I've been mucking about with whole wheat loaves for a while, but doing them all wheat has for the longest time basically meant winding up with a brick. Which can look very cool, but doesn't really satisfy the sandwich need.
Of course, most of the flour I tried...Pilsbury, Hodgson's Mill, etc. was really Graham Flour, which is very chunky, and while flavorful, has a very low gluten quotient. The only survivable way to make it into tolerable wheat bread was to do a 70/30 ratio of bread flour/wheat flour, or even higher on the bread flour side.
But today, on a whim, I picked up a 5 pound bag of the King Arthur whole wheat flour. They say on the bag that it's balanced for whole wheat baking.
Incredible bread. It rose excellently, unlike prior whole wheat only experiments, and produced a wonderful looking loaf. So if you're looking into experimenting with a whole wheat loaf, I would sincerely suggest investing in some of this stuff.
King Arthur's has a great reputation, but is fairly hard to find out here on the West Coast. I almost always use flour from Bob's Red Mill, which is sold in bulk at nearly every grocery store here (the main mill is only about 20 minutes from my place). I've always been happy with the quality of their stuff, but it may be worth picking up a bag of King Arthur's to see if it makes a difference.
It would be incredibly cool to have a mill near us. There's a place down in Little Rock called Wild Oats that has a bunch of organic flours, but I wind up paying as much as $1 to $1.50 lb for it, as opposed to about .60 for the King Arthur's.
Just about all of the books I have recommend getting fresh ground flour, but sometimes it's just not convenient trying to track it down.
If they can get King Arthur's all the way out here in Arkansas, I figure they can probably get it across the Rockies (the wheat is bagged in Vermont)...maybe try their website?
But then, Bob's may be cheaper since it's local, too.
Yeah, I've seen King Arthur's here. You have to hunt for it a bit, but I know a few places that carry it.
Bob's is definitely cheaper here. I picked up some of their organic whole wheat flour bulk at the local grocery store Friday for 50 cents a pound. It is probably a lot fresher than King Arthur's here too.
We have Wild Oats stores here too. Good stuff, for the most part, but pretty expensive.
Odd, because I used the King Arthur Whole Wheat, without any other additions, and made a loaf that rose just about as high as a white loaf, and without the brickishness. Are you sure you've used King Arthur Whole Wheat, as opposed to bread flour with other Whole Wheat mixed in?