I haven't posted for a while, but my bread's been chugging along quite nicely. I'm making almost entirely Dutch-oven boules now. And I've been experimenting more with adding various grains to white dough - spelt, rye, barley, quinoa and so on. I find if I keep the majority of the flour high-grade white, the bread tends to work well. Not as healthy as using wholemeal flour, but my wholemeal flour loaves tend to be doughier and gummier and less well-risen and just far less appealing. I'm not sure of a way around it - the bran cuts the gluten strands. I tried doing that thing where you sift out the biggest bran particles and roll the dough in it, but it only worked moderately well, and I prefer to sprinkle other stuff on my loaves anyway - semolina or coarse cornmeal or sesame seeds, usually.
My results so far: spelt (a small proportion of spelt flour plus some actual spelt... berries?) is very nice. Red quinoa (soaked in brine overnight and rinsed to get rid of the bitterness) looks good and adds a mildly pleasant texture, but you can't really taste it - it's just sort of *there*. Kibbled wheat and rye require a fair bit of soaking unless you want really crunchy/chewy bits (though DH likes 'em!), but they taste good. And cooked barley makes the bread slightly gummy (which could probably be avoided by using a lower-hydration dough to start with), but again, is yummy.
I've also taken to mixing the dough by machine, and only adding the soaked, well-drained grains at the last minute, by hand, mixing as little as possible in a folding motion. That seems to avoid the grains slackening/cutting the dough and making it all wet and gummy and gross.
I also discovered an incredibly delicious recipe, from Pioneer Woman of all places! Look up her recipe for 'The Bread'. It's basically just a white boule from the supermarket, cut in half horizontally, each half spread with a TON of butter, and grilled until brown.
It sounds boring, but the reviews were glowing, so I tried it. I made my own loaf, of course.
And I added garlic to the butter, because duh... plus just a wee sprinkle of garlic salt over the top... and after it was grilled, I strewed chopped parsley on top for a bit of colour and served it cut in strips.
It's INCREDIBLY good. You have to really grill the butter until it's almost burned, not just melted. I've made it several times for guests and people rave about it. I can highly recommend it, as long as butter's cheap in your area.
I find we generally only use half a loaf (as in, the top or the bottom) at once, so I butter both halves at once and freeze one ready to go for next time. Very handy.