Who has successfully turned stone ground whole wheat into a proper loaf?
In the interest of buying and eating local food, I just bought 50 kilograms of local stone ground organic whole wheat (red fife) and "fine sifted" wheat flour, which is pretty much like whole wheat but a little lighter with less bran. I was assured it was very good quality and high in protein for bread baking. I'm keeping it refrigerated so I know it's fresh. I thought I'd just keep experimenting till I got it working well.
But alas, I'm having the same problems others have expressed around here with stone ground whole wheat: it just refuses to develop into a strong dough. Today's experiment (jmonkey's buttermilk and honey whole wheat) started with a biga so some of the wheat had time to soften first. I did everything right (I have made the same bread with different flour with great results), kneading about 40 minutes and adding some unbleached white along the way since it was extremely sticky. The dough eventually felt quite nice but would tear at the slightest stretch. (Actually, half the dough I folded to see if a different treatment would make a difference; it stayed so sticky and unmanageable, I ultimately opted not to shape it into a sandwich loaf and baked it in the scorching cast iron pot a la NYT; the texture was about the same as the loaf I baked in a pan).
I'd love to hear from anyone who has successfully turned stone-ground organic whole wheat into a great loaf. Is it possible?? While there have been lots of suggestions about what should work, I'd specifically like to hear from someone who has solved the problems to their satisfaction.
The most important thing I've learned so far is that slices of even the most disappointing loaf taste pretty great spread with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread). I'm thinking of getting the large size next grocery trip.