Stretch and Fold (again)

Stretch & Fold 07

I figured that, since I have these steps already photographed for another entry, mainly the Vermont Sourdough post here, I may as well include them separately as their very own little “Stretch and Fold show and tell” .

More show than tell, mind you.

I hope this helps to show the technique well and let people know that there is an alternative to kneading, if you find that aspect of bread making difficult or tedious. Some people actually like kneading and feel it’s a good mental zone out therapy, they just get in the groove. I like kneading, myself, and some doughs you pretty much have to knead by hand, like bagels, which is usually way too stiff for a mixer to handle.

But this is a really great way to simplify your bread making if you don’t want to get into the heavy push and turn stuff. Even if you like kneading, this is a good technique to have in your bag o’ tricks for those time you’re just not feeling like it.

For a little more info on the ideas around the process and a couple of video clips, see the other page on this blog, Stretch and Fold: you don’t need to knead.

Here it is, step by step:

Continue reading “Stretch and Fold (again)”

Step aside, Zorro!! A new slashing tool just got added!

I’d been trying to “make do” for a while with whatever seemed like an acceptable tool for slashing the dough loaves and using a small, very sharp but flat-bladed paring knife acceptable, though not exactly great.¬†

I knew that a “tomato knife” was a great tool to use because it has the large scallops in the blade which , as seen on Mark’ Back Home Bakery videos, did a very neat, clean cut in one go. But when I went out looking for such a knife, I was rather put off by the cost, about $20 – $25 at the local department stores’ kitchen/cutlery sections. Several stores in fact. Thanks, I think I’ll just save the $25 and buy flour.

However, I came across a display in our local grocery emporium (in my case, that’s Fortino’s, a part of the Loblaws/Superstore/President’s Choice conglomeration here in Canada) and there in the kitchen stuff section next to candles and pillows displays, was a box full of paring knives with flat blades… But my eye caught a knife in the corner that looked like… yes!! A serrated tomato knife! And they were an astounding $1.90!! Stuck in the back of the box (I dug) were a handful of these little beauties, with black or pale blue handles. Continue reading “Step aside, Zorro!! A new slashing tool just got added!”

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”