I have been making whole wheat bread lately (4c ww flour, 1c white flour, 1T salt, 1T yeast, various herbs, water) and while it is good especially when fresh, it is not exactly what I am trying for. It turns out dryish (probably because I always bake it a little too long--my recipe just says until 'golden brown on top' and this usually takes ~35 minutes but it's always a little bit more done than I wanted, sigh) and an even dryish crumbly texture, not chewy.
I was wondering if there is a trick to making chewy bread or if it is a recipe tweak. My method is to mix ingredients into a fairly sticky but kneadable blob. Knead maybe five minutes, let rise to 2x size, knead again maybe 3-5 minutes, rise to bake size, and bake. Shapewise, I let it go into a round (no pan) loaf.
What am I doing wrong? Do I have to use only white flour if I want chewy? Do I just need to bake it less? Do I need to knead it more or less? (I honestly don't know what kneading it twice does for it--I just had a recipe long ago and it said to knead twice.) Is it possible to get the sort of bread that has vacant spots--bubbles--inside (like you see in French bread) using whole wheat flour?
Thanks for any advice!