Two things -- Dough too liquidy and what is the importance of the seam?
I'm baking bread according to the tartine method and have gradually been getting better. My starter is healthy and can raise bread with half a tbsp of starter (after making a leaven of course). I know there are a lot of posts on the tartine method but I've gotten so frustrated recently that I felt i had to post something more specific to my actual situation. The main problem i'm having is that my dough is too liquidy and isn't getting enough surface tension to properly shape - it's the stickiest thing in the world!
This is a bit odd because i'm baking 85% white and 15% wholegrain, and at 71% hydration (the recipe in the book is 75!). I'm using allison strong white flour at 12% protein and am bulk fermenting/proofing at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. So I don't understand what's going wrong.
I know people say don't back off on the hydration and that I should learn how to "work with wet dough" but honestly this dough is IMPOSSIBLE to work properly - it sticks to counter whether it is covered in flour or oil, and it even sticks to my bench scraper. Every time I try to handle it and try to remove my hand/scraper the resulting tug distorts any shape i have tried to make. I have made do by scraping my bench scraper around the loaf in circles in order to build tension which works okay. And when it comes to after the bench rest I try to shape as suggested but the dough is so sticky that no real "seam" is created as the dough just merges (and by the way - why do we need a seam anyway?).
After proofing the dough is so liquidy if you shake the banneton it wobbles like jelly - hence when you put it into the pan it loses all shape.... The bread itself tastes nice but is rather ugly (as scoring is impossible) and flat.
I'd really appreciate some help from you guys because this is getting incredibly frustrating.
Thanks a lot,