How do I get more "air holes" in my bread
I "think" it has to do with how much air is in the flour...Try sifting before you measure....if you weigh unsifted flour and compare measurements, the sifted will weigh less.
Assuming you're talking about yeasted bread,
--wetter doughs ("high hydration") are hole-ier than drier ones
--light handling in de-gassing after the first rise and in shaping loaves produces hole-ier bread than heavy handling (i.e., don't literally "punch down" the bubbles you and the yeast have gone to great lengths to create).
Also, breads heavy in whole-grain flours or with add-ins like nuts, seeds, etc. will be less hole-y than bread without those things (the add-ins and the bran and germ in whole-grain flour break the long gluten strands that are necessary for hole-y bread).
Agree with sfmiller and Cynthia on wetter, whiter & less handled doughs producing more holes when bread is baked. Also find long, slow rise produces them, as in Julia Child recipe for baguette (Mastering vol 2) and No-Knead Bread (Jim Lahey, NYC).
Yes, the higher the hydration (water content) of your dough, the greater the chance of obtaining what is referred to as an open, irregular crumb. Here are some links that may help you understand the concept and the process and how to handle wetter, or slack, doughs better:
Yes, wetter dough and also - I often make a double batch, bake one loaf that day and leave the other in the fridge to bake later (sometimes as much as a week.) That second loaf, with the very long slow rise, is always much airier and open textured than the first.
Adding on to sfmiller's excellent answer -- if you're not using bread flour or a higher protein flour, try that. The protein is what develops the gluten and will give your bread more structure, which will preserve all the holes made by the yeast.
When I'm making a rustic loaf (wanting lots of "holes") I like to let the dough rise in the fridge for a couple of days. I punch it down and let it rise again usually three times before forming the loaf.
In order to provide you with the best answer, please answer the following questions!
-How long did you bake for?
-How long did you ferment for?
-What was the inside and outside temperature?
-Are you measuring in weight or volume?
-What type of flour? What brand?
-Did you check on it every couple of hours and shake it or move it around?
-What type of yeast did you use? And, how old is it?
These will allow me to get a better idea of what you're working with.
Please also send photographs of your finished bread - inside and outside! These will all help me. Thanks!
Thank you for your desire to help me; I will answer these questions soon as the bread I just made is already gone (before I got your text). Thank you again, and I have two of your books and use your recipes often.