You may be wondering what the fuck is this “stretch and fold” thing. No – it’s not a new yoga exercise, it’s a BRILLIANT no-knead technique everybody can do, and is superior to ANY kind of baking machine out there.
You will be using the stretch and fold technique for the rest of your life after trying this. Dough hooks are simply too forceful and brutal for many bakes, including artisan breads and pizza doughs.
What makes this technique so great is that you gently stretch the gluten, and then let it rest. This gives you an incredible gluten structure, and an amazing dough. And it’s so easy even a 3 year old can do it.
To make this whole thing as clean as possible, I use a rather big bowl, and I use it from start to finish. You will in other words NOT have flour everywhere, cause everything happens in the bowl. And that means you ONLY have a bowl to clean up in the end.
STEP 1: Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix quickly together. Then add the liquid, salt and sourdough starter, and mix quickly together with a wooden spoon.
When everything has come together, gather it into something roughly close to a ball-shape. Now let it just sit covered in the bowl and rest for minimum 30 minutes.
This will relax the gluten, fully hydrate the flour and get it ready for the next step.
STEP 2: Uncover your dough. If you’re right handed: Hold the bowl with your left hand. With your right hand take hold of the end of the dough away from you, pull gently upwards, and fold it over itself, towards you.
With your left hand: Turn the entire bowl 90 degrees clockwise, and repeat: With your right hand take hold of the end of the dough away from you, pull gently upwards, and fold it over itself, towards you.
Repeat this stretching and folding 3-4 times. You will feel the dough starting to resist you after a few pulls, so just stop there. Don’t do one more stretch. Just let it rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold again for a total of 4 times.
That’s it. You now have the most magnificent dough you have ever made in your life.