|Yes, this bread really contains 100% whole wheat flour. NO white.|
My niece Cara has been struggling with her whole wheat bread, which turns out like little bricks. I can't figure it out: I've told her everything I know, already, and her mom is a baking wizard and can do anything I can do, better.
Cara cannot believe things need to be done so differently.
You have to knead a batch of whole wheat bread dough for 15 minutes. Not a minute less. Put on some good radio, and set a timer.
Bakers of white bread add flour as they're kneading.
If you do that with whole wheat flour, your dough won't all be kneaded long enough to develop the gluten (or whatever the science is), and won't rise well.
You have to let it be sticky and just keep kneading until it gets to the point where it becomes smooth and supple and not sticky. It will.
When you shape the loaves, you don't do it on a floured board.
You put a container of lukewarm water on the counter, and dip your hands into it for handling the dough and on the countertop so that the dough won't stick.
"You can't do that!" my mom said.
It's what I do, thanks to a tip in a book given to me by my aunt, Reta.
The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, by Laurel Robertson.