e-mail from Jane has revealed the source of the problem!
(She deserves full credit, but I hesitate to post full
names without permission!)
If we can get the dough to rise enough, it will bake
properly. Jane's solution is to add 2Tbl gluten to the
dough. It works! Many Thanks Jane!
Could it be possible that when we all first got our bread
machines, we baked so often that our kitchens were filled
with yeast spores ... now we bake less often, our windows
are wide open, and so heavier breads don't have the benefit
of additional air-borne yeasts?
Along a related line, a friend used rapid-rise yeast by
mistake and had incredible results! A giant mushroom. She
now uses it intentionally 'for effect'.
Has anyone else used rapid-rise? Possibly in a heavy dough?