The trick is to let your body weight do the kneading rather than your hands and arms. Form the dough into a ball, and put the heels of both palms against it. Then lean forward and push the ball forward flattening it as it rolls. Then rotate the ball a quarter turn and repeat until it's kneaded. It occurred to me that your BBA breads might not be getting enough kneading. Make sure you always take bread to the "windowpane" stage.
Instant quick rise yeasts are not all the same. If you have something like a restaurant supply grocer near you try and get a professional instant yeast. They're slightly faster, more consistent (which is your issue) and a LOT cheaper. You're probably using close to 40 cents of yeast a loaf, while I'm using 10.
I like the "and change." But better would have been "I let the loaves go almost two hours before they got enough rise during the proof."
I have a recipe on the board for pumpernickel that you'll love. Try that and let me know what you think. Link below.
You're too flirtatious. For baking in pans: After the first rise, punch the ball down until it's an easy size to handle. Dump it out on the board and "pull it down" until it's symmetrical. "Pulling down" means to hold the ball in one hand and pull dough from the top towards the bottom -- rotating after every turn. It's a form of kneading. Divide the dough, form the loaves taking care to close all the seams, place them in their loaf pans, and use your knuckles and fingers to force the bread into the pan so that it fully covers the bottom. Allow to rise, and when the dough has doubled in volume -- which for most recipe amounts means it will crest above the top of a standard loaf pan -- then press it down in the pan. You want to take away almost but not quite all of the rise. Use your finger tips to form a slight trench down the center of the bread so the edges are higher than the center; and allow to rise. Again, allow the bread to rise -- no matter how long it takes. If it doesn't rise, it's not worth baking.
Sourdough starters are beyond quirky. Wild yeast cultures do not thrive everywhere, and depending on where you live you might find it necessary to buy a culture and take it from there. Sourdough is an interesting aspect of baking but keeping a culture is a lot like keeping a messy, untamable pet.
You might find using a poolish, a poolish/altus or a biga does what you like for most all breads -- and in spades for rye. That pumpernickel I was telling you about... It's good recipe both for learning to use a poolish or a poolish plus altus, and for learning to adapt the technique to make it even closer to sourdough.http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/pastr...-sour-rye.html
Do try it,