The Why of Dough Handling Schemes
A survey of techniques for dough handling shows a wide variety of methods including initial kneading up to some fairly elaborate stretch and fold regiments. My question is what is the rationale behind those techniques? Kneading, as I understand, doesn't usually go beyond the initial handling, but there are stretch-and-folds with wait times that can go on for hours. I can understand that moving the dough around can present new flour to the leavening organisms to work on but what's unclear to me is if these schemes are also trying to do something with the gluten structure, and what is supposed to be accomplished?