The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How often to turn/fold dough?

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Breadhead's picture
Breadhead

How often to turn/fold dough?

Hi! I was wondering if someone could shed some light on folding the dough. I know the objective of doing so is to develop gluten. I noticed while baking the Tartine Basic Country Loaf that the dough is folded every half hour during the 3 hour bulk fermentation. I am currently baking Hamelmans Vermont Sourdough with WW and I see the dough is folded only twice during the 2.5 hour fermentation. It didn't seem that my Tartine loaf was over-developed, I actually thought it came out great. Should I be folding this current loaf more frequently? I know the recipes are different, but not radically so, so I would presume that the number of folds would be pretty close.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you think it needs more folds, then add some (as long as the dough doesn't start to tear apart) if you don't need them, don't fold as much.  Slight variations in hydration will let you know and your experience.  Once you differ from the recipe, write it down or make a note on the recipe.  Be sure to note the temp and time of year (humidity reference) for any future baking with the recipe.  I would even add my location (as it is often changing) and date.  

My rule of thumb is, if I can fold it without tearing, I fold it again before resting and shaping.  The time gap between folds will naturally shorten as fermentation progresses.