The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

French Fold Technique - Thoughts

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

French Fold Technique - Thoughts

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Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for collecting these videos.

I'm convinced. I've gotta give it a try.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Please delete.

holds99's picture
holds99

Thank you for sharing the videos and for your thoughts re: the folding technique.  I too am moving to more hand mixing, using  stretch and fold.  It seems to produce a much better end result.

Howard

Dave W's picture
Dave W

I have been following Richard Bertinets method for a while now, which is the same tecnique, lifting the dough and stretching it forward slapping in down, I then turn the dough 90degrees and do the same for approx 10mins or so        (my old favorite Chris Rea, has some good slapping music, one or two songs usually does it!).

Richards books Dough and Crust are well worth seeking out.

But we have so many good bakers to choose from, ive got my birthday list up and running already for new books!

Cheers

Dave W

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

is the 2nd hyperlink FP posted..just FYI

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I too have been reading RB's book and watching the DVD on his kneading technique over and over again.  It's fascinating to see a wet mass of dough turn into a soft, supple yet elastic dough just by using his method.  I've been practising his technique recently but  the dough doesn't seem to stick to the counter top when I slam it down and  try to pull it back to fold it forward.  Either my dough is not wet enough or could be because it's only 350 grms of flour which is a fairly small clump of dough to work with. I have already found distinct improvement in the texture of my dough using the s&f kneading method.

dcochran's picture
dcochran

i too stumbled across this technique somehow somewhere.  good bread making requires good music to complement the fold; great bread requires Bob Dylan. 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I've fairly new to bread making but would like to know if I can use this stretch and fold method for rye breads as I have found that the rye bread dough is also quite sticky and requires a lot of kneading.  Thanks..

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How much rye % are we talking about? 10% 20% 40% 50% or more?


Normally, the more rye to wheat in a dough, the less one needs to knead and the stickier it gets.  Kneading is hard on the delicate rye structure and with increased amounts tends to do more damage than good.  Also with amounts over 40% it becomes apparent to use a wet method of folding and shaping as opposed to dry handling with flour.  Start out with a firmer dough and as time and handling go on, the hydration or moisture in the dough increases.  That way the danger of adding too much flour is reduced.  Worth a try if you haven't done it and want to get your fingers into the dough without spending lots of time getting sticky dough off your hands.


The trick is to lightly oil your hands and the counter top and then wet your hands (in either a bowl of cool water or let the water trickle a small amount.  Splash just a little over the oiled counter top and plop out the dough using a wet scraper or spatula.  You will soon get the hang of it, wetting your hands just a little with water when needed.  Use too much, the dough separates into globs.  It is often easier to just fold the dough in the air wetting your hands alternately when needed to avoid sticking.  Wet any tools before using them to avoid sticking.  Return the dough to the bowl and let rest.


If the dough is predominately wheat and rye is under 35% then, stretch & fold or stretch &  slap away!  Within reason, but it will remain somewhat sticky, it's the nature of rye flour.   Even 10% will be noticable and render it "sticky."


Hope that helps.


Mini O

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

Hello Mini, I terrible with bakers' percentages and am only familiar with metric mesaurements since everything in HK is using the metric system.


The recipe uses 180 grm bread flour,  200 grams of plain flour and 120 grms light rye flour which oomes to a total of 500 grms.   5 grms IDY and 1 tsp salt.  Total water used 320 ml.  which is about 1 1/3 cups water (based on the conversion table I get on-line @ 240ml = 1 cup).  I don't really know if this proportion of flour is right, it's a recipe from the baking class and may not be the perfect recipe but just a basic formula to introduce us to the use of rye flour.  We were asked to knead using the normal push and roll and then form into a taut ball  and let it rise till double.  When the time came to knock down the dough, we we asked to press into a rectangle and then do a letter fold and then shape. I didn't like what I made, I found it rather bland and dense but this could have been my kneading that's at fault.  Now that I've had more practice with the s&f & letter fold, I find thatI can get a better feel for the dough and it's elasticity, resulting in a better texture of the dough, all thanks to TFL.  I'd really appreciate it if you or perhaps some knowledgeable TFLers  can suggest a better mixture of rye vs bread flour /whole wheat flour (I add sesame seeds to the dough so it won't be too bland) for a good rye bread recipe,


Regards,


Judy - the one and only hongkie on TFL?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

By letter fold, do you mean envelope fold?  4 folds?   or 3 folds like a letter?


I think you mean 4 folds... pulling the corners across the middle and then rounding up the shape.  By sticking to a familiar recipe, you can learn more as you change variables.


The rye amount is 24%  (120/500=.24)  Not a bad combination.  The dough will act more like a wheat bread.  Sesame seeds sounds good in the bread to add a little flavor, crushed dry coriander helps too and easily available.  I will even roll the outside of the loaf into sesame seeds.  Try black white or mixed for an interesting effect.  I will even put a teaspoon of roasted sesame oil into the dough on occation.  


The water (hydration) in the loaf is 64%  (320/500=.64)  which you might want to change, upping the water to 360 ml.  (If you are using a scales, we should make that 360 grams.  It's easier just to pour water into the bowl on the scales.)  That would make 70% hydration (water)  and a softer dough.  You may have to add a few more S&Fs to build up dough strength but you might like the crumb better.  Try not to work in more flour when you fold.  The folding will tighten it up.


Are you using sourdough to raise the loaf or instant yeast? 


If you reduce the amount of instant yeast and let it rise longer, the flavor will also improve.  For 500g of flour, you can reduce to just 3g  and still have it into the oven in about 6 or 7 hours.  Yes, it's requires more patience (waiting for it to rise) but the bread is healthier and tastes better. 


Mini

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

as in a tri-fold, top third to the centre and bottom third overlapping the top third in the centre then fold in half lengthways again and pinch the seams.  There wasn't a lot of rise in the dough either. I still have a small packet of the rye flour that I bought from the class and would like to make a go of it again to see if I can make an improved version with a better flavour.  I would love to be able to stick it in the fridge and let it rise slowly.  However, with the very warm weather in HK the dough is already rising between s&f and resting period so I tend to just let it rise in room temp without messing with the temp. The last time I left the dough in the fridge overnite, I think it collapsed the next morning.


I don't use sourdough as this is something that is too advanced for me, I use SAF instant yeast wihich I find to be the best and very stable.  I've been reading "Crust" and PR's ABED but somehow find the preparation of a sourdough culture a little intimidating, esp for an inexprienced baker like me.


My recipe uses black sesame seeds which has a better flavour than white and gives the loaf a bit of colour.  I may try using a bit of sesame oil as you have suggested but I'm not sure if the oil that we use here is the same as those sold int he US.  Ours is very concentrated so maybe best for me to mix it in the water first rather than sprinkle it onto the dough  directly?


Thanks Mini for all your advice and suggestions.


Best, Judy


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And yes, it is concentrated, but I would say one teaspoon to about 600g of pure rye flour.  It will taste stronger in wheat flour.  To me a rye bread is a rye when at least half the flour is rye, up to that point it's a wheat (or other) dough with added rye. 



I would love to be able to stick it in the fridge and let it rise slowly.



Then do it. right after you mix it up and shape into a ball to rise.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and loosely with a plate or something similar.  The heat in the dough will take time to cool down and so the little yeasts will keep working away.  Then check on it in a few hours, fold it, then return it to the fridge.  When you want to bake it, give it another fold and shape for the final rise before baking.  Watch it carefully as it warms up.  Go for it!  And go for a dark brown crust!  That will give more flavor too!


Mini  (in Austria)

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

but just so that I don't end up with another mass of collapsed dough, when you say mix and shape into a ball,  I gather  that's after I  have done a few stretch and folds with a short rest in between before going into the fridge or do I actually let it rest in the fridge? Book says 10 mins but with the heat in HK, I could maybe get away with a slightly shorter rest period if it is to be done before doing int the fridge).  The ball should be smooth and tight or is this just a rough ball during the first rise since I'll be kneading and stretching it again a few hrs later.  Do I knead it straight out of the fridge or do I need to wait for it to return to room temp before handling?  Sorry abt all the silly questions but retarding a dough is new to me.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

When I say mixed and shape into a ball I mean do everything up to letting it rest and rise before any folds.  Oil the bowl and very lightly the plastic wrap, cover and let it rise in the fridge.  You might want to mark the container with a piece of tape so you can easily tell when it's rising.  Don't let it quite double before flipping it out (top down) and doing your first folding.  When you're done put it back into the bowl (top up) cover it and pop back into the fridge.   It helps to keep track of the top of your ball of dough.


After the dough has spent the night or working day in the fridge, take it out and see how much it has risen.  It can be anywhere from nice and puffy to slick and flat.  If flat let it warm up but give it some folds as it warms up.  It will need to rise more.  Your warm hands will help.  If it is puffy, one little shaping might be all it needs.  It might also be puffy enough to go into the oven, then one would be very careful not to deflate it.  If it deflates, better to fold & reshape letting it rise again on parchment or in a tin as it warms up.  


Never be afraid to touch and pick up your dough, it won't bite, the most it can do is stick to you and you get the opportunity to feel what it is doing.  The dough goes thru changes and feeling those changes becomes a learning experience. 


Mini

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

using cold fermentation.  This is a recipe where I have changed from the normal kneading method to Paul Reinhart's S&F every 20 mins and after completing the folds within the hr, I left the dough in the fridge for a further 9 hrs (this time I started in the early morning at 7:00 a.m. with dough in fridge by 8:00 a.m. and then out of the fridge to continiue the rise for another 4.)  I shaped and left it to rise for about an hr and baked in oven at 200C for half an hr.  This is a great improvement from the last time I made this same bread and also thanks to you who suggested I add some concentrated sesame oil mixed with the water for added flavour.  The original recipe uses 180g bread f/200 plain f/120 rye f but I didn't like the texture and used 380g bf and slightly more water and this time it has turned out much better. I used a pan of hot water for steam plus a few sprays of water in the oven when the dough was ready to go into the oven.  The crust was hard and crisp when it came out, but turned soft by the time it cooled down.  I hope I can make the crust crisp again when I rehead in the toaster oven/toaster. 


And here's what I have to show for after more than 13 hrs



rye crumb


compared to what I made last time



Thank you Mini & TFL


Judy

grace tang's picture
grace tang

Hi Judy,


You are not alone.  I am also a Hongkonger.  Love this site.


Grace


 


 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

fellow Hongkie, I'm so glad I've found someone who actually enjoys bread making and is based in Hong Kong.  Maybe we could meet up and exchange recipes and bread-making experiences.  You don't happen to be one of the students that goes to the Sat. classes at Towngas?  Would love to get to know you better.

grace tang's picture
grace tang

Hi Judy,


I have taken a mooncake baking class at Towngas, but that was moons ago, so don't think we have met.  I am afraid I won't be a Hong konger for long as I will be moving back to Toronto soon....I have picked up bread baking three years ago when I have reached a low point in my life and it had helped me got through the tough times..... The web has been my great teacher - thanks to so many generous people out there who have unselfishly shared their recipes and experiences.  


Cheers,


Grace


   


   


 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I've sent you a message...

nicolesue's picture
nicolesue

why was the original post deleted?

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ
steven DB's picture
steven DB

I'm so glad to see Richard's name pop up. His two books and DVD's got me addicted to bread baking. I only use his kneeding techniques and it works great.


My wife also appreciates the fact that it's a lot less messy because you don't use any extra flour.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I have tried using his method but find it difficult to keep the dough sticking to the work surface when I pull it up to fold over.  It may be because my mass of dough is too small (usually about 300 - 400 grms and therefore too light)  or it may not be wet enough.  Should I add more water to my existing recipe or is this not recommended.  I've been using the push and roll method but I doubt if high hydration dough can be kneaded using RB's method.  Would his method work for dryer doughs?  Thanks, Judy

steven DB's picture
steven DB

I use it for all kinds of doughs, even very wet ones. In his DVD you can see RB using his method on a high hydration dough. in the beginning it's just one big mess but as tge gluten develop it all comes together. 1/2 hour autolyse and adding the salt later on always helps too. Good luck. Steven.


 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I meant to say "doubt if high hydration dough  can be kneaded using the push and roll method" not  "RB'method"...must have been falling asleep while typing.  I may have to be more adventurous and try one of RB's recipes using the full amount of flour called for.

steven DB's picture
steven DB

I always add more water, about 4%, to all of RB's recipes. I guess it's not as humid here compared to GB. And when it's a seeded dough (or a dough with nuts), the seeds tend to fly around. F.Y.I. (My wife hates it but the dogs love it...)


Steven.