The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stretch and fold

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crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Stretch and fold

Hello All

I my attempt to nail down the fine details of bread baking I may have been missing I have a few questions.

I have been streching and folding my doughs since I read Hammelmans book.  It is hard to believe the changes that 3 folds can impart on dough.  My question is how far do you all stretch the dough during this process?  The first fold is always pretty sloppy and easy to stretch compaired to the last few folds.

My second question regards the timing of the folds.  Hammelman does not like to let his doughs set longer than an hour without folding.  He suggests spacing the folds out evenly over the course of the primary ferment.  Others fold every 20 mins. or so and after 3 or 4 folds let rise untouched until double.  What seems to work best for you and yeilds the best crumb?

My third and final question is about the fermentation times.  What in your opinions makes for better bread, a long primary fermentation with folds and a short final rise.  A short primary with folds and a long perhaps overnight fermentation.  Or does it really matter how the time is divided as long as the time for complete fermentation is allowed?

Thanks in advance

Da Crumb Bum