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

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 might have to do an extra S&F are your own best judge in my opinion when it comes to S&F.    


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

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.