The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Just curious: Professional bakers and S&F

KatinaP's picture

Just curious: Professional bakers and S&F

I have a question to the professional bakers on this forum: Do you use stretch and folds when making bread? The videos and photos I've seen never include this element, so I was curious. If not, what do you do instead?

From reading other forum topics, it seems that bakers who sell at farmer's market do S&F but do those who have brick-and-mortar bakeries and are selling more than 60 loaves at a time do the same thing?



dabrownman's picture

baker?  Selling 60 loaves of bread for a brick and mortar is maybe $240 a day at $4 a loaf.  That's not much but 600 a day might work at a minimum  for a small bread bakery when your rent is $1 to $2 per SF per month in Phoenix - a very cheap place for retail leases.

60 loaves a day is about 100 pounds of raw dough.  For a tiny 1 person micro bakery working at home this is possible if you are young and in shape but even then most are going to use some kind of mixer.  8 minutes of mixing 25 pounds at a time and then letting it sit for a couple of hours - 4 times a day - sounds way better to most bakers.  The bread certainly isn't any different anyway - it is too stupid to know what happens in the first 8 minutes.

But I don't sell or deliver flour to pro bakers anymore either.  I know they are bigger and stronger now a days.

pmccool's picture

and I've seen videos of others so, even though I'm no pro, the answer is a qualified 'yes'.

The "qualified" is only in reference to the fact that each baker operates in a way that makes sense for their particular situation and products.  Therefore, not all use S&F but some certainly do.


alfanso's picture

Mr. Hamelman in his book Bread, which seems to be designed for the professional with a nod toward the home baker as well - he advocates one or two stretch and folds (letter folds) during the bulk rise.  Considering that tubs of dough for a bakery could weigh as much as 15-20 kilo each, it is no big deal to perform inside the tub.  Therefore, a single tub could contain a few dozen future loaves.

I doubt that many serious bakeries use the no-knead, no-touch methodology for all their breads.'s picture

This was in a shop window on the Pollet in Guernsey (Channel Islands) in 2014.  I doubt it's still there. Best part is the patiently expectant kitty at right.

andythebaker's picture

first, we mechanical mix the dough to about medium strength

then bulk ferment for about 3 hours (DDT 77F, 20% innoculation) with a s+f at 1st and 2nd hour, to both finish developing strength and redistribute yeasts/temperature during that time

this mirrors what's prescribed in hamelman's bread

bikeprof's picture

This^^^ - just like they teach at SFBI, and as listed in most formulas from Hammelman, Suas, and others...

dabrownman's picture

of dough a day without a mixer.  After the initial mix it is easy to S&F the much smaller tubs a couple of times.  The best if both worlds.

MichaelLily's picture

My method is derived from Tartine. I found early in my career that whether I did SF or not made no difference. So now we do not do SF, except immediately before dumping the bin in order to build up some strength to get it out of the bowl more easily.

andythebaker's picture

how long is your bulk?  i love learning about other people's methods.