Difference between Slap & Fold vs Traditional Hand Kneading
I am making my first Vermont Sourdough today. Watched a video yesterday where Hamelman used slap and folds for mixing and for the folds during bulk ferment. I have never tried them (usually do a traditional hand knead), so I tried it today (I mean it is his recipe, right?) :-)
I did about 15-20 slap & folds at 50 minutes, and the dough was soft and supple after the 3rd or 4th one. Did not stick at all to the work surface. Stayed that way throughout the remaining S&F's. At that point, I decided to do a few hand kneads that I usually do, just so I could compare the feel of the dough to what I usually experience. After the 2nd or 3rd knead, the dough became very stiff. I did 4 or 5 more, and it stayed that way, so I just put it back in the bowl and moved on with the bulk fermentation. For the second S&F, I only did S&F's, which kept the dough soft and supple for the 20 or so that I did.
Any ideas? Is the dough getting stiff a sign of better gluten development, or is that a sign of the gluten breaking down with that technique?