The Fresh Loaf

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Slap & fold issues

Spikes's picture

Slap & fold issues

Hello there,

I'm trying to improve my kneading, specifically S&F or french folds. I'm using a very basic recipe for this, white strong bread flour (320W, 12.5 protein, 0.70 P/L), 75% hydration, 2.5% salt and fresh yeast. I've tried to autolyse for as long as 4hrs, or no autolyse, and then slap and fold for about 10 mins or count 300 S&F. In all cases the result is always the same:

dough will be fairly rough surface, never smooth as I'm seeing in a lot of videos, even tho it will improve for a while. however after a bit it will start tearing. I've tried to power through and I've tried to let it sit for 30 mins. In both cases things will get a bit better and then tearing will occur again. After tearing I will literally getting huge holes as the dough was splitting in two chunks. In fact if I let it rest it will look pretty smooth and nice, but it will be tearing again in just 5 S&F or something super low like that.

the worrisome part is that of the dozens of videos I watched, I've only see this happening in this one: . In all others the dough seems to magically get stronger and smoother as the S&F goes on. In the video it says that if that happens to stop stretching as much, but then I'm not sure what the value of S&F is.

I wet my hands just a little and I've tried to also spray the table a touch, nothing dramatic, not trying to add more water to the mix.

As far as technique goes, I suppose I can record a video to prove it, but I think I'm doing alright, I'm fairly fast and consistent, always rotating 90 degs as you see in all the vids and there's generally very little sticking to my fingers. The dough will also not stick to the surface, it's quite clean even if when it tears it will get wetter and stickier, it's never messy.

what am I doing wrong?

thanks for all your help,


semolina_man's picture

Please post photos of your dough.   75% hydration is on the high side for slap-fold.   320W flour might be soft.   High hydration and soft flour will be difficult to slap-fold. 

Spikes's picture

thanks Semolina_man, I'll take pics and post them when I make my next loaf this weekend.

In the meantime tho, can you explain to me how is 320W soft? I thought 320 was as strong as you could get, maybe manitoba goes to 350, but otherwise it's the top of the spectrum.

also I thought 65-75 was the range for S&F, but I can try to stay around 72% next time and see.


Benito's picture

I’ve done slap and folds with higher hydration than 75%, it is a bit messier but it still works.  I know a few of us here on TFL, Dan included who have commented that there is a point halfway through our slap and folds where the dough seems to come apart, this happens to me as well.  I will just continue to do slap and folds and the dough comes back together.  In trying to fully develop the gluten upfront I’ve been increasing the number of slap and folds I’ve been doing lately and have worked up to 400-500 and get a beautiful smooth dough with a good windowpane by the end.  I suspect you’re not doing anything wrong, however, if you really want to know, video yourself and post the video here for us to see.  When I’ve had questions about technique I’ve posted here and had very useful responses.  It’s hard for us to evaluate and technique when we cannot see if right?


Spikes's picture

thanks Benito, this makes a lot of sense, I will try to do 400-500 this weekend and video myself as well and follow up here.