I've finally had time to start making bread on the weekends! However, for 4 of the 5 breads that I've tried making, the inside of the bread has been a bit gummy and too moist.
The recipe technically calls to bake the bread in a preheated dutch oven (I use a casserole dish because I don't own a dutch oven), but the dough is so sticky that if I preheat the dish and transfer the dough to it once it's preheated, I find that the dough deflates and I get a flat loaf. I tried baking the bread for a bit longer, but the outside burned and got stuck to the sides of the casserole dish. This time, I let the dough rise in the dish, and I made sure that the outer layer of the dough stayed moist while it was proofing/rising for the second time. I also tried to cut slits in the bread to help it rise, but the dough was too wet and sticky and it didn't work very well. I also brushed the lid with water and the top of the loaf with water and oil right before putting it into the oven. I baked the bread for 5 minutes longer with the lid on, and once I took the lid off, I cooked it until the crust looked like it would burn if I left it in a minute longer. When I cut into the loaf, however, the texture is still gummy.
I'm thinking about trying to preheat the casserole dish again see if the texture comes out any better. I also noticed that our oven at home isn't very good at keeping in heat-- one time I let my bread rise while it was sitting on top of the oven and the dough actually started to bake and the glass bowl was too hot to touch. I'm wondering if that could be a factor?
I am also going to try baking with the lid on for longer.
Does anyone have any other ideas of why the texture might be like this?
P.S. I have made one good loaf of bread, but the dough was a lot drier, so I was able to cook it on a baking stone. The texture was wonderful, and the taste was flavorful (it has tomatoes and basil). I have tried 3 different recipes so far, and this is the only one that gave a delicious product.