I ended my last post about bulk fermentation after doing my last strong fold and letting it rest for 30-45 minutes. It’s really not an exact science. When I first started out, I read everyone’s posts to see how many folds they were doing and how often. I figured if I did what they did, then I’d make the perfect loaf. It never worked…
I like to do coil folds now, but there are different ways to fold. Remember to be aware of your dough as you fold. Think about it’s temperature as compared to your hand. After wetting your hand, pull a piece of dough up and remember how it feels. Is it tacky? Does it stick to your fingers? Does it feel “stronger” than it did the last time. Pull a gluten window again by gently stretching the dough in all directions to see how thin I can get it before it starts to tear. When it’s thin, I also like to poke at it with my finger tip to see and feel how “strong” it is without tearing. @autumn_kitchen can get her dough so strong that she can basically wrap her hand in it. Personally, I’ve yet to do this…. Do all these things before each fold.
On to coil folds…. Wet both your hands and slip them under the dough a little closer than halfway to the edge. You may want to be closer on the first fold or two depending on your dough. Don’t focus on where your hands are. Focus on how the dough feels and what you’re doing.
As you slip your hands under the dough, touch your two index and middle fingers together. Then quickly and gently pull the dough up and toward your chest until the dough comes up from your container. If it doesn’t, gently lay the dough back down. Move a little closer to the edge and repeat. Once it comes up from your container, let it slip gently under itself and lay the dough your holding back down on top of it. Rotate your container 180° and repeat. Then rotate 90° and repeat. Then rotate 180° and repeat. You just want to fold all four sides.
Check the temperature. Make a note of it. And cover your container. I use a shower cap.