The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Not experienced enough to know the difference

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

Not experienced enough to know the difference

but been reading long enough to wonder:

What is the difference between stretch-and-folds in the bowl and on the bench? Trevor says in one of his blog posts that on-bench s&f changes the consistency of the dough, without going into specifics. My dough handling is still too clumsy for me to see a difference.

How about you all?

And sort of along the same lines, am I correct in understanding that French folds are the same as slap and folds? And that people would choose between these and the Rubaud method as a means of handling wet dough?

Thanks for all the enlightenment.

Carole

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Is that high hydration dough is difficult to handle and therefore to knead. So stretch and folds or slap and folds is a good way to develop gluten. 

They also help aerate the dough. 

I've recently heard that the "old fashioned" kneading may not be so good for the gluten. For reasons I've yet to look into to but I'm sure someone here can explain. 

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

I also get the impression that there's a progression: that slap and fold (or Rubaud) gets used first, in the case of really wet dough, and that as the dough firms up one moves on to stretch and folds.

But is there a difference between stretch and folds in the bowl vs on the bench (aside from less cleanup)?

Trevor demonstrates the Rubaud method and says that it's gentler on the dough than kneading, or indeed, gentler than slap and fold.

Just wonderin'

love's picture
love

To take the dough out of the bin to fold it will cause more damage than just folding it in the bin, because you're manipulating it a lot more. 

More importantly Trevor I believe is referring to the fact that you have to flour the counter to fold on the counter, so you're flouring every time you fold. Which changes dough structure for sure.

TBH I dunno why anyone would want to turn out their dough for folding anyway. Way too much work to be worthwhile unless you're doing like 50kg of dough.

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I would never comment negatively on anything that Trevor writes or demonstrates - he is an A-Class baker and contributor who imparts his "zen-like" character into his demos.  And we've collectively been far better off with his participation on TFL than without.  

However there is more than one way to do something right (and more than one way to do something wrong too).  And so I'm going to parry what your opinion is of letter folds / stretch and folds.

In this 93-second short [self-promotional :-(  ] video, the dough here is at 75% hydration.  I will leave up to you to see how much flour is used and whether the dough suffers from manipulation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAa1WDE15Ig

alan

 

 

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

and completely reinforces what I mentioned below, about having two free hands. I've never gotten that kind of stretch, but then again, I've never attempted 75% hydration before. So my on-bench S&Fs were much smaller, which led me to think that there isn't any difference betwttn in-bowl and on-banch.

Your video answers that question, thanks alot.

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

I'm just curious to learn as much as I can for the weekly loaf or two, and in so doing often run into divergent/conflicting information and am merely trying to keep it all straight.

On the couple of occasions that I've tried stretch and fold on the bench, I didn't use extra flour; rather, lightly misted my hands and the bench and carefully turned the dough out. When doing S&F in the bowl, I also mist my hand, as per Trevor's tip.

The one big advantage for me is that I then have both hands to (gently) manipulate the dough, rather than committing one hand/arm to holding onto the bowl.

Thanks for your feedback.

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

that we can mostly all agree on.  Yikes!

  1. French Fold is another term for slap and fold
  2. Letter Fold is another term for stretch and fold.

Never the twain shall meet.  FFs are performed during the development of the gluten web in the mixing phase.  LFs are done periodically during the bulk rise to promote improved distribution of the gluten strands and to "punch down" and redistribute the gasses formed by those little belching yeast cells.  

As a wise TFL contributor recently said (something like) "Yeasts cells do not have flagella and cannot move to where the food is.  The food must come to them".

As far as handling wet dough - let's assume that we are in the low to mid or even upper 70's of hydration to qualify as "wet dough" - no, I don't agree on your last point.  I do all of my mixing (with very few exceptions) using French Folds on the workbench - and with neither additional flour nor water.  

Is the Rubaud method a good one for mixing dough - it surely is, with ample proof positive out there.  However, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

alan

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

for clearing that up. My confusion came from reading recipes that clearly instruct "do X slap and folds, rest Y minutes, follow with Z stretch and folds every XX minutes". So that's clear enough.

But then there would be other recipes that run along the lines of "mix dough, follow with slap and fold or stretch and fold". Which made it sound like the two were interchangeable.

I've seen videos of the slap and fold method and am not sure if I could ever fully adopt it. If Rubaud does the job, then that's probably the option I'll take.

So, in the progression of dough, it would be:

  • slap and fold/Rubaud (in the case of wet dough)
  • stretch and fold/letter fold (in place of kneading)
  • tension fold (something else I stumbled upon while reading, done after stretch and fold, before the preshape, if the dough is still lacking in tension/structure)
  • Right?

Thanks again for the clear answers.

Carole

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Carole, you're almost there, based on the language that I laid out above.

But I read your word "kneading" for letter folds as something that would occur in the bulk rise phase.  Most folks would categorize kneading as an action that takes place during the initial (post autolyse) mix.  Again, a demonstration of how our little world of baking is rife with inconsistent definitions.   However, if you are clear on how you define these to yourself, that is really what is important in your understanding and ability.  And to be able to, as I have, convey it to the next person if needed.

What's behind door #3 - Once the bulk rise has completed, which means that the letter folds have also ceased to be a step in the process, we are on to the pre-shaping and shaping steps.  Some refer to the shaping activity as applying tension folds during the shaping.  From where I sit, the tension folds are designed to make taut the skin of the dough (without tearing it!).  

This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of completing final shaping.  The old trick of trying to not tear or deflate the dough as you create further tension across the surface of the skin of the dough.  Or as one puts it - applying "a velvet glove with an iron  hand".  That tension is accomplished by "dragging" the dough across the work surface and letting the surface tighten the skin while you assist with the action.  How so?, you may ask. Aye, there's there rub!  "Simply" observe a few of the pros do it.  

Here's a starter kit:

One point is that these gents are dealing very "poofy" dough, which has not been retarded, and so they are deflating the dough at shaping time in a manner which is more forceful than many of us who retard the dough here would do.

alan 

HansB's picture
HansB

All excellent advice Alan. The key is that there are SO many different ways to do things that and end up with good results. I think the best way is to try many different ways, then do it the way that works best for you.

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

Thanks so much, Alan, for all the clarification. Once again, I've been tripped up by language. Below are videos that show what I thought was meant by "tension folds".

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdS5cebHj3w/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdDixGYHdU4/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

In the KAF videos that you share, is that process of "skidding" the shaped dough across the work surface also called "cloaking", and what you're calling "tension folds"?

You can decide to stop answering, you know!

Carole

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I suppose that in these instances - Trevor's videos, his tension folds completely equate to what I do as bench-top letter folds.  I also see the error of my ways.  A while back someone was referring to creating surface tension, so I have likely mistaken the two similar terms.  Carry on!

I've never heard of cloaking - which means nothing to me since there is way more that I've never heard of than have heard of.  I really never had a name for the type of "skidding" until someone came up with the aforementioned surface tension.

And yes, in the video that starts with Martin Phillip shaping batards, that action of using his thumbs and then his pinkies spread across the length of the dough to push away and then pull the dough toward himself is what I was referring to, regardless of the appropriate name.  It is an excellent way to treat the dough with respect and still tighten up the skin without any further deflation.

alan

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

He uses the term "piggyback fold" and it took some reading, either in that post or elsewhere, to figure out that those were in-bowl stretch and folds (I'm trying to be careful to not just toss off "S&F", since it could be either a slap or a stretch)!

BTW, my original musing was prompted by a comment he'd made about the stretch and folds being done on the bench that changed the consistency of the dough. Given that we are agreed about not using extra flour, but just a minimal amout of water, do you see/notice a difference between in-bowl and on-bench? Or am I tying myself in knots for nothing?

And that Martin Philiip move is where I get hung up and turn into 10 thumbs, all at cross-purposes. I feel like I'm degassing and not tightening.

Thanks,

Carole