hello from a new baker taking on a challenge
Greetings from a not-totally-novice baker living near Philadelphia, Pa., in the US. This seems like a very friendly and helpful place, and I'm glad I found you all.
I've recently re-started my bread baking adventure, taking it up again every few years. This time around, there's a lot more information available so easily, but I'm still having trouble finding exactly what I'm looking for, so I think I may have taken on a bit of a challenge.
My heart's desire is to bake the healthiest possible breads, which to me means 100% whole grain from freshly-ground flour, naturally leavened bread, with fantastic flavor.
This is itself does not appear to be too difficult.
The challenge is that I want the other eater in my family to be enthusiastic about eating the bread I make, too. This is someone who uses conventional, industrially-produced white breads for his sandwiches and who likes some bakery breads as long as they're not too sour, don't have too many big holes, and don't have that slightly bitter whole-wheaty taste to them (which most of the whole grain ones unfortunately do).
The good news is that I'm more than 50% there. Using freshly-milled flour (from organically-grown Red Fife wheat) and either a soaker- and biga- method a la Peter Reinhart or using a sourdough starter from breadtopia that I reconstituted, the flavor is fantastic (the sourdough was a little more sour than we wanted, but I think I let the bulk fermentation go on too long for an ambient temperature in the 80s Fahrenheit). I do have a couple of other starters of my own going, that aren't quite ready to try yet.
The issues are texture and shape. So far my breads are denser than he would like. Also, if I want him to use my bread for sandwiches, I need to bake them into a more square-shaped loaf of a usual sandwich size. I do have a standard loaf pan and a small pullman loaf pan. Also a batard-shaped clay baker.
I'm thinking I've taken on a real challenge because it's hard to find 100% whole grain bread recipes or formulas in serious (artisan) bread-baking books or bread-baking websites. Less hard in books that focus on things like using ancient grains, but they seem to either add vital wheat gluten for loft or accept a denser loaf.
I'm content with a fairly dense loaf myself; flavor is more my thing, then nutrition and health factors. My other eater is eating my bread so far (even the slightly sour, really quite dense one that I think I over-fermented) without special urging from me, but it's not what he uses when he wants a sandwich. He hates food going to waste, so I think he would eat it as long as he didn't dislike it, because he knows it's hard for me to eat it all myself. (You've got to bake a lot of bread if you want to learn.)
Part of the time, I think I should bake some white sourdough loaves to get a better idea of what the dough is supposed to feel like, look like, how it's supposed to behave. But that's not what I really want to eat. I'm really still learning all this basic stuff; it's surprising that I haven't baked an actual brick yet, I think, considering what I've apparently taken on. (Hoping I didn't just jinx myself there!)
If anyone can point me to threads, recipes, formulas, books, websites, or whatever, that address texture in 100% whole grain bread-baking, I would appreciate it.