The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Working Wet Doughs by Hand... kneading vs folding?

gijose's picture

Working Wet Doughs by Hand... kneading vs folding?

I know it's a topic that has been talked about quite often, and I have seen the tutorial on folding.


I have been working quite successfully with 80% hydration dough.  I'm using the Pain a L'Ancienne recipe in the BBA, and I now have a scale, so I can more accurately recreate my bread effectively :)  What I have been doing is... mixing the ingredients together for a minute or so, then put the dough in the refrigerator for an autolyse period (the recipe calls for cold fermentation, so I figured this made sense).  When I take the dough out it's much smoother, and I give it a few folds, and toss it back in the fridge to hang out.


I get bread that looks and tastes delicious, so I'm not really looking to change too much.  The recipe itself uses a kitchenaid mixer, and works the dough a lot harder than I do.  In the recipe the dough is basically kneaded for several minutes.  All I do is autolyse and fold for a minute or two.  What would working the dough more accomplish?  Would I have to knead the dough to effectively develop gluten?  Or does folding do the trick?  Next time I make the dough I'm going to try taking the bowl out and folding a few times every hour or so, just to see what happens.  Just wondering if I could expect any changes in the bread.