The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Al Ancienne/Foccacia/rustic bread dough from PR's WGB stretch and fold?????

DanOMite's picture

Pain Al Ancienne/Foccacia/rustic bread dough from PR's WGB stretch and fold?????

Hey guys I was just wondering if I should do a stretch and fold to the whole grain version of pain al ancienne ??

I figure that a little stretch and fold before I go to bed tonight could help out with the gluten development????

Does anyone got any advice for this one? Its the first time I've done this one and I'm kinda nervous to see how it'll come out.

Just how wet should this dough be??? Like could you try describing your opinion of the consistency??

Any  or expertise or opinion would be greatly appreciated

thanks in advance

LindyD's picture

Are you speaking of this rustic bread?  I don't have Reinhart's book on whole grains and the only ancienne I'm aware of is Reinhart's recipe in the BBA.  

That formula is about 80% hydration when using all 24 ounces of cold water and the consistency is what I would call "goopy."  



arzajac's picture

Stretch and fold never hurts.  In fact, Peter Reinhart is becoming fond of it due to the large number of recipe testers that have recommended the technique to him.

See his blog:


 One final note: I am very excited about the feedback regarding the stretch and fold method used in some of the recipes and am thinking of adding it to many of the others. If you have any doughs that you felt didn't hold shape well, or did not rise well in the oven, the next time you make it apply two or three stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals before putting the dough in the fridge. Please let me know if you try this and if it makes a difference. Thanks to all of you who encouraged me to add this step--I think it's one of the big breakthroughs we've been looking for and it has me very excited.

rainwater's picture

It's the only method I use now.......It's simple.....and it works....My first stretch and fold was a mushy brioche dough with 50% Whole Wheat flour......I thought this will never work on this dough....I persisted...and amazingly the dough came around......If that dough could be stretched and folded into a smooth dough, any dough can.....and it gets easier and easier the more you do it......I almost don't even want to work with a dough unless it's really moist now.....Since stretch and fold, I add the flour last in increments to avoid a non-mushy dough.....I love to mold the mush into something smooth and soft.

Dhaus's picture

I have made Reinhart's Pain Acienne a number of times as well as countless batches of ciabatta as it is one of my family's favorites. 

With these highly hydrated doughs, the wetter the better for me, I stretch and fold at least every hour during bulk fermentation and it is amazing how it can bring the sloppiest of doughs together. 

Best regards,


LindyD's picture

Darren, do you take the Ancienne dough out of the fridge every hour to stretch and fold it? Or are you not putting it in the cooler?

Dhaus's picture

I leave it alone during the time in the fridge, but when it comes up to room temp after, I will fold it  about an hour or so before dividing.

pigreyhound's picture

When I am trying a new recipe or trying to add whole grains to a recipe and the dough is giving me a hard time, I do three stretch and folds, 45 minutes apart, and usually the dough becomes much more manageable and i get better crumb structure.

I can't image a couple stretch and folds would hurt any dough!