All I get are bricks :(
All I want is to bake a healthy relatively light whole wheat bread that's not a brick!! Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm just trying very basic ingredients - this is my method (sorry I don't use percentages).
1 Cup of Starter (Maintained with whole wheat and water), And adding 1 cup of water, and another cup of whole wheat flour. I leave this out overnight with a teatowel over it and in the morning it is very frothy and bubbly - so far so good.
Using a mixer I then add more flour, about 3 1/2 cups (although I have experimented with 2-4 cups, and added additional water) and a teaspoon of salt. I then let the mixer knead it for about 10 minutes. By this point it's normally looking like a nice dough, a bit sticky to touch, but coming away from the sides of the bowl (and when I added more flour it just gets too dry).
I then put a teatowel over it and let it rise - I have tried it at various temperatures (ie next to the heater, outside etc etc) and even tried letting it rise in the fridge overnight for a long time, and of course I have tried leaving it for various lengths of time - from a couple of hours, to nearly 24 hours. Most of the time it seems to rise, and have some decent looking bubbles but it certainly hasn't doubled.
I then tip it out of the bowl and gently squash it down, and fold it. I've tried folding a couple of times, leaving and then folding again, but it doesn't seem to make much difference. I then shape it and put it in my bread machine for the final rise and to cook (I don't currently have an oven). I've tried leaving it to rise and then just letting it cook in the machine, but mostly I set it to a couple of hours for rising and then an hour for cooking.
Everytime, no matter what combination of rising times, temperatures etc I get a heavy brick. :(
Sometimes it seems like it's rising the second time, but when I get it out, it's a flop - yet again.
I'm getting rather despondant - I've been at it for about 2 months now, about 4 times a week. Occasionally just for my husbands benefit I've made it with straight white flour (although still using the whole wheat starter) and it's risen beautifully and worked fine - which of course just depresses me even more - there must be a way to get it right.
I've tried a couple of recipes that I found here on previous posts, but with the same result - so it must be something I'm doing terribly wrong. I grind my flour myself from organic wheat in my champion juicer (grinder) and I always use it freshly ground - I would have thought that would make it better - not worse!
Please - any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading