Question First: Will Stretch and fold work for pretty much any dough, or do some doughs absolutely require kneading?
I'm not talking about things like laminated doughs (i.e. croissants) but basic lean and enriched bread doughs?
Now the Story:
I posted already about my experiments adding my new wild yeast culture sourdough to KA's multigrain loaf recipe to lighten the crumb and extend the shelf life. Following Dan Lepard's suggestion, I calculated the total flour weight an added 30% of that weight in sourdough starter to the dough.
My first try was a disaster, but all my fault. It made the usually dry dough very wet and sticky in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I did what I knew was a mistake even as I was doing it-- I added flour, and added and added, and added flour, until it came clean from the sides of the bowl. I probably added 3 or 4 cups of flour and what I got was this very dense, hard, dry loaf. DUH!
So when I tried again, I was determined not to add additional flour. I mixed it up and kneaded it in the KA mixer for about 6 minutes, then put the sticky mass onto my marble board. I used stretch and fold techniques and the teeniest bit (really about 1 tsp) of flour to ball the thing up. After the first rise, I stretched and folded the much tamer dough again before putting it in my loaf pan.
I got a lovely, light loaf. It still has a dense crumb but that is to be expected with all of the ingredients, but it tastes moist and light and delicious. Now we will see how the shelf life is.
If stretch and fold can handle that sticky mass, it seems to me it can handle anything. Hence my question. What do you think?