Sourdough - knead vs. stretch and fold
I've just started on my sourdough journey. So far I've made San Joaquin Sourdough from dmSnyder, Norwich sourdough from Susan of Wild Yeast, Essential's Columbia Country French style and last Peter Reinharts' Basic Sourdough Bread from his B.B.Apprentice book. Many thanks to all who provided lovely recipes, advice and methods on this site.
We've loved all of them although I know they will improve as I become more experienced. I made two loaves each time and as an experiment held the 2nd of each (as suggested by Susan) in the frig after forming them, baked them immediately from the frig. the next day and we found them noticeably more interesting with more depth of flavour than the loaves baked the day before. In fact my husband, who was brought up in Central Europe, thought he had died and gone to heaven to at last have bread which reminded him of his childhood.
Both Essential's and Reinhart's specify kneading or the mixer, which is something I would prefer not to have to do. My question is does anyone know if the kneading is essential with these two recipes or could I substitute wet-handed Stretch and Fold as I find that physically less demanding than kneading?Also can I use a higher hydration or would it be likely to change the whole character of the bread?
I almost always use unbleached white bread flour with a proportion of whole-grain rye.
Any help or advice from more experienced bakers would be so much appreciated.