Of course you can hand knead. People were actually baking before stand mixers were invented.
There is a kneading technique for sticky and/or slack doughs. I call it "stretch and slap."
Start with an extra thorough mixing. Let the bread "autolyze" (rest) for 20 minutes, and give it a "French fold." After another 20 minutes, you can begin kneading.
Put the dough on the board. Keeping it one piece, grab about 2/3 of it with your hands, and lift it about a foot off the board, so that about half of that (1/3 of the total) stretches back down to the board and what's left of the original dough ball. Slam the part in your hand down on top of what's on the board. Turn the dough over, and do it again. Repeat until your dough is shiny and elastic.
Kneading this way does not require much, if any, bench flour. The dough itself will suck up whatever sticks to the bench as you go. It starts messy, but have faith and stay with it. It should actually go faster than the "turn and fold" method you're probably used to.
With respect, that's not a great recipe. Try the recpie heading this thread, or at least take a look. It will give a more useful bread, significantly less sweet and with a much better developed flavor. This particular recipe doesn't have any kneading issues.
Note: If you want to swap out the poolish in my recipe for your sourdough starter in order to get more tang, you can. You can make it more sour still by swapping some of the flour and water in the non-poolish part of the recipe with starter which has equivalent amounts of both.
A stand mixer is a great thing to have, but as a bread mixer/kneader it doesn't actually save much time unless you're making very large recipes. That's truer still if you're riding the autolysis trend (which you ought to at least try). When you buy a mixer, plan on doing the last few minutes of kneading by hand to prevent over-kneading, transferring too much heat to the dough, and all the rest of machine evils.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/20/10 at 11:18am