How to recover when the dough looks like moon's surface
I admit I am still very new to breadmaking, but I love it. I have been making "sandwich" style loaves in bread pans that are coming out pretty nice. But there are times when I am trying to make French or Italian loaves, that bake directly on a sheet pan or baking stone, and the results are really ugly. I typically make my dough in a bread machine because I work from home and am doing other things while the dough is mixing/needing. When it's done I'll put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise for an hour. When it's done I turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it into 2 or 3 pieces (3 if making French loaves, 2 if making Italian round loaves). I then take the 2 or 3 pieces and knead again to try and form that tight ball that all of the videos show me, and this is where it goes wrong. Either my kneading is very wrong or my dough is bad or something because after a couple minutes the surface of my dough tears and pits, and looks like the surface of the moon. Of course it still bakes, and it tastes good, which matters the most, but it would be nice to be able to form a really nice looking loaf.
What else do you need to know from me to be able to help? I will keep trying because practice makes perfect and I like eating the bread no matter what it looks like!