The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Difference in stretch and fold intervals

  • Pin It
sybram's picture
sybram

Difference in stretch and fold intervals

I've seen several of you experienced bakers include in the details of your baking a statement that you autolysed and then did a stretch and fold three or four times at twenty minute intervals.  Researching a few sourdough bread formulas, I read to wait forty-five minutes between the stretch and folds.  Please explain.  Thanks.


Syb

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Syb,


The hydration level would be a factor in stretch-and-fold intervals. On a medium hydration dough, roughly 67%, mechanical mixing or kneading will build in sufficient gluten, and stretch-fold can happen at longer intervals as the dough ferments and rises, usually more rise with each stretch-fold. On high hydration doughs, 73% or higher, mixing and kneading the sticky stuff can be more difficult. A solution is to stretch and fold frequently, in the bowl, to build decent gluten structure.


Others may have other situations that shed light on this difference.


HTH,


David

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I routinely make lean dough, enriched (sweet) dough and sourdough.  I exclusively use stretch and fold for all my bread.  I treat them all the same.  And they all turn out well.  I do what works for me.


I don't always have the opportunity to stick to a ridgid schedule.  My rule of thumb is that the interval between S&Fs should be at least 15 minutes so that the dough has time to relax.  I try to get three S&Fs in before I put my dough in the fridge to retard.  I let my dough sit at room temp for 60 to 90 minutes before I put it in the fridge, so that can mean that I get all three S&Fs done in 45 minutes - in which case I would let my dough sit for a while (15 to 45 more minutes) before I pop it in.


On a busy morning, I can only get around to the third S&F at the 90 minute mark, in which case I will immediately put it in the fridge. 


Either way, the dough turns out pretty much the same.  You just can't wait too long between S&Fs since you end up having to degass a lot and that makes it clumsy to S&F.


If I've prefermented my dough at room temp, I do three S&Fs at short intervals and move on to final proofing.  For example, I mixed up some lean dough ingredients with a spoon this morning and let it sit while I was at work.  I got home at 3:30 PM and the baguettes just came out of oven a few minutes ago, just after 5PM. (S&F at 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, final proof 4:15-4:45, bake for 20 minutes.)


 


I'm not an expert or anything, it's just what works for me.  I don't think that the time intervals between S&Fs are that important no matter what type of dough you are making.


 

sybram's picture
sybram

At 3:30, did you punch down the dough before you started your stretch and folds since it had been sitting there all day and was probably pretty thick already?

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I try not to, but it's pretty wet. 


I wet my hands and I unstick the dough from the sides of the container with my wet hands.  This does degass it a lot and the dough collects itself as a round ball in the middle of the container.  I flip it upside-down and stretch and fold in in the container.


I don't squeeze the living daylights out of it, though.  I try to preserve as many bubbles as I can.


The dough I am talking about was 75 per cent hydration.


 


 


 

sybram's picture
sybram

Thanks so much, Soundman and Arzajac, for your comments.  You have made the S and F technique seem much more simple for me.  The way you explain it, it's doesn't have to be precise.   That's what I needed to hear.  Thanks again,


Syb

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

is wheather you're using yeast or a sourdough starter. Yeast is a lot faster so my S&F are at 20 minute intervals - sourdough gets 40 minute intervals.


 


Larry

sybram's picture
sybram

But why, Larry?  Wouldn't more s & f cause th sourdough to progress faster?

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

and I'm not sure of the answer. The stretch and folds take the place of kneading to produce good gluten developement so they don't help anything "progress" as in rise faster.


I started with sourdough and S&Fs at 45 minute intervals and when I started doing yeasted sandwich loaves, I had to change my ways quickly because the dough was doubling and I hadn't done any S&Fs.


But your question makes me wonder and rethink my procedures. If I could get good gluten developement in an hour rather than three, Iwoud be very happy. I will certainly give it a try.


 


larry

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

A good portion of the answer to your question will be based on the type(s) of flour that you used for a particular recipes. Regular AP and for the most part Bread flours develop fairly quick (and also, conversely, require less kneading if you were doing that), therefore your folds can be fairly close together.


Whole grain and multi-grain recipes take a lot longer to develop, hence you will find a lot of recipes with those types of flour recommending 40-45 min intervals.


While you might think that folding every 20 mins is 'speeding up the process', and it is under certain conditions, other conditions suggest that the fold cycle hasn't completed after only 20 mins, and re-folding it at that point is to lose some of the benefits of the previous fold.


Certain flours just require patience. After doing stretch and folds many times over many recipes, you will get a very distinct 'feel' and visual queues when it is ready to fold again. Rely less on the clock, and more on your knowledge and feel. Your dough cannot tell what time it is. ; )


- Keith

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I don't think the amount of time you need to knead a dough has much to do with the time it takes to come tegether by dong S&Fs.  I say this because my sweet dough - with lots of oil; which is supposed to make gluten development difficult - comes together as easily as my lean dough.  As well, I make a very wet whole wheat dough which, again, comes together very quickly.


I think it's because the gluten comes together much more by autolyse than by manual force, when doing S&Fs.


I don't think yeast activity contributes much to S&F gluten development, so I propose the following experiement:


Mix four batches of flour and water, two whole wheat and two white.  S&F one pair at 15 minute intervals and the other pair at 45 minute intervals.  Assess.  That should demonstrate objectively the differences that longer or shorter S&F intervals can have on dough.


What do you think?


 


 

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Sounds fun, really...


What scientific tool will we be using to measure the degree and quality of gluten development at each interval?

sybram's picture
sybram

Well, I thought I could do Arzajac's experiment today, sort of.  I had already planned to make PR's sourdough bread out of his BBA.  His recipe makes two loaves.  My intention was to make one recipe regular sourdough, but add roasted garlic to one of the loaves.  With the next batch I wanted to make one loaf with half ww flour and one with half rye flour.   Sounds easy enough, but before I knew it I already had the full amount of rye flour in the first batch (not all rye, but the full ½).  I opted to make regular sourdough and the other one with the half ww flour for the next batch, thereby leaving out the garlic loaf. :(


OK, so nothing's lost, I thought.  I can still do the sf test with the rye, since they're identical loaves (to be).  I can tell you right now the fifteen minute plan did not work.  The dough is way too stiff.  I lengthened the time to thirty minutes for the shorter interval one.  After just a few (3 I think) folds, it had some tears across the top, and the longer interval one didn't.  So, we'll see.


The plain dough is rising like a house afire, and the wheat is nice and soft and expanding nicely.  I thought I could do the sf on these two in the bowls, but I think the bowls are too small.  I felt like I was smashing it too much, so I turned it out on the counter for subsequent sf.  Frankly, with my lack of expertise, it's too confusing.  By the time I get through all four loaves (or just the three), it's time to start over again, trying to be sure I remember everything correctly.  That's sooo me, and I'm having fun, but I won't guarantee what my harvest will be.


Syb

arzajac's picture
arzajac

That's interesting.  Perhaps the interval between S&Fs should be related to hydration rather than anything else?


 


I haven't had the time to do the experiment.  I'll try adding another pair with a really low hydration when I do.


 


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Syb,


With respect to tearing: Rye doesn't have the gliadin and glutenin in anything like the proportion that wheat flour does. So stretch and fold is not normally used with dough made with 50% rye. I have gone up to 40% medium rye and used sf, but N.B. the 'medium'. If I made a 40% whole rye dough, I wouldn't do any sf.


HTH,


David


 

sybram's picture
sybram

So now you tell me, Soundman. ;)

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I have a whole evening of cooking to do for a family reunion, so I found a little time to get started onthe experiment.  I was running short on Whole wheat flour (I only have the good stuff left) so I only did four samples with (cheap) unbleached all-purpose flour.


They each contained 150 grams of flour (by weight) and two had a hydration of 60% and two had a hydration of 75%.  One of each was S&Fed with 15 minute intervals and the other two were done at 45 minute intervals.  The "dough" was then left to rest another 15 minutes after the last S&F and then assessed.


JustLoafin:  I used the windowpane.  I had never been able to do one until today, but I gues that was because I never developed gluten well enough by kneading.


I couldn't take photos because I only have two hands and my wife was busy.  However, I did a google image search for "windowpane dough" and what I was able to do looked better than the most of the images there.  I was able to stretch the dough very thinly on all samples.


I suppose the higher hydration samples were able to be stretched a little thinner than the lower hydration ones, but both the 15 minute and the 45 minute ones seemed similar.  I guess the 15 minute ones were a little more stringy than the 45 minute ones, but the membrane was very thin nonetheless.


Is there a quantatative way to assess a windopane?


Also, can someone else try this and see if you get the same thing?


As well, I will try with Whole wheat, eventually.


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi!


I'm happy you have demonstrated to yourself that the window pane can be achieved and that you can do it with S&Fing.


In answer to your questions: The window pane test is an indication of gluten development. What you are actually measuring is how thin you can stretch the dough before it tears. So you can "quantify" the window pane, i.e., the degree of gluten development, by how thin your dough stretches before tearing.


Suas, in his "Advanced Bread and Pastry" book has photos of the window pane with different degrees of gluten development. I don't know another place with similar illustrations.


It might help you to make 2 or 3 identical batches of dough, develop them to differing degrees of gluten development, then shape and bake them. Compare the crumb appearance and how they chew. I dare say you will find that, beyond a certain point (which is a matter of personal preference), more gluten development is not necessarily better. This experiment will help you get a handle on what formulas in bread baking books mean when they call for "medium gluten development," for example.


David

jj1109's picture
jj1109

Hi David and all,


Susan over at WildYeast has a few pictures of what you're describing - see here:


http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/07/gluten/


HTH


JJ