How many times do you streach and fold for ciabatta bread?

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How many times do you streach and fold for ciabatta bread?

Just once on a each side?

Or a few times?
 
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Originally Posted by abefroman  
How many times do you streach and fold for ciabatta bread?

Just once on a each side?

Or a few times?
You lost me, Abe.  As kneading?  Or is this part of some loaf formation ritual?

To make a ciabatta, I use a slack dougn (open structure) with a poolish or biga (tang), knead to window pane (structure, texture), and allow at least two rises (tang, structure).  The idea is to get maximum chew with a very open structure.

FWIW, I'm fooling around with "drop, stretch and slap" kneading, and may change to that from the ol' "fold, flatten and turn."  But technique aside, you want a real knead to get that chewy ciabatta texture.  BTW, don't use "bread flour," use AP.

After the last rise, I dump the bread without collapsing it too much onto a peel (actualy the bottom of a sheet pan covered with parchment, and form by stretching and patting right on the peel. 

I do as little folding as possible for ciabatta because it either leaves seams or forces you to pick up the dough to seal them which makes the loaves too uneven.  They're not batards or baguettes, you don't really get the opportunity to pat them back into shape.

After formation, I give them a last rise (preferably retarded) before baking, allowing a bit more increase than I'd allow another loaf -- because I'm actually trying to control oven spring rather than enhance it.

Finally, hot stone, hot oven, steam.

That's me.  There are many equally good ways to skin this particular cat.

Hope this helps,

BDL
 
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The Reinhart apprentice book mentioned to stretch and fold.

So instead, after I mix the poolish with the additional flour, yeast water and salt, for about 7 minutes in the mixer, I should then kneed out into about an 8x8 square, then reform the loaf, let is rise for 30 minutes, then kneed again to an 8x8 window, form the loaf again, let rise for 45 minutes, then bake on a pizza stone.

Does that sound like it will work?
 
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No.

Mix well.  Allow to autolzye.  French fold after about 20 minutes and autolyze for a similar period.  Turn out and knead to the "windowpane stage" using either the fold, flatten and turn or stretch, drop and slap method.  Allow to proof in a bowl until doubled in volume.  "Punch down" using the "French fold method."  Allow to rise again.  Either punch down and allow a third rise, or turn the dough out and form.  Allow the formed loaves to proof in the refrigerator (retarded rise) for eight hours or overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator and allow to continue to rise until doubled in volume (if necessary).  Bake in a hot oven on a hot stone.

If Reinhart says do it differently, at least try it according to Reinhart's instructions.  However, since Reinhart wrote the BB'sA, he's become increasingly in favor of autolysis and "French folds" -- especially with slack doughs. 

"Windowpane" has nothing to do with shaping the loaf, the windowpane test is a way of determining if bread dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  I'm sure I've described it to you several times already; just as I've described the French fold.  However, if you want I'll be happy to repeat it.

For what it's worth, about 90% of the baking techniques I preach are inspired by Reinhart's methods.  So chances are very high that I'm just using different words to describe the same thing. 

BDL
 
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Found it:

"Window paning" is the most basic and best way to test if bread dough is sufficinetly kneaded. When the baker thinks the dough is fully kneaded on the basis of color and feel, she tears a bit of dough from the ball and carefully stretches it. If she can see light through it, like a "window pane," then the dough is kneaded.
 
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Question, if you strech it enough wont you see light through at any stage of kneeding?
 
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Originally Posted by abefroman  
Question, if you strech it enough wont you see light through at any stage of kneeding?
No.  If you don't knead the dough enough it will tear before it stretches enough to pass light. 

Kneading is like dough-yoga.  By repeatedly stretching the glutens, it makes them (and the dough) increasingly stretchable.  If you knead by hand -- and if you're baking in home quantities you should at least do the last part that way -- you'll see and feel the dough become "shiny and elastic" as it nears readiness.  That's when you start thinking about the window paning.

Ideally, after the dough passes the window pane test, you'll knead for another minute or so.  Don't worry.  You'll give out before the dough will.  It's almost impossible to over-knead when kneading by hand. 

Also, Mike's right.

You don't need to mix your dough as long as you do.  Your process has you doing a lot of kneading in the machine.  Assuming you're doing everything else well, which is unlikely, you'll get better results if you hold off on kneading until the dough has a chance to autolyze after mixing.  The dough will also handle as though it were stiffer (huge difference in the PITA quotient if you knead slack doughs by hand) and knead faster.

Why do I say, "unlikely?"  The quality of your questions show you still don't know much about basic techniques and imply that you haven't developed "touch" yet. 

The strongest influence on my bread baking has to be Peter Reinhart.  The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which you're using, might be the best text ever written for beginning home bakers.  You could certainly do worse.  But be advised that since writing it Reinhart has incorporated some of the more modern trends, especially autolysis.

To keep up with the trends and get involved with an expert community oriented towards home bread baking you might try The Fresh Loaf.

Compared to almost every other area of cooking, bread baking is so much more about learning to smell, see and touch than following a recipe precisely.  Give yourself time.

BDL
 
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Thanks for the tips!!

How do you store your dough in the fridge overnight?  Just on a sheet pan?

From my batch i had 3 loaves, I left them in the fridge overnight on parchment paper, then took them out in the morning and let them rise for a couple hours.  The first one deflated when I tried to take it off the parchment paper, the second one I left on the parchment paper and it came out fairly well, with a few big and some medium holes, but not as many or as big as some of the pictures I have seen, the third one didnt really rise a whole lot when I took it out of the fridge.

I used bread flour, do you think if I switched to APF and kneeded mostly by hand it would fix my problems?

Here's a picture:



Thx
 
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