The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How many stretch and folds are enough?

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Baker Frank's picture
Baker Frank

How many stretch and folds are enough?

When I first started baking I would follow recipe directions literally. Now that I have some experience under my belt I focus more on desired results rather than time or repetitions. Many bread recipes call for a specific number of stretch and folds. Sometimes I wonder if I should actually do more or less than the amount stated by the author. What characteristics should I be looking for in the dough that would tell me I need to do more or less than the amount stated in the recipe?

Thanks, Frank

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

a good gluten formation along with a nice full doubled in volume in my favorite basic sourdough.  The formula calls for one more stretch and folds that I don't find necessary.  I have consistant lovely crumb and crust with a full oven spring.  It's best to go by your own judgement on appearance and feel of your dough, proofing temperatures can speed things up so allow for any changes, I may do my S&F differently than you do..you might have to do an extra S&F sometimes...you are your own best judge in my opinion when it comes to S&F.    

Sylvia

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

then stop or risk too much.  Let the dough rest for 10-15 min and reshape before a final rise.

If you find the dough too limp and wet, add another set of S&F ending each set by returning the top of the dough back to it's "up" position and tucking under the corners to cover and rest for the next set.

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

A visiting friend and I had just this problem yesterday and probably should have stopped after two folds.  By the time we had done 3 S&F routines, the dough had tightened up such that we had to abandon our plans to roll it out for cinnamon swirl bread and just formed loaves that came out a bit wonky looking.