The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

BBA French Bread

SallyBR's picture

BBA French Bread

After a couple of weeks break, I resume baking the breads in Peter Reinhart's book -

Just made his French Bread, if anyone is interested I have photos in here


Now, I wonder....  The more I make bread, the more I am convinced that "the folding thing" is what works best for me. Maybe some people prefer to beat the dough into submission, either with a Kitchen Aid or their own hands, but I never seem to have the same success I do with folding, a la Hamelman, Lepard, and others.

After making the French Bread, watching the dough mixing for many minutes in the machine, checking the temperature, crossing the fingers for a windowpane pass, beating a little more.... everything seems ok, but it is not as good as other French style breads I've made following recipes here, that call for the folding method.


My question for the experts - can ANY recipe with a reasonably high content of water work by folding? What I am considering is repeating the French Bread, with the EXACT same recipe, but just changing from kneading to folding, just to satisfy my curiosity about the method.


if I do that, should I allow the dough to rest for, say,,,, 20 minutes, then fold it twice, maybe 45 minutes apart,  then shape?


if there are threads here comparing a given recipe with different methods of kneading, feel free to point me in that direction... if not, any advice, suggestion, input is more than appreciated!


Thank you!

Paddyscake's picture

fold it....I use the mixer to incorporate the ingredients, mixing maybe 4-5 minutes. I feel that everything is more evenly distributed than I can do by hand. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes and fold 2 or 3 times at 30 minute intervals or until you get the feel you want.


dmsnyder's picture

Like Betty, I find myself using one or another version of stretch & fold (in the bowl or on the bench) on more and more types of bread. For drier doughs, doughs with enrichments or with soakers, I still prefer mechanical mixing, as Betty describes.

I have yet to mix a really gloppy dough (think ciabatta) entirely by hand, but it doesn't scare me anymore to think about it.


rainwater's picture

I can't even knead bread normally anymore.  I always use Boubasa's schedule for folding.  .....I mix the dough on the table with my hands thoroughly,  I slam, stretch, and fold about 10 times...then I place in bowl and cover.  Then I stretch and fold three times at 20 minute intervals and put in refrigerator....this is for doughs of about 75% hydration or less.  For very wet doughs, I have a special slam and stretch technique that is hard to explain, but it brings the dough together....a machine could probably do this, but I have to feel the dough with my hands. 

SallyBR's picture

Rainwater, a question for you...


you do this method for all kinds of bread, including those with whole wheat in the mix? What about breads containing nuts, fruits, or other "bits" in the dough? Would you add those before the first fold or only after the last?


I know the method you are talking about of slamming and stretching, I think it was posted here in a youtube, it is very efficient and not too difficult to do, although the first few times it seems quite strange  :-)


I think I'll do the next bread in the challenge (Italian Bread) using folding instead of kneading - it is quite similar to the French bread.