So, I started to make bread 2 years ago. I wasn't happy with it. I started making no-knead bread. I was very happy with it. And then, masochist that I am, I decided I wanted to try my hand at kneaded bread again. And, on a whim, I bought some Robin Hood Whole Wheat Best for Bread Flour (yes, perhaps a dumb idea, but it was a good deal and I justified it as being my "experiment" bread). I thought that I would try the manufacturer's recipe
for bread (which gets rave reviews, apparently).
So, technically, the loaves I made were the best I have ever made, so I'm not too unhappy. The thing is, every time I make a dough (pizza dough, sweet dough, bread dough) the same thing happens: it gets really tough and tight.
Now, I always make sure to reserve at least a cup of flour when mixing the dough (for instance, in this case I put in only 4 of the 5.75 cups required and I don't think I even used a full cup when kneading, which means I used much less flour in total than called for). I also make sure to do an autolyse. And yet...and yet my dough always becomes a sad little ball of angst.
Next time I think I would like to experiment with the French fold form of mixing/kneading. I also know that I should be measuring ingredients, but I didn't in this case because I wanted to use the RH recipe. But still: what else can I do to avoid toughness?
Where am I going wrong?* Many thanks in advance.
*other factors: the flour had sat in my kitchen for several months before using it and I use Canadian flour. Of course, every flour--no matter how old--yields similar results.