1) Since a wheat grinder is not in our near future (we’re still saving up for the stand mixer), what store brands of whole-wheat flour are the best? Our local Henry’s carries Red Mill, as well as bulk flour.
So far we’ve been using a mixture of King Arthur Bread Flour and Gold Medal Stone Ground Whole Wheat—basically, what happened to be available at Albertson’s the day I went shopping. I bought some of the bulk whole wheat flour at Henry’s this weekend, but now I’m wondering if I should have gone for the Red Mill instead.
2) Jane’s main question so far, and it’s a good one, is how to tell when you’ve added the right amount of flour to your dough before you begin kneading. Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book says:
Pick up the dough and squeeze it. Feel deep into the dough…it’s sure to be sticky and wet, but is it soft, or is it stiff? A soft, pliable dough makes lighter bread.
Does the dough resist your touch? Does it strain the muscles in your fingers when you squeeze it? Then it is too stiff. On the other hand, the dough must have enough flour to hold its shape. Doe it feel waterlogged, as if the flour is not contributing much substance to it? Does it have a runny, liquid quality? Then it is too slack.
(Page 41.) Jane—read on to see what we should do if the dough is either too slack or too stiff.