cut into it, and like most of my bred, it is way too dense. I really dont have my bread making technique down, at all. I actually used to work in a bakery where I made bread dough all day. Some reason I just cant get it right at home.
no i didn't score it. it was kinda flat so i figured it'd be more like flat bread and not necessary. I let it rise quite a bit, i also hastened it, which could be part of the problem. I let me oven heat to the bare minimum temperature, turned it off, and let the dough rise in there with the door cracked. but either way my bread is ALWAYS too dense. maybe im not letting it rise, i maybe dont kneed it enough (about 10 min) and it's the recipe I use for pizza dough. Always used the same recipe for both in a few italian restaurants I've worked in so... I dunno. i'm just yet to crack it.
Are you heating the oven with the stone in it, then letting it rise on the stone? That could account for the odd shape, but it still wouldn't make it dense. I still think the density is from not rising enough before baking.
Instead of heating the oven with the stone in it, you could try setting a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven, beneath the stone, and closing the door. That would warm the oven, without overwarming the stone and give the dough some additional humidity so it would rise higher (and no need for slashing, if you don't want to). Once the dough is doubled, you can remove the pan of hot water or leave it in the oven while the bread bakes. It will give the bread a chewier crust. If you prefer a dryer crust, you'd need to take it out.
I would blame it on a cold stone, actually. I was rising it in a metal bowl, and then transfered it out onto the stone. This was the only time I ever used the stone without preheating it, and the stone was cold when it and the dough went into the oven. I will definitely try letting my dough rise much more. Any comments as far as punching it down and making a second rise?
Panini, no lack of respect was intended. I'm sorry if it sounded that way.
I've baked all of our bread for more than 30 years, while raising 7 children (so we use a lot of bread) and haven't seen where scoring makes much difference in the finished product. I've even tried scoring one loaf, while leaving one unscored and didn't see a difference, except in the appearance.
Panini, we're actually seeing things from the opposite perspective. While you're seeing that the top didn't expand enough, I'm seeing that the bottom expanded too fast. I came to that conclusion from the holes in the lower portion. I've tried proofing dough by setting the bowl of dough in a pan of very warm water and the bottom of the dough proofed faster, but with holes in it (overproofed), while the top rose normally.
hmm so maybe, since it rose in a metal bowl, the bottom of the dough was hotter to begin with, and started cooking sooner in the oven? And worth mentioning, the top was definitely fluffier, and the bottom extremely dense and kind of wet.
Left unscored, one of my loaves expanded sideways tremendously with a huge bubble extending from the side of the loaf. Had I scored it to begin with, the oven spring would have gone vertically rather than laterally. So in some cases, scoring does help in achieving the final form.