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French bread -- getting better, still need help

AramS | Feb 13, 201202:50 PM

First, thanks for helping w/my previous bread questions. I've been making French breads, following Reinhart and Hamelman. My loaves were too dense, and some were way too dry. So far --

1) Added more water, dough definitely on the sticky side. Crumb is much improved since making that change. Flavor is better too, less floury, more sweetness has emerged. Kneaded ough seems kinda sticky though (sticks to fingers big time), so am I overcompensating for some other issue?

2) Crumb texture is pretty decent, not super dense like before. (See pic). But the loaves themselves are somewhat small, not a lot of oven spring (or whatever you call it). Notice (pic) the pictured loaf didn't bloom where I scored it, just sorta opened a small amount. What might that be due to? Overproofing before oven time? Something else?

Thanks for all your help.

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