Improving whole wheat bread
I have been making basic whole wheat yeast bread for decades. It has always been satisfactory but I would like to make it, if possible, with a more open crumb. I have always been conservative, keeping mainly to sandwich loaves and using the old fashioned method of kneading by hand and baking at about 190 degrees. Presently I am using 50/50 bread flour and whole wheat and sometimes incorporate different flours, grains, seeds, fruit, herbs, etc. Before coming across TFL, I had never heard of starters, poolish, sponges, bigas, retarding, preferment, baking stones and steaming, no knead bread, etc. I have experimented a little with a variety of these methods but have decided, for the present, to concentrate first on making a better basic yeast wholewheat dough. I am contemplating doing the following:-
1) using autolyse; (what hydration?)
2) retarding overnight in fridge (my fridge temp. is about 42 degrees); What is best - bulk retard or after shaping?
3) stretch and fold before shaping (how many folds?)
Should I use some or all of these methods? Is there anything else I can try?
All suggestions gratefully received.