Occam's razor is looking for the "best" answer, and it defines that to be the "most plausible answer." In science, we do not have the luxury of looking for a "true hypothesis" because the definition of a true hypothesis is an ontological one beyond the scope of science (it tends to be more in the domain of religion). Instead, discovery is treated as a slow accumulation of improvements.
In theory, if we opened the gates to consider a wider range of more complex hypothesis, we would be more likely to consider the "true" hypothesis in the first round. However, does that mean we are more likely to act upon the true hypothesis? That's a harder question.
Consider a set of hypothesis which are built from a kernel hypothesis, H. Define a transform (H, n)->H' which creates a new hypothesis by combining the kernel hypothesis with some numerically defined alterations to create a new hypothesis. This could easily take the form of "adding additional degrees of freedom," which you mention.
Now, lets also include a "simplest" hypothesis, S, and let's instantiate a few hypothesis, H1, H2, and H3 (generated from (H, 1), (H, 2), and (H, 3)) respectively. It is clear that we could define as many of these as we want, and "dilute" the effect of any one hypothesis, including S.
In many cases, it is remarkably hard to prove "All hypotheses constructed using (H, n)->H' are less likely to be 'true' than S." This creates a frustrating dilemma: just by counting from 1 on upwards, a single individual could construct an arbitrary number of hypothesis to be tested, one of which might be true.
In an ideal world, where discussing hypothesis is free and takes no time, this is not a concern. One simply discusses the infinite set of hypothesis, draw a conclusion, and move on. However, in the real world, testing a theory is expensive. We do not want to make it easy to cloud the waters.
So science's solution is Occam's razor. Instead of trying to jump to the "true" hypothesis in one jump, science simply tries to jump "closer." Simplicity is something that can be reasonably agreed upon (it's not perfect, but its far easier than getting agreement on "truthfulness"). So science, and Occam's Razor declares a postulate: "Generally speaking, finding a simple and mostly-right hypothesis will lead us to a better solution in the next iteration than we would have gotten from selecting more complex hypothesis." Thus, if the "true" hypothesis, lets choose H3, had an extra variable, science claims that it will arrive at H3 cheaper and faster if it first goes through S, and then extends that to H3. It claims that if it had to jump to H3, the process would be more expensive and slower.
I draw attention to the word "postulate." There is nothing that says "Occam's Razor is the true way to find knowledge." It's just a principle that has been successful enough in scientific inquiry to reach a high level of prestige.
I think you could find literature on the topic in general. The nature of Occam's razor is well defined in terms of optimizing systems. In its traditional usage, Occam's razor is an approach seeking to optimize the value of hypotheses generated against the time spent on them. If you wished to explore alternative optimizations which find the "true" hypothesis faster, you could start by exploring how one would test if a hypothesis is "true," and then see if that leads in directions which call for alternative optimization techniques.
However, I don't think you will see much on the application of Occam's Razor in philosophy in the literature because Occam's razor starts from the premise that that two hypothesis have equal proving power. This is a highly unusual occurrence in philosophy because there is so little agreement on the definition of "proving power." The few places I am familiar with it (phyiscalism vs. dualism vs. idealism being my favorite), we actually do see what you suggest: rather than just starting from one hypothesis and moving forward, philosophy has gone forward with several in parallel.