The first time I ever made whole wheat bread, I was VERY disappointed! I followed the recipe EXACTLY...and created a 'brick' that could be used in building an adobe brick house. I vowed I would never make wheat bread again. In an effort to help me, my mom enlisted the help of her sister, who worked at the USU extension office. She gave me several pamphlets on bread making.
(printable chart available here)
Come to find out, I added TOO much flour and did not let my dough knead long enough.
Why does my bread turn out different every time? Well, the weather plays a big part in it. Humidity and temperate affect the quality of your bread. When it is stormy (humid) outside, you may have to add more flour to your dough.
Kneading time is a factor as well. Wheat breads need more kneading time to develop the gluten in your bread. It absorbs liquids quickly, and you may look at your dough and feel like it needs more flour. Don't be fooled! Give it a little more kneading time (4-5 minutes) and the dough will be less sticky.
Altitude and temperature affect the rising of your bread. In Utah, the high altitude shortens the rising time, allowing our breads to rise very quickly, usually doubling in size in 20-30 minutes. Bread rises best in temperatures of 80-85 degrees. Too warm, your bread may collapse in the oven; too cool and your bread may be too heavy and dense.