I find breadmaking to be one of the easiest to initiate but one of the hardest cooking tasks to master, but to my current woes:
Lately I've been trying to create a classic rustic bread with large, irregular air pockets. Using "The Breadmaker's Apprentice" (or a title to that effect since I don't have the book in front of me), I decided to make the French Bread recipe (or something very close to it), although I did subtitute Rye bread flour instead of the stated AP/Bread mixture.
The general procedure in the book calls for the following: Make a preferment, mix the preferment with additional "fresh" ingredients (flour, salt, yeast), incorporate, allow for a 2 hour rise, shape, allow for another 45-75 minute rest, bake. Although I did make changes to the recipe (the only one being the difference in flour types), I don't believe it would've impeded the creation of larger air pockets. The major cause, IMO of the fact that I still got small, relatively even sized air bubbles was that I mishandled the dough during shaping (the book mentions to "gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape", perhaps I pat /pressed too hard?)
Would anyone else have a different perspective, or agree with my assessment?