My first post aside from intro and I have heaps of questions!!
First of all, I grind my own "hard red wheat" in a "Regal Kitchen Pro Grain Mill" which doesn't get as fine as I want but still works alright.
My mission is to get a nice whole grain loaf with lots of flavor which isn't too dry or dense, crumbly or gummy and is... well I want it to be perfect.
In a bread machine I've used combos of whole wheat plus rye, millet, masa harina, fava/garbanzo flour, oats, and rarely but with best results, all purpose. I also went through a bag of vital wheat gluten but didn't notice any difference I could attribute to it.
I'm trying something new, to me. I read the first part of "A Bread Baker's Apprentice" and am trying to make a loaf of whole wheat using an adaptation of Reinhart's methods (I didn't buy the book so can't follow it precisely and am way too inclined to experiment anyways).
I started with a soaker. I measured 2 1/2 cups of wheat and ground it. Then I combined the flour with 2 1/2 cups of bottled water (tap is awful here). Then I set it in the fridge, sealed up, overnight.
The next afternoon I ground 1 1/2 cups of wheat and stirred in 1/2 cup of very hot water. The mixture was super crumbly, not doughy at all. I let that sit about 30 minutes, covered, and then sprinkled on 1/2 tsp of instant yeast.
I oiled and floured my counter top with plenty of all purpose, turned out the soaker and kneaded it with the crumbly yeast mixture. After about 8-10 minutes of kneading the dough was still awfully wet and stuck to everything. I put it back in a covered bowl and stuck it in the fridge to use the next day. I know the flour to water ratio was way off here but I didn't want to add too much flour by accident. Still not sure how much flour is actually made by a measured volume of wheat.
When I checked the dough this morning it hadn't risen a bit. I took out the dough, turned it onto a floured counter and tried working more all-purpose into it. Still horribly sticky, worse. It felt lumpy and didn't want to smooth out and the fibers were tearing rather than being nice and stretchy. I didn't even attempt the windowpane test. SO here is where I stopped again and I am currently waiting for it to rise at room temperature.
How much flour is made by a measured volume of wheat and how should i apply that information?
I'm sure I made a heap of problems for myself. Can you explain what they were or what I should do instead?
Should I have kneaded more? I have no idea how much kneading is required when it involves a soaker or similar. I didn't want to oxidize the flour either. Read that could affect flavor. Also I read a tiny bit of the "No-Knead Bread" book which seems to be all about soaking and refrigerating dough. How does that method compare to Reinhart's?
Can I fix my dough at this point or is it okay?
Aftee it rises (if it rises) at room temperature should I punch it down and let it rise again or just go ahead and bake it?
Thanks for your help!