The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stretch and Fold Technique Clarification

rideold's picture

Stretch and Fold Technique Clarification

Don't know if I'm repeating something that has bee answered already so sorry if I missed it.

When using the stretch and fold (or french fold for that matter) is the intent to stretch and fold the dough without degassing?  Does it matter?  I'm talking about 100% WW and 50/50 WW and Rye breads here not white flour.  I'm pretty happy with how my breads have been coming out since I moved away from kneading but I'd like to understand what the intent is when handling dough during the stretch and fold process.

I know there isn't much rise as early on when the stratch and fold is going on but I've read that some people find a stretch and fold later on is helpful as well.  I'm not as concerned about this when I make a long fermenting dough but some weeks I use a large portion of leaven and if it is warmer in the kitchen I get quite a bit of rise by the 4th stretch and fold. 

Thanks, Sean 

TRK's picture

Yes, part of the point of the stretch and fold is to allow you to minimize degassing and have that nice open crumb.  Of course when I make sandwich bread, I do a thorough degassing before shaping to keep the tight crumb I want.

holds99's picture

TRK is right re: stretch and fold.  If you haven't read it you may want to take a look at Jeffrey Hamelman's book - Bread, A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes (page 15, Step Four: Folding) for a thorough explanation of the folding process.  Matter of fact pages 4-24 provide a thorough explanation of the entire process from Step 1: Scaling through Step 11 baking.  Bill Wraith has produced a video which demostates dough handling, which is excellent (below),

Short of attending a class or watching a video Hamelman's book is about as good as it gets.