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When I do stretch and folds, am I supposed to flatten the dough each time?

icantbakeatall's picture

When I do stretch and folds, am I supposed to flatten the dough each time?

Because that's what it looks like is happening in the youtube videos I see, and I dont quite understand it. It seems like that would get rid of all the air in the dough. The first time I do stretch and folds it is easy to do. But but the second set, even after the first actual stretch and fold of that set I do, the dough is very hesitant to stretch and it tears. My doughs are usually around 72-75% hydration. Thanks a ton folks!

Meat5000's picture
Meat5000 (not verified)

Dough tears when underhydrated or overworked/ overstretched and the gluten breaks down. Try stretch slowly or autolyse with slightly more moisture.

As for the flattening, Id suggest thats the bulk of the dough thinning out as you stretch it. I dont believe you are trying to wrap a small flap, more as folding in 2/3 a 1/4 of the dough each time, to pluck some numbers out of the air. The dough is circulated in this way instead of leaving untouched base and edges.

Benito's picture

How long are you waiting between sets of stretch and folds.  The gluten networks will tighten up during your stretch and folds and you need to give them time to relax before you do another set.  Waiting 45-60 mins between sets is usually lots.  You can also create more extensibility in your dough by adding an autolyse to your recipe where you mix just the flours and water and allow the flour to fully hydrate, this can help make the dough more extensible.