As I was making bread today I was thinking about how many little tips I have gleaned to help improve my whole wheat bread. I know many struggle with trying to get their 100% wheat bread to rise and have good texture, so I thought you might be interested in some of my simple techniques.
1. Use hard white wheat flour.
Most wheat flours you buy at the store are red wheat; some prefer this, but the white wheat doesn't have as strong a flavor and makes more pleasant tasting and lighter colored bread. If you have a wheat mill you can buy your own berries to grind, if not King Arther brand sells a whole white wheat flour (not white flour, white wheat flour).
2. Use a hard fat.
Butter, lard, chicken fat, bacon grease, ect. are all good. My favorite is chicken fat, I skim it off of my chicken stock and it makes delicious bread. Just be sure not to add any seasoning to your stock before skimming the fat off or your bread will have that flavor (though bay leaf does add an interesting flavor to bread).
3. Use potato water for your liquid.
This can be water you have saved from boiling potatoes or water with a little potato blended into it ( I keep some potato chunks in my freezer so I just have to thaw it and blend into my water when I make bread). Just be sure to add it to the measuring cup before measuring the water so you don't end up with to much liquid.
4.Knead until gluten is developed.
Usually this takes about 10 minutes. To test pinch off a golf ball size piece and hold up to the light. Pull gently until you can see the light through it, if it breaks before this it isn't fully developed, knead more and test again.
I hope these tips have helped you. My bread recipe can be found here.