Stretch and fold technique question


I have been using an autolyse and delayed stretch and fold technique. I roughly mix the starter, flour and water and leave for 30 mins. Then mix in the salt and turn it and stretch and fold 4 times after 10, 10, 20 and 20 mins. I stretch and fold the dough into three about 6-8 times each time.

What I notice is that the dough tightens as I need. By the second knead the dough starts quite stretchy, but after a few strech and folds it tightens and starts to tear instead of stretching. Its looser each round but still tightens as I knead. Does that mean I am knreading too much in each of the four rounds?

More generally though, I thought that the traditional approach is to knead constantly for 20 mins. I don't think I could do that with my dough. It would be too tight after a few minutes to keep kneading.

My recipe is 170g 70% hyd starter, 500g flour, 320-330g of water.

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farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 6

Hi redrich,

Generally each stretch and fold involves stretching the dough out into a rectangle almost A3 size.  Then fold from the top long edge back by about a third over the second third and then from the bottom long edge back over to the new top edge.  You then do the same from right and left.  And that is it until the next time.  Usually three or maybe four cycles are enough.

Basically, as with kneading, you only do it until the dough is developed to the stage where you can create a thin translucent window when you stretch the dough without tearing.  Another sign is the presence of trapped air bubbles with a thin wall that you can almost see through.

Let us know how you go.


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