Less is More
So I've been going back and forth and up and down trying to nail down the interdependencies between hydration, mixing protocol, starter amount, fermenting/proofing times, etc. One thing is certain - very small changes at this point can make a big difference in the final texture and taste. Although I still have a long way to go, I have to withdraw my original statement in this thread (and my tagline) that wetter is better. After a few dozen pies at different hydration levels, It seems that for my methods and tastes, that around 62% is optimal. Of course, there are all kinds of things that effect the absorption of water by the flour (sifting, resting periods, etc.), but I have been able to achieve the most consistent results with the 62% hydration, no sifting, 75%/25% addition of flour after 5 minute rest, 20 minute riposo at the end of kneading. An added benefit is that the drier dough is easier to handle.
I have also had success in improving the flavor by reducing the amount of starter allowing for longer fermentation/proofing. Before I was using 10% starter by total weight. I slowly cranked that down to 5% with a 18 hour room temp ferment and 6 hour proof.
This picture of a slice of Lolita is from today: