The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for a Stretch and Fold Recipe for Basic White

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

Looking for a Stretch and Fold Recipe for Basic White

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a good stretch and fold recipe for a basic white bread, and I wondered if anyone had one they would like to share. I've never used the technique before, but after doing some research I am hoping it will be a way for me to get back to bread making during this extremely busy period of my life. I know the technique is often used for baguettes and french bread since they have such high hydration, but that is not what I want at all. I'm after more of a finer textured, slightly sweet (but not much) bread with a flaky and only semi-crispy crust. Nothing tough like a baguette.

Can stretch and fold produce a bread like this? Of course I'm willing to experiment, but being as it is my first time with the technique, does anyone have a recipe to get me started that is not a 95 % hydration baguette? (Exagerating, of course, but hopefully you know what I mean! :) )

Thanks!

 

 

aloomis's picture
aloomis

I've been making whole wheat sandwich loaves out of "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book," and I've found they all work well with stretch and fold.  If I want a slower rise, I reduce the yeast.  Otherwise, I just stretch and fold every 45 minutes or so throughtout the bulk ferment.  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/handbook/buttermilk-and-honey-wholewheat-sandwich-bread is an example.

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

I have to say that recipe is very vague--like most else I've found on the subject. I'm sure it makes perfect sense to someone who knows the technique, but since I've never done it before, I could use a bit more information. All it says about developing the dough is:

Stretch and fold: After the final stretch and fold is finished, give it 2 hours at room temperature.

But when is the "final" stretch and fold? How many are there total? You said 45 minutes in between, but is it 2, 3, or six times? Is this standard information that is typically omitted?

Thanks.

aloomis's picture
aloomis

I generally warm the liquuids when making this.  It needs about 1.5 hours for the first rise (in my 95 degree oven!) and 45 minutes for the later ones. I mix the ingredients and let it sit 10-15 min.  At that point, the dough will be much more cooperative (less sticky).  Then, I stretch and fold every 30-45 minutes throughout the first 2.5 hours (taking the place of the 1st and 2nd rise).  Shape, proof, and bake.  

I think you aren't seeing more detailed instructions, because in practice I do it differently every time.  It depends on my schedule.  Lately, I mix everything cold, and with slightly less yeast.  After a few S&Fs I throw it in the fridge.  It'll need at least one more S&F in there.  I make 3 loaves at a time, so it takes a long time to cool down.  I put it on the counter before going to bed.  In the morning, it goes in the 95 deg oven to warm, shape, proof, and bake.  
 

There's a lot of room for variation.  Timing is highly dependent on temperature.  Room temperature in my house can vary from about 65-85 deg.  

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

That is very helpful. I think I'll try it this evening. I appreciate it!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think you need to understand that stretch & fold is method for improving gluten matrix in wet doughs, a way of getting more shape from a blob of dough not a recipe by itself.   I think you mean to ask that you want to incorporate the stretch and fold method into a basic white bread recipe.  How would you go about doing that?   You could ask the site search machine: When to stop stretch and folding the dough?  and   how many stretch and folds are needed? and which doughs can I stretch and fold?  or just   Stretch and fold method.  

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19912/kneading-or-stretch-fold-or-both

First, you might want to raise the hydration of your favorite basic recipe 5% to 10% so that you can stretch the dough more easily.  Then play around to see how many rounds of stretch & folds you need to get the dough to preform as it did at the lower hydration.

Kalid (Mebake) has drawings on his blog: 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22990/illustration-stretch-and-fold-bowl

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

Obviously stretch and fold is not a recipe; it is a technique. But there are established recipes that include the stretch and fold technique, which, by the rules of English syntax, can be referred to as "stretch and fold recipes." Since again, I have never used the the technique before, I was just hoping to find a recipe (and I know what that is) which already has the method incorporated before I go trying to adapt one on my own. I have found several such recipes for hard, tough breads, and I was wondering if anyone wanted to share one for a softer white. That's it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Then mix up your dough differently.  Add the dry ingredients slowly to the liquids whisking to blend smooth before adding more flour.  Start out with half the flour and take your time with a whisk blending about 10 minutes in the same direction before adding the rest of the flour.  This will help you achieve a fine crumb.  

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

If you already have a good white bread recipe you like, consider that stretch and fold is just a replacement for kneading & proofing.  So, after you mix your ingredients until there is no loose flour in the bowl (like mixing for a biscuit -- you'll still have lumps), don't knead.  Instead, cover the bowl and let sit 45 minutes.  Then fold let sit another 45 --usually 3 times.  Then gently shape, let proof while the oven heats up.  Cook as usual.

To fold, flop the dough out on an oiled counter and stretch into a rectangle about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  At the first fold (after the first 45 minutes), you may need to squeeze any little lumps of flour that aren't yet moist.  Fold the rectangle in thirds like you would a piece of paper to put in a business envelope.  Turn 90 degrees and fold again in thirds the other way.  Plop this back in the bowl, cover, and wait another 45 minutes.  Each subsequent time, the dough will be stronger and by the third time you probably would have trouble getting it to as big a rectangle.  This is what you want the dough to be doing.

Mike's videos at http://www.sourdoughhome.com/stretchandfold.html, where he uses the method on his sourdough bread are what sold me on the method.

There are lots of variations out there.  Some combine stretch & fold with kneading,  some do more stretches and folds at shorter intervals, etc.  It's more art than science.  Three 45 minute cycles is my usual.  If the kitchen is colder or if the liquid in the dough is cold, I go 50 minutes.  If I'm in a hurry, I do a little kneading at the beginning to give the gluten a head start and only do 2 cycles.  Whatever.  Rye doesn't develop gluten so I don't stretch a heavily rye bread as often.  You get the picture.  It varies.

So, choose your favorite recipe and resist the urge to knead.  That's all the variation you really need.

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Your post is by far the best, clearest Stretch and Fold tutorial I've seen anywhere on the internet. Prime candidate for an entry in the FAQ for the Post Bread Kneading Era.

-Tom (who's still trying to "get the idea" of dough strength development in the Post Bread Kneading Era

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

Muchas gracias, Toad.  I really didn't get dough strength until I tried S&F wherein the dough just shows itself getting stronger at each interval.

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

Wow, Heidi, you're an angel. I had a hard time finding clear instructions for this and honestly just didn't have the time to try to figure it out almost from scratch by trial and error. That is why I was after an established recipe--just so I could see how it worked before putting it to use in my old favorites.

Now, I won't even need that. Ill get a loaf started with this method tonight. I really appeciate your help!

aloomis's picture
aloomis

You said it much better than I could.

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

Here's a link to someplace I posted a hard rolls recipe with pictures for the stretch & fold: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/bread/other-bread/heavenly-hard-rolls.html

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

This is a weird coincidence. After checking out that hard roll recipe on the other site, HeidiH, I just happened to see some of your other recipes that are posted there. And believe it or not, I was just looking at your Best Sirloin Tips recipe last week, when I did a google search to see if I could find something new to do with a sirloin tip roast. I read the whole thing then, and considered giving it a try.

My, what a small cyberworld we live in!

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

As my father always said, "Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows the Pope.  And you can't get away with anything!"

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

You can say that again!

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

Those rolls do look lovely. I used to get something similar when I lived in Chicago a few years ago. Here in Florida, though, they are nowhere to be found. I may have to make those today!