King Arthur All-Purpose Flour Bafflement
I hope someone has an answer for this, because I'm baffled.
I've used KA all-purpose flour a lot, both with bread flour and alone. I haven't kept notes or done any experiments, but I've never noticed what I noticed in today's baking. I chose it instead of the Guisto bread flour I've been using because I was doing a number of things that I thought would benefit from a slightly softer flour. Fougasse, bread sticks, epi.
I retarded the dough overnight. Simple baguette high hydration dough leavened with yeast. I beat the peewaddin' out of it in my KA mixer, but a great deal of the dough stayed on the bottom of the bowl-more than when I made Jason's coccodrillo ciabatta. It seemed wetter than that dough even though I used 500 g flour and 350 g water. I added a couple of small handfuls of flour while the dough was mixing to try to get it to look right, but it never did. I probably beat it 12 minutes total at speed 2 and above trying to get it to look right.
I then folded the dough several times over the course of an hour and 15 minute rise and put it in the refrigerator. I refolded it right before bed because it had doubled. In the morning, the dough looked great and acted like a high hydration dough--in fact, it was very sticky and showed no signs that I had added extra flour. I had a hard time handling it, and when I tried to shape baguettes, it never made a tight skin. The surface of the bread stuck to the counter and had wavy lines on it in spite of flouring my hands often. Several of the loaves I rolled into a batard, relaxed, and started over on because they looked so bad.
They had great oven spring, but the crust was dull and didn't turn golden or gelatinized. It looked a lot like organic flour crust does, but it wasn't organic flour. I did spray the crusts right before baking with water and steamed as usual with a tray with lava rocks and a cup of water.
I have had great success with this recipe and technique in the past, and I'm baffled. Anybody have any ideas or experience with this flour that's similar? I keep going back and forth between "Did I over knead or under knead?"