Very sticky dough from 100% whole wheat flour

JakBB

Hello baking community!

I'm one of the many people who decided to try baking my own sourdough bread during this quarantine and I've tried a few times already, never quite getting my bread the way I wanted it.

I'm using my own wheat, I'm grinding it with an electric mill and sifting it, and the dough I'm getting is always very sticky, almost impossible to work with by hand.

Last time I followed this recipe https://www.theperfectloaf.com/100-whole-wheat-sourdough/ and on 70% hydration my dough already didn't resemble the one in the article at all, visually it's darker, it very much sticks to the sides, is quite runny and doesn't have a smooth skin, but more of a rough surface.

The temperature in my house may be quite colder than the one in the recipe, so I set my dough outside on a sunny day but covered to avoid direct sun light.

The starter I got from a friend some days ago and I've been feeding it with my whole wheat flour. a couple of hours after feeding it doesn't pass the float test even tough it clearly rises and is full of air, I've read online that whole wheat is heavier and thus it's more difficult to get a whole wheat starter to float.

 

Since I'm really new to this whole baking thing I'm a bit lost on what to try next to try and improve my dough for the next time. I really want to be able to bake with my homegrown wheat, so switching to white flour is out of question. Maybe I could try sifting with a finer sifter? The last time I sifted out 170g of bran from 1,200g of flour.

Should I lower hydration or raise it? I've read that whole wheat generally needs a higher hydration, but at 70% my dough is already quite runny and I've also read that a lower hydration makes the dough more compact.

 

Anyone with some experience baking with whole wheat have some suggestions on where I can improve to get a better dough?

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