it rise, punch it down, etc. I love simple peasant breads (tuscan and similar kinds) and I make a basic bread. Per loaf: 450g of bread flour, 1 tsp of yeast, 2 tbsp oil, 1.5 tsp salt, and water.
(I also sometimes make multigrain and specialty breads but that's not relevant)
This makes a basic white bread which smells and tastes great and is good for dipping, eating plain, and toasting and using for bruschetta's, etc.
My wife loves it but I'm not happy with its strength and chewiness. It falls apart too easily when I spread something stiff like peanut butter on it and it's not as tough and chewy as the peasant breads we get at bakeries.
I've tried adding extra gluten (Hogdson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten) and this does make it stronger so it accepts stiff spreads like peanut butter and cream cheese, but oddly it also makes it softer - closer to Wonder Bread. (yecch!)
How do I make my bread tough and strong?
Thanks in advance!