newbie baking percentage question -
Hello all, Phil here. Kind of new to baking bread but have turned out quite of bit of it already. I've always been 'uncomfortable' with the recipes that instructed to keep adding flour until the dough 'cleans the sides of the bowl', and thought that the 'percentage method', me being a numbers guy in real life, was perfect. So I jump in with a 65% hydration, do my math, check it, and off I go knowing that this is how much flour, this is how much water, and we're not going to guess about it. Using a KA mixer, everything goes in and gets mixed, but a) the dough never 'cleans' the sides of the bowl, b) i can barely touch the dough without it sticking to my hands, and c) I end up adding more flour so I can at least knead the dough somewhat, which is what i've tried to avoid to begin with. I'm beginning to suspect that perhaps I just need to continue with kneading to get to a nice satiny dough that I can touch, shape, etc?? Usually the total time for mixing, kneading etc. is about 10 minutes or less from the time the bowl is empty to the time it's empty once more. While I ultimately get a loaf of bread, it usually tends to be a bit dense and always has a crumb much finer than what i'm shooting for. I've just begun using the paddle to mix about 2/3 of the flour with the water, yeast and salt, and then switch to the hook for the final addition of flour but haven't noticed much difference. I did however make the quick ciabotta loaves that just get beaten with the paddle and did notice that even with all that water, the bowl does indeed clean itself, which is what's leading me to think that if I spend more time mixing/kneading perhaps I'll get that nice soft satiny dough I keep seeing on you-tube. OTOH, I have read that mixing or kneading too much can contribute to too fine a crumb and that's what's making me keep the time in the mixer minimized. I'll also add that even whilst using explicit instructions such as "2-3 minutes of mixing will bring your dough together", that never happens in my mixer(KSM5, about 15 years old) - at that point I still have all kinds of flour around the perimeter and a very liquidy batter in the middle. So I then crank up the speed to like 5, and knead there, although still not getting a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl and is almost impossible to knead on a table without scraping the sticky mass back together. Your thoughts?
Thank you for any insight you might provide