Maybe its the hand kneading?
I'm trying to make The Perfect Loaf Beginner sourdough. I've baked bread before. But I can't believe this is a beginner loaf. It's so hard. https://www.theperfectloaf.com/beginners-sourdough-bread/
I don't think it's the starter. I made a 180g starter overnight, split off 40g to make pizza, and 37g for this recipe. Used a Rubaud on the pizza dough until I had windowpane, set it to rise, it doubled, baked it fine.
The bread? Same levain time. Autolyzed an hour next to the levain. Added salt, water and levain. Dough was 80 degrees. It felt pretty good but because it was supposed to be stretch and fold, I didn't use Rubaud. After two stretches, it was so wet and slack, stretch and fold was super weak so every 30 minutes or so I tried to work some strength back in. I got great gluten strands almost cobwebby. I tried the Rubaud but I really need to make half batches to do that, my arm still hurts. I was afraid to just let it rise for a long time because of the taffy incident. Eventually after 6 hours I gave up, threw it down on a floured surface, scraped it into some semblance of a package and threw it into floured loaf pans, my guerrilla bannetons, and into the fridge. Tomorrow I'll probably toss one out into the Dutch oven and cook the other in the pan in the oven.
The KitchenAid mixer is ordered. And a bench scraper. Is it possible that I'm just not getting a thorough mix before stretch nd fold? Can I just do Rubaud instead of stretch and fold? Is there a better beginner recipe?