The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bench rest

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

Bench rest

I'm so impatient to see pretty smooth gluten development.  With stretch and folds, how long do you bench rest between folds?  I confess to folding every 30 minutes or so because I just can't wait.  But it's really just barely long enough for a fold to have noticeable effect on gluten.  A loaf retarded overnight has wonderful extensibility (8 hours' rest) but of course that's not practical for every single fold.

What's the fastest, least effortful, most efficient length of bench rest between folds?  What's the shortest rest you'd employ for maximum extensibility?

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

But the effect on gluten structure should be noticeable immediately as you stretch the dough. The bench rest is there so that the gluten structure's elasticity can give a little before being stretched again, preventing over-tightening from causing tearing.

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

It is.  I guess I mean that I usually tear it to some degree if I only wait 30 minutes.  How long would you bench rest a given hydration dough (eg 65%) made with all purpose flour?  Eg how long do you rest yours?

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

...so I don't know anything about its characteristics and what I do wouldn't work for you. You'll have to wait for an AP user to come along and answer that one, I'm afraid.

In the meantime, I think that you can safely assume that your bench rest should be longer than 30 minutes! ;-)

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Is somewhere in-between our plain flour (or cake flour) and bread flour. So while our plain flour is not strong enough to use for bread (alone) AP flour is. 

 

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

.

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

Oops, I guess I should clarify that what I use is properly termed "Plain flour" rather than all-purpose.  I'm not sure if it's even equivalent to all-purpose flour the way it is in the States.  I live in New Zealand and I use either an Australian (Progressive) or a New Zealand (Pam's) brand.  On our shelves, for most brands, there is plain flour, high grade and self-raising to choose from, so I assume not high grade and not self raising means plain.

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

...why you're tearing the gluten. There's very little of it. You'd find it easier working with a flour with a higher protein content which will develop a better gluten structure.

It looks like you need the 'high grade' flour: http://www.bakeinfo.co.nz/School-Zone/Baking-Basics/Flour-Types

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

I doubt that there's very little of it, I've been using the same brand(s) of "plain flour" for the last few years and almost always been able to develop a very strong gluten network eventually.  I have tried the high grade flour too and I do notice it develops gluten faster, but I guess I'm more interested in developing my technique than getting the specific results.  I'd like to really push the boundaries on impatience and laziness!

I know I could probably just do some slap and folds or old fashioned kneading to get it faster.  That breaks the gluten, and isn't a 'lazy' option in the sense of "fold and ignore" - but it also develops it faster too.

dobie's picture
dobie

ccsdg

Please don't mistake me for an expert because I am not. But I do feel pretty confident in constructing basic white or country white doughs made from AP or Bread flours.

I think you and Jon are absolutely right regarding flour type and hydration affecting the quotient. I have seen recipes call for as little as 15-20 minutes between stretch and folds and as much as an hour between.

Personally, before the first one, I usually give it about 45 minutes. After that, I check back in about 30 minutes later and so on. I always try to remember to let the dough tell me when it's ready for the next one. You want it to become slack between S&F's. The last thing you want to do is tear it up, which I'm sure you know.

I think common sense along those lines will guide you well. And you know it's done when it just doesn't want to 'slack' down anymore. That has just been my experience and opinion with some success, but again, I'm not an expert.

As many have said before, the clock doesn't tell you, the dough does. There are so many contributing factors that can change on a daily basis.

Have patience.

dobie

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

Yes, I have also seen recipes calling for anywhere ranging from 15 to 45 minutes, but I guess I would do well to remember to watch the dough rather than the clock.  However your comment about 45 then 30 minutes reminds me: is there a pattern during the development of the dough?  Might there be a pattern of dough generally (regardless of protein content and hydration) being faster to get slack when there is more gluten development (or the reverse, possibly)?

Oh, and I'm also reminded... what part do extensibility and elasticity play in bench rest, and could that inform the optimal length of time?

dobie's picture
dobie

ccsdg

You might be talking to the wrong guy here, but I will give you what I've got.

My comment re: 45, then 30 minutes, is just a guide line that works for me, with certain doughs, at certain times. It's not a hard and fast rule.

But you might be right. A more agressive approach might get it done quicker, in fact, might get it done better. Yet, if the dough is not slack, you're gonna tear it up during S&Fold's for sure, and I don't think that would be a good thing.

And yes, I think you are right. Forget the clock (as best as you can, given the moment) and feel the dough, let it tell you when it's ready.

To repeat myself, (as fair warning), I am no expert, but this is how I have come to know it, for better or worse.

Try to find what works for you (in the circumstance), would be my advice. It's all about being flexible in that moment, I think.

I am searching for many things myself and am just offering you the best understanding that I have come to at this point in time.

dobie

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

In his book "how to make bread" does 4x stretch and folds (his special method) with 10 minutes rest in-between. So whole process takes 40min. 

His method is... Pinch the side of the dough, pull up and over and press down in the middle. Rotate the bowl slightly and repeat. Go round the dough till you feel it resisting (should take under a minute). Then cover and rest for 10 minutes. Repeat 4x then cover and rest for the remainder of the bulk fermentation. 

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

Hm, I imagine he is starting at that point with *some* gluten development though, rather than a scraggly mash of half-hydrated flour and water.  That sounds like the perfect lazy stretch and fold in the bowl.  I will look him up, thank you!

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

To add to what some other people have been saying it also depends on how you have mixed the dough.  at 65% hydration if you are doing an intermediate mix on the dough to where the gluten is somewhat but not fully developed and you are bulk fermenting for 2 hours you probably would only need one stretch and fold after an hour.  If you are doing a really light mix and your temperatures and fermentation are on track you might be folding every 30 minutes.  I believe there is somewhat of a relationship between the rate of fermentation and the rate the dough becomes slack. So as others have said you kind of need to listen to what the dough is telling you...

dobie's picture
dobie

FueledByCoffe

I agree. It is amazing what wet time and temperature can do for gluten development.

dobie

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

I should keep a closer eye on my mixing.  It varies depending what else I'm trying to do at the same time.  I totally agree on watching the dough...I just have a foolish habit of then ignoring what it's telling me :)