The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Autolayse + Stretch and Fold

pixy's picture

Autolayse + Stretch and Fold

Hi, I have been looking a lot on your site and got excited by the idea of "autolayse". Wheat is naturally water resistant so the idea of letting it sit and soak is great.  While trying to fully understand how autolayse works I ran across "stretch and fold" which also sounds wonderful.  The idea of slowly stretching and folding rather than the hard work of kneading it by hand (I don't have a mixer). I would like to know how to use these methods with all my bread baking.  How can I take recipes that my family and I already like and incorporate the autolayse and stretch and fold methods?  Does anyone know more about one or both of these methods.  I have been searching the web and all I can find are definations and a several descriptions of how wonderful the bread looks.  There must be some basic formulas for both of these methods. 


Russ's picture

There are some good videos here.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Following your recipe, stir up your dough (to moisten it) with liquids and most of the flour, then cover and let it rest 30 minutes before doing anything else. That's basically it. Then continue. Very simple yet very effective.

Mini O

josordoni's picture

If you want to find out more about autolyse, there is loads here - you might want to search for autolyse, as that is the correct spelling, and will give you plenty (perhaps more than you want!  LOL) of information.


halfrice's picture

I use stretch and fold when I make ciabatta as it is not easy to knead a high hydration dough by hand.


Half Rice Half Woman 

KosherBaker's picture

Hi Pixy.

The technique of Autolyse is indeed discussed quite a bit on these forums, so I would second the suggestion of doing some searching and reading. I find that the more I read here the more I learn. The basic idea of Autolyse is to allow the mixture of water and flour to develop gluten on its own without your intervention. The mixture to be Autolysed includes only flour and water, and is allowed to rest for at least 30 minutes that's the minimum and up to several hours. 4 to 5 hours can be done at room temperature. Anything more than that should be done in the fridge. If you have bread with low hydration. Meaning the amount of water constitutes less than 60% of the flour you would not add all of your flour to the Autolyse mixture, but rather about 75% of your flour. Becuse if you did the dough would be too hard and it would be difficult to incorporate leaven and salt later on. If your dough is high hydration you may be able to Autolyse all of your flour.

The stretch and fold technique has two variations. One advocated by Jeffrey Hamelman and the other by Richard Bertinet. Both were developed to handle high hydration doughs, since doughs of high hydration do not yield themselves to being kneaded in the traditional sense.

Enjoy your searching and reading, I know I did.

Lastly I went ahead and defined some common terms used by members on this sight on my blog page. Linked at the bottom of my signature.

My TFL Blog Page

ericb's picture


Mixing a liquid (such as poolish) into a partially-kneaded dough is tough. I have always always mixed the poolish and water together first, then added the flour. The entire mixture goes through the autolyse phase together. After the autolyse, throw in the salt and yeast.

I'm not sure if this is the proper way to do it, but it has always worked for me.

As a side-note, I think it's funny how we've Anglicized the term "autolyse." I have seen "autolysed," "autolysing," and "autolyses." I'm having flashbacks to Latin class: "autolyse, autolysum, autolysa, autolysesisimus..." LOL.