The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Suggestions for a Dough for Learning Slap and Fold?

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Suggestions for a Dough for Learning Slap and Fold?

After watching some videos regarding the slap-and-fold technique for mixing dough, I have an urge to try it.  Rather than picking a recipe that might be a challenge, however, I would prefer a dough that will be a good one for someone simply to learn the slap-and-fold technique.

In particular, what hydration is a good place to start?  Is there a type of flour that would be better?  And if someone can suggest a recipe that has a nice flour and hydration combo for a beginner with slap-and-fold, that would be great.

Thanks in advance.

Ted

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

your choice if all white or you add some other flour eg whole wheat or rye.  Nominal hydration is 71% hydration I believe if you use a 100% hydration levain.

All use the slap and fold method all the time, it works well for me.  I do 100 slap and folds, add the salt then do another 100 x150, just whatever 5he dough needs and I can handle.  I find it gives good dough development. 

Good luck.  others will probably have other suggestions too.

Leslie

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

other suggestions and I see my typos! sorry. the 2nd set of slap and folds should read 100 - 150!  

have you had a go at this method yet?

Leslie

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Leslie, thanks for your (one and only) reply.  I also hoped for some suggestions from others and thought that this topic might have general appeal.  Apparently not.

Sometime next week I might try the slap-and-fold.  The 1-2-3 recipe is essentially a no-knead bread, so I thought that something that had some stretch-and-folds periodically might allow me to gauge the initial effect of slap-and-fold a bit better.  After some further searching I concluded that Maurizio's 50-50 whole wheat might be a good one to try.

I am also thinking of doing a little of my usual initial mixing before pulling the lump of dough out of the tub and putting it on the counter for my foray into slap-and-fold.  That will at least mean some dough that has a little cohesiveness before I start finding out how much dough might fly around during slap-and-fold.

Thanks again for your response, which I appreciate.

Happy baking.

Ted

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Aw Ted, you’re making me feel bad. 

I monitor the forum fairly closely, but somehow this one got by me. Thank God for Leslie.

From my experience, slap and fold can be used on any dough that is extensible (wet, loose) enough to handle the stretching action that the dough is subjected to. I’ve had success using slap and folds (also called “french folds”) after machine mixing, stretch and folds and anything else I’ve thrown at it.
The great things about stretch and folds are

  • you are unable to over oxidize the dough
  • you can feel the dough in your hands and see with your eyes as it starts to come together
  • unless you have super human strength, you will not be able to over do it

A word of caution. It is super common that in the early stage of slap & folds to see and feel the dough break down and become extremely slack. Not sure what is happening, but it always takes place in my experience. This is normal and to be expected. Keep on and in short order to will see and feel the dough strengthening again.

I made a video a while back that may provide some visual help. It deals with a dough that was super over hydrated by mistake (my bad). https://youtu.be/euPwDmgF5lQ Alfanso also has a nice video on YouTube portraying slap & fold that deals with a healthy and properly hydrated dough.

HTH
Danny

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I just do slap and fold with just about every dough. autolyse maybe an hour, too long and my flour doesn’t like it.  I have done SLAF with 80% hydration white flour dough and even though it is a sloppy mix to start it really comes together.  For me SLAF has made a huge difference. I agree with Danny the dough does seem to come apart but then comes right.  Adding salt later makes a difference too, you can see its effect. 

Look forward to your 50:50 Maurizio loaf. happy SLAF!

I usually do 3-4 coil folds as well during early bulk fermentation,

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Leslie, I really like your idea of adding salt after the first set of slap & folds are complete. Especially if the dough is a little bit on the stiff side. The salt will tighten the dough noticeably once the salt is added.

But it seems with a slack dough that salt should be a benefit if added before any slap & folds are started.

What do you think.

Danny

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

but I like seeing the effect it has on the dough when added later.  I will often add a little water at the same time , so in effect doing a small scale lamination.  

Leslie

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Leslie, when you add the salt (and perhaps some water) later I am assuming that you first return the dough to some container for a bit of mixing in of the salt (and absorption of any water) before continuing with the slap-and-fold session on the counter.  Is this correct?

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I just stretch the dough out into a rectangle, sprinkle the salt over with a little water  and with my hands spread it around and fold/roll up the dough again and continue with he slap and folds.   It incorporates very well with no drama.  I only use a very small amount of water though.  I have read where others do a short rest period before adding the salt but I don’t.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do it, this is just my version and it ensures I don’t forget the salt!  

I also incorporate the levain in much the same way - stretch out autolysed dough, spread levain over, dimple in, fold and roll it up and start your slap and folds. I find it less messy than mixing the levain in first.  the number of slap and folds can be just what ever you want, in total I normally do 200 - 250. I don’t make big quantities of dough so that might make a difference.  Just play around and do what works best for you.  I found the difference in dough strength amazing and dough is also much easier to work with later.

Look forward to hearing about your experience.

Leslie

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Leslie and Danny, things went well.  Today I baked the Fifty-Fifty Sourdough Whole Wheat from Maurizio's Perfect Loaf site after mixing everything yesterday and then proofing overnight in the refrigerator.  The slap-and-fold went pretty much as expected, although with less mess than I had feared (I had thoughts of my wife coming home to find dough bits everywhere and wonder what in the world happened).

Now I need to use this technique on a dough that I have baked before so that I can see whether the shiny almost polished surface that I see in some videos can be achieved.  Something along the lines of what my ciabatta dough looks like when I have mixed with the dough hook in my KitchenAid mixer.

Anyway, the slap-and-fold does work well, including no need to worry much about adding a bit of water (spread the dough somewhat flat and poured the added water into a depression and then slowly squeezed until the water was absorbed).  The slapping is neat after the dough comes together, and it is surprising how much force can be applied against the counter.  I did not count at the beginning, so I have no idea how many I did, but I do know that at some point I decided to count and had a hundred done in a relatively short period.  That was near the end of the process.

Thanks for your suggestions and encouragement.  Happy baking.

Ted

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ted, “ Anyway, the slap-and-fold does work well, including no need to worry much about adding a bit of water (spread the dough somewhat flat and poured the added water into a depression and then slowly squeezed until the water was absorbed).”

If extra water is needed, let’s say you hold out 30g - this works for me. 30g water is placed in a bowl. During the slap & folds if the dough needs more water my hands are dipped in the bowl. Whenever additional water is needed it is removed from the bowl. Once the folding is complete the weight of the remaining water is measured and subtracted from the original 30g. This way the exact hydration is known for future reference.

Wetter does can get messy. In that case it is better to throw to dough downward instead of out and down.

Isn’t Slap & Fold a blast?

Danny

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

and found it a lot less of a drama than you thought it would be!  It was quitea light bulb moment for me the first time I made a dough like this, so look forward to your next bake and hopefully some photos.  Well done!

Leslie

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Leslie and Danny, no need to trouble others with these photos.  You are in this thread and the audience for my adventure.  I baked Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain and used slap-and-fold for the initial mixing.

After the autolyze I added the salt and held-back water and then dumped the dough onto the counter after the water was absorbed.  I then did 180 slap-and-folds, which seemed to be enough.  The dough certainly does develop gluten and strength quickly via that procedure.  I also liked the look of the dough at the end of the bulk fermentation.

Here is a composite photo of the dough just onto the counter, after the slap-and-folds, and at the end of the bulk fermentation.

This bread is a great one, which I have made several times.  Here are photos of the crust and crumb from one of the two loaves from this batch.

This bread is about 65% hydration.  Next I think I will go with something from FWSY or perhaps a Tartine bread.  Something with a hydration in the 75-78% range.

Slap-and-fold is neat.  Thanks for your encouragement.

Happy baking.

Ted

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

for a long time, will have to try again, it is a good one, and I think my first or 2nd successful SD bake! 

Your photos show how the dough developed, it is really quite amazing to see it happen.  Really good crumb too.

Well done, look forward to the next one. 

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Your bread is excellent in every aspect. 65% hydration and gorgeous...

For me, giant holes and sloppy wet dough is overkill for most breads. I love looking at extreme open crumb and consider it an art form, but not so much for eating.

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Danny and Leslie (and anyone else interested), yesterday I made Field Blend #2 from FWSY.  Forkish lists this as 78% hydration, and that along with the presence of whole rye and whole wheat flour gave me another type of dough on which to use slap-and-fold.

We have a granite counter, and the stickiness of this dough made more of it adhere to the surface at times during the slap-and-fold.  The dough did break down a bit and then come together and then break down and come together.  It seemed that upping the tempo actually helped the dough hold together better than if I went somewhat slowly.

The process worked, but I am not sure whether it produced any better gluten development than with my normal method (a combination of Forkish's pincer and Trevor Wilson tugging).  Doing the slap-and-fold does build up some body heat (i.e., sweat), but I have been surprised that the process does not appear to impart much heat to the dough.  I always measure the temperature of the dough at the end of the initial mixing, and slap-and-fold temps have been a few degrees lower than with my normal method (taking into consideration water temp, flour temp, and ambient temp).

The bread went fine (I have made FB #2 over twenty times).  Not sure whether i could be called a convert to slap-and-fold.  It is a good method, but I am not ready to abandon my usual way of mixing (but I will also continue to use slap-and-fold).

Anyway, thanks again for your input.

Happy baking.

Ted

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

One more post, and that will be it for my report on slap-and-fold.

This morning I baked Overnight Country Brown, which is all-purpose and whole wheat flour.  In contrast to the preceding FWSY bake (Field Blend #2) for which I used slap-and-fold, this dough lacks whole rye flour.  I believe that made the dough hold together better during the slap-and-fold process.

After the autolyse and addition of salt and levain, I did a brief mixing in the Cambro tub just to combine the components.  Then I dumped the dough onto the counter and did 160 slap-and-folds.  The dough became stronger very quickly and definitely developed better structure much more quickly than with my usual method.

Here is a composite photo of the dough just dumped onto the counter, the dough after the 160 slap-and-folds, and the dough at the end of the bulk fermentation.

Both loaves were gifts, so I do not have a photo of the crumb, but here are the two loaves.

Shaping was easy and the dough had nice strength, elasticity, and extensibility.  This experience encourages me to continue using slap-and-folds.  Perhaps a ciabatta will be my next exploration.

Thanks for your interest and advice.

Happy baking.

Ted

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

will be interesting to see how ciabatta goes, I haven’t tried that yet.  I think slap and fold is only part of the process but I agree with your comments.

well done

Leslie