The Fresh Loaf

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Can I fold too many times ?

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noyeast's picture
noyeast

Can I fold too many times ?

When using slack dough for Ciabatta I get inconsistant loaf height. I may have overproofed one batch, but my question is to do with my (limited) understanding of dough strength through gluten development and folding.


Is there a practical limit to the number of times I can fold my slack dough i.e. can I fold too many times, or does the dough just simply refuse to be folded at some point because it has become too strong and therefore won't really allow me to continue with more folds?


 


EDIT: I just had another thought that goes to this topic: still regarding folding, is it better to do all the folding nearer the beginning, i.e. the initial fermentation, or is it ok to make folds throughout the entire fermentation and rising stages ?


Paul.

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

The gluten will relax again after it sits a while. I could fathom over mixing by machine, but over stretching and folding would be tough .

noyeast's picture
noyeast

Thanks for your opinion, I just had another thought that goes to this topic: still regarding folding, is it better to do the folding nearer the beginning ie the initial fermentation, or is it ok to make the folds throughout the entire fermentation and rising stages ?  I have EDITED my initial post so this second question will now appear there too.

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

Pretty much everything I've made with stretch and folds is either a "no knead" over night in the fridge kind of thing, and you typically do a few stretch and folds then stick it in the fridge and don't monkey with it again apart from shaping. The few other recipies where I've used it it is done at the begining of the first rise. Somone on here was talking about a boule recipe he was working on that I think involved doing a series of stretch and folds as part of the boule shaping process, but that strikes me as the exception rather than the norm.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

When I first started doing stretch & fold segments, I would always do the maximum number, but as I came to understand more about what stretch & fold does for the dough, I started doing as many or as few as necessary to achieve the proper dough consistency. What you want to achieve is a balance between extensibility and elasticity--strength and retractability. So do as many as you need to achieve a dough that feels right. If you do too many, then your dough will have too much elasticity.


--Pamela

cafe-moi's picture
cafe-moi

I've been working with some slow ripening doughs (12 hours in bulk fermentation period). On my last batch that the dough was very elastic and easy to stretch during the initial fold.  The dough began to tear during subsequent folds.  I'm wondering if I over folded or accidently overproofed in between folds.

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

When your bread begins to tear, you've gone too far. Let it relax a little, and don't push it beyond a natural stretch. When I make ciabatta, I stretch during the early stages of fermentation and then try to degas as little as possible in the later stages. As Pamela says, once you've gotten the dough to the level of gluten development that you need, you can stop. How can you tell? Try making ciabatta with high gluten flour, starting with an initial machine knead and then autolyse for 20 minutes. Then follow with 3 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals. That should be plenty of gluten development, and you can check it with the windowpane test.


Hope this helps!


Patricia

cafe-moi's picture
cafe-moi

I'll try folding a little less at each session and perhaps earlier on to see if this helps.