Kneading fresh ground flour
I have been making bread for a few years. I was happy with the product from store bought whole wheat flour, but since I have been using fresh ground flour from hard red winter wheat I have been having troubles. My dough never seems to knead up into something that is easy to knead. There is always a certain level of stickyness that verges on the unmanageable. Okay I can scrape it up and shape it and it is not that bad, but the problem gets worse when I try using sourdough starter.
I have recently tried three types of bread:
One loaf using Laurel's a loaf for learning. IN this one I think I didn't punch it down enough so when I deflated the huge bubbles in the dough prior to baking the bread became lower than it would have other wise, that I can deal with, but the dough was still much stickier than I expected at each stage. I never had what I thought would be a perfect window pane test result.
Another loaf using sourdough starter with almost 100% rye flour and just making it as recommended in a recipe that did not require overnight soaking. This one took for ever to knead and in the end I popped in in a food processor with the kneading blades and worked it till it seemed to get no better. I think I got a window pane test that seemed okay, but not as smooth as I expected it should be. This loaf turned out tasty and nice , but the loaf pan shape was wrong for the dense sourdough rye bread quality it had.
My third loaf was prepared using the techinque I want to adopt as my regular bread. I started it with sourdough starter (but this time I had replaced a part of the rye with wheat) and let it soak over night. I did get a feeling of a little smoothness in kneading, but it always ended up falling apart and sticking to my hands and counter. It never got to the point of a good window pane test (right term?)
I have a few questions:
1. How is freshly ground grain dough going to be different when it is kneaded enough? Is a little rye going to affect the texture of "well kneaded dough"? How is it going to be different?
2. If I have to live with an increased amount of stickiness does anybody have pointers on how to deal with this? I was working my dough that I mixed using sourdough starter (it still has a good portion of rye) and had left to sit over night. I was getting gluten strings and smoothness, but the kneading pressure seemed to rip the strands and shaping a ball for resting caused rips each time. How lightly does dough have to be kneaded? I thought I could just throw in my body weight and go at it. But these doughs have been very delicate.
3. Can anybody describe to me or even show me pictures of dough that is well kneaded from fresh gournd flour? I would like to see a few pictures of the kneading as well so I can see how sticky everything is and how you deal with it. I don't want to keep adding flour or oil as has been suggested, because neither really help the bread become better.
4. Am I being too exacting about the window pane test? Can somebody put the test in different words or pictures?