Stretch and Fold: you don’t need to knead

Preamble: None of the following is original to me in the least. Here I’m merely collecting the wisdom of much more experienced bread makers into one easy to find spot. And I’m not even saying this is “all there is”, much more can be found on the web, from other people with different methods.

Stretch and Fold

This is a method of handling dough which pretty much replaces, in whole or in part, the more traditional “push and turn” method of kneading of the dough.

grab the top third, stretch a bit, and fold down like a letter
From “Stretch and Fold Again”: Grab the top third, stretch a bit, and fold down like a letter

I’ve created a Step-By-Step photo illustration of the process in it’s own post here: Stretch and Fold Again. Although, as with most anything, there are variations on how it’s done, the basic principle is as follows:

Take your dough that has been resting and turn it out on the counter. The counter should be either very, very lightly floured for the first fold of regular dough, slightly dampened for first fold of wet dough or unfloured for 2nd and later folds of either.

Continue reading “Stretch and Fold: you don’t need to knead”

Round Six: Much improved

Loaves May 29, 2008

Well, doggone. It’s actually possible to get not too bad loaves made after all!

So this time around: double (or full) recipe, still working with Susan’s Norwich Sourdough from the Wild Yeast Blog since we know it works and don’t want to introduce new variables yet but I decided to make four loaves since I felt rather confident due to the last loaves, that I had the more destructive kinks under control, namely burning oven and poor proofing. Continue reading “Round Six: Much improved”

Sourdough: More than ‘San Fransisco’ style bread

When you say you make sourdough bread, people in this end of the world (that’s North America, seems Europeans are more aware) tend to immediately think you mean “San Fransisco style bread” with it’s distinctive acidic tang, crispy crust and somewhat chewy crumb with irregular holes throughout.


Bread from San Francisco’s Boudin Sourdough Bakery

Well, that’s ONE kind of sour dough but hardly the only one, all sorts of breads from very subtle to very tangy to sweet breads can be made with sourdough. That’s because sourdough isn’t a particular style of bread, it’s a technique.

“Sourdough” doesn’t specifically refer to sour dough or tangy, acidic flavour. The term sour here means “fermented” or cultured, as it does in sour cream or sauerkraut. Continue reading “Sourdough: More than ‘San Fransisco’ style bread”

Round Five: Is this almost it?

Finally, a (near) success!!
Using a couche, or more accurately a chunk of heavy cotton cut from a painter’s dropcloth (yes, new but washed) and a very generous amount of rice flour/UAP mix (50/50) rubbed into the cloth, there was NO STICKING issue whatsoever. So the loaf had no opportunity to deflate. The result is, at last, a non-flat loaf.
The oven was set at 440ºF (although it should have been 475) and watched carefully through Continue reading “Round Five: Is this almost it?”

Growing Up: Moving from starter to bread

Once you’re ready to make actual bread from your starter, which means it’s doubling or tripling in 3 to 8 hours, you’ll want to bump up the amount of starter you have.

For this lesson, we’ll assume that your main or “Mother” starter is active and you’ve seen it double or triple in size after each feed for about two weeks – in other words, you’re confident it’s good, strong and active – and now store it in the fridge and feed it once a week (or will do so next).

Just as a good example:

Let’s say you’re making Continue reading “Growing Up: Moving from starter to bread”