The Fresh Loaf

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Another Stretch and Fold Technique post

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dvuong's picture
dvuong

Another Stretch and Fold Technique post

I decided to try PR's Pain a l'ancienne recipe from ABED last night.  I noticed in this book that he introduced the S&F technique (I'm not sure if it was introduced in any of his other books).  From reading the forums, many of you suggest S&F at least 20 minute intervals but in PR's book, he suggests 10 minute intervals.  Is there any logic behind this?  It would be great if I could S&F all doughs at 10 minutes since it would save a lot of time.


I apologize if this question has been asked before - I am very new to bread baking!  I've searched the forum and couldn't find an exact answer to my question.  Also, would S&F work on all types of doughs or would hand kneading be a superior method for some?  In the past, I kneaded in my mixer but have now switched to hand manipulating my doughs.  I find it much more satisfying and therapeutic!


TIA!!

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

The resting time is mostly to let the dough relax so that it will yield under the subsequent stretch and fold.  I think that 10 minutes would be an absolute minimum.  I tend to use an interval of 30-50 minutes.


Jeff

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The stretch and fold technique has several functions with somewhat different implications for timing.


S&F helps develop dough strength (gluten elasticity). For this, you need to rest the dough long enough for the gluten to relax, as Jeff said. If it isn't relaxed, the dough will tear, which defeats your purpose. So, watch the dough, not the clock. 


S&F redistributes the oxygen and un-fermented sugar in the dough. The dough should rest long enough to create an imbalance that requires your intervention. Some (Hamelman, I think) says any dough benefits from this at 60 minute intervals or shorter.


S&F redstributes heat in the dough. As the dough sits, the outer surfaces become cooler than the interior. Fermentation goes faster at higher temperatures. So S&F results in more uniform fermentation.


Note that the 2nd and 3rd functions are much more significant with larger masses of dough than generally mixed by the home baker.


In any case, 10 minutes is certainly on the short side of ideal. There are some doughs I S&F every 20 minutes with good results. This is a dough at about 72% hydration. Higher hydration doughs tend to be slacker and can be stretched more often, it seems to me.


Thinking you can S&F more often to speed up your production may be true if your only goal is gluten development. However, most of us take into account the virtues of longer fermentation for flavor development.


Hope this clarifies rather than confuses.


David

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

as I've been doing S&F every 10/15 mins, because I'm just plain impatient and also worried that the dough may start to ferment if I leave it to wait to long in between folds.  So instead of doing 3 or 4 folds within the hr as advised in ABED (I think PR says to complete the S&Fs within 40 mins)  I end up doing more S&F than recommended which could be detrimental to the gluten formation of the dough. 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

"...and also worried that the dough may start to ferment"


 


Fermenting is exactly what you want to have happen.


Jeff

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

ahh, I was under the impression that I shouldn't let it start to ferment before the s&f was done and if I leave it for too long between folds I'd only be disturbing the dough if it started to rise.  Now I know better.  Thanks.

dvuong's picture
dvuong

I like to leave my dough in the fridge overnight when possible for cold fermentation.  Would doing S&F at longer intervals cause the dough to overferment by the time it gets into the fridge?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I assume you are still talking about the pain à l'anciènne. I have not made this version, so I'm not sure. You might try it to see.


With a yeasted bread, you could compensate by either reducing the amount of yeast or using colder water to mix the dough. Either will slow down the fermentation.


David

dvuong's picture
dvuong

Hi David,


I baked my Pain a l'ancienne last night following PR's directions to a T.  They came out wonderfully, except I could have done better with the shaping.  :)  The texture of the crumb was fantastic but I felt that the flavor was a bit mild and perhaps slightly bland. Regardless, I was told that this was the best loaf of bread I've made so far. I'll post up pictures soon.


I was referring to breads in a general sense, whether they be SD, enriched, or lean. I am making a Lemon and Rosemary SD loaf tonight with a hydration of 71%.  I plan on S&Fing so I wanna make sure I'm getting all the details correct.


 


 

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

As a huge fan of the stretch and fold method, I just want to add that Peter Reinhart was not the first person who came up with this method.

Maybe it's not a big deal, but let's say it's a pet peeve of mine... ;-)

dvuong's picture
dvuong

Hi Sally,


Yes, I'm very well aware that PR was not the first to come up with this technique.  I just reference him a lot because his books are the main ones that I refer to at the moment.  I also have Hamelman's and a few other books but I haven't gotten around to reading all of them yet.

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Ok...


 


as I said, it's just a pet peeve of mine - Hamelman and Dan Lepard have been seriously advoating minimal kneading for a long time, and I always like to give them credit- maybe there are others even earlier, and if anyone knows about them, I would love to hear


 


 

charbono's picture
charbono

Reinhart doesn't mention stretch-and-fold in his Whole Grain Breads, which I consider one of the flaws.


 

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

'xactly!   in many of his books there's nothing about stretch and fold, so I get my feathers all ruffled up when I hear the method associated with his name...


 


:-)

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I don't have all PR's books but it is demonstrated in his Artisan Bread Everyday book where I recently learnt to make my sesame rye loaf using this method but I used it on another recipe that I had used before using the traditonal push and roll kneading method.