The Fresh Loaf

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Stretch and fold question

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impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Stretch and fold question

Is there a way to "stretch and fold" a small amount of dough? The recipe I used was 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup water (plus salt sugar and yeast).

I was just trying to make one loaf of bread and practice S&F technique, but it didnt have enough weight to stretch it. If I tried to hold it down with one hand and stretch, it would just tear.

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Is tearing the dough when using the s&f technique bad?

I have have been at it for 30 min, and it is frustrating. I doubled the recipe this time and it will still get tight, wad up in a ball and wont stretch, just tear. I try swinging the dough down ward 4 - 5 times slap it on the counter fold and so on. All I am getting is a crust that looks like an alien landscape. Sometimes I get a smooth outside but then it just tears some more. I have been letting it sit and relax then knead for a few more minutes.

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

S&F is useful in high-hydration doughs, and it sounds like yours is a stiffer dough (even though your formula would not suggest that). If so, that does make it hard to do a stretch and fold unless you allow plenty of time for the gluten to relax between folds -- like 20-30 minutes or longer. 

S&F is an alternative to kneading. It's a gentler way to handle the dough but still build structure, using the folds and, importantly, time to create the structure. Something in what you have written -- "been at it for 30 minutes" -- leads me to believe you are not using S&F in that way.

 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

What is the recipe you're using? Sounds to me that your dough is not wet enough to facilitate a stretch and fold?

You could also try to roll it out with a rolling pin and then fold it, but, as mentioned above, if your hydration is too low, I don't think stretch and fold will increase the final result in your loaf.

Stephan

www.firebrickbread.com

 

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

what about the tears?  I have heard that you can over-knead the dough in a mixer, but not by hand. 

I have stopped the kneading and made 4 loaves, I guess I will see what the results are in an hour or so.

Today I used 5 cups flour and 2 cups water (sugar yeast salt)

it felt very hydrated when I started, eventually it didnt stick to the counter like at first, then the dough seemed to become "wetter" , and after about 10 min I would let it sit for 5-10 min then stretch and fold again. the dough started feeling somewhat smooth, but keeps tearing. did I damage the gluten?

I know I probably sound like an idiot obsessing over this, but dang it all to heck, Im gonna get this right!!

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

I would suggest reading more here on TFL (use the search box at the upper left) and using a proven formula (recipe) from a book or from one of the experienced bakers here. Minimize the points of experimentation (don't change the formula each time, etc.) to teach yourself what you want to know. 

To oversimplify:

-- If your dough is tearing, the gluten is not developed enough.

-- Kneading and S&F are two ways to develop gluten.

-- Overkneading is bad because it overheats the dough, which creates all sorts of problems. Most bakers would agree that it's hard to overknead when kneading by hand. 

Those are oversimplifications because everything matters. Like flour, for instance. You have not said what sort of flour you are using, and the type of flour used will have a great impact on the dough. 

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

I just use a storebrand AP flour, nothing fancy. Im not a real Baker, I just cook for my sister and her four kids. But I get bored with doing the same thing over and over, so I am trying new things.

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

Especially this page:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/faqs/baking

Lots there about S&F.

Jane Clark's picture
Jane Clark

If you are measuring flour using the "scoop and dump" method, try using just a little bit less flour. When you scoop flour in a measuring cup, you compact the flour as you scoop and get about 16-17% more flour than if you sift the flour into the measuring cup.  Sifting is actually the correct way to measure flour, but it's fussy, time consuming and messy. That's why experienced bakers weigh flour, it's much more acurate and easier than using a measuring cup. As soon as I bought a scale and started weighing flour everything I baked magically got better: cakes got lighter, bread dough was silky, biscuits became flaky.

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Well then I will have to get a food scale. Thank you.