I don't own a mixer so I knead the dough by hand. So far, I've experimented with Jeff Varasano's recipe and kneading method. The only problem with this being the mixing times he gives which are for KA-type devices, and not by hand. So I have difficulties figuring out the equivalent time for kneading by hand.
Here's my current MO :
- In a bowl containing all the water, salt, sourdough and IDY I slowly mix in about 75% of the flour with a spatula (to break down the lumps). It takes about 2 minutes.
- Then autolyse for 20-30 minutes
- Then I start mixing the remaining 25% of the flour with a metal spoon (it gets too hard to continue with spatula at this point) for about 8 minutes (as Varasano suggests). And usually I'm done! Then I divide it and pop it in the fridge.
The problem is : I'm doing it with a spoon in a bowl so wouldn't the dough obviously work much less than with a KA if I'm counting the same amount of time? => So should I mix it longer or maybe mix in the remaining flour, take it out of the bowl and knead it longer? I know it's difficult to say but how long should I be looking at when kneading by hand (I usually make dough for about 4 medium pizzas) because I really can't tell...10-20-30-40 minutes? I haven't got the slightest clue.
Also, should the kneading be vigorous or light-handed?
I think my dough might be under-kneaded although I can't really tell to be honest with you. It's usually stretchy although it will tear quite easily.
Yesterday, I tried working the dough for much longer (about 30 minutes). I even incorporated the slap and fold. The result was a tasty yet tough-as-cardboard crust ! So I obviously overworked it. The crust had some sort of a shine to it...
I know under-kneading is better than over-kneading but could anyone help me getting the time and technique right. What can I improve in my (Varasano inspired) method, what am I doing wrong?