why is my dough so stiff?
I watch videos of people making dough and it just seems that my dough is much stiffer, even with 84% water. And when I add salt and starter it's so stiff I can barely work it. The result is there's very little strength by the time I put it in the oven. If I put the resulting dough in the fridge overnight it seems to rise better. Anyway, here's what I do in more detail and if someone could point out anything obvious I'd appreciate it.
First of all, I live at 5000' above sea level and it's very dry.
I mix 60% KA bread flour (12.7% gluten) with 40% KA whole wheat (14% gluten) and 84% water. At 80% the dough is just too stiff to do anything with without tearing it.
I let it autolyze for 3 hours. If I stopped after an hour I'd never get a windowpane.
At this point I can pull up a piece and I get a good windowpane, but it's so much slower than what I see other people do in these videos. The result is that as I mix in the salt and starter (2% and 20%, respectively) it gets even stiffer and I don't really mix it all in. They might say do folds for 5 minutes but I get 2 or 3 folds and then it has to rest for a while or else the dough will tear.
The result is that, unless I refrigerate the dough over night, the dough just spreads out when I put it in the oven.
What does work is I stretch out the dough after autolyze, I smear on the starter and salt. I roll it up, let it sit 15 min, do 2 folds, sit 15 min, 2 more folds, let it rise 4 hours, a couple of folds, rest an hour, form it, put it in the basket, final rise, put it in the fridge and bake it the next day. Parts of the dough rise fine but some parts are fairly dense.
The saving grace is it all still tastes good. I'd just like a bit more flexibility and a more even crumb.