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The process of making bread is relatively simple, but not all loaves are created equal. That’s why C&H® Sugar created this helpful Guide To Folding Bread Dough. Here, you will learn the process of preparing your dough by using the folding method. By mastering this simple, yet effective technique, you can take your bread baking game to an artisan level.

Why Fold Bread Dough?

If you’ve ever made bread before, you probably kneaded your dough by pounding and slamming it down on a hard surface. This method of getting the air bubbles out of your dough is called “punching.” Sure, it’s a great stress reliever, but what does it mean for your bread? Well, for starters, it changes its texture. Punching your dough leads to bread with smaller, more tender crumbs.

Folding dough achieves the same function of removing the air bubbles, but it also allows your bread to rise higher and creates a looser crumb once it’s baked. These desirable qualities are found in artisan bread like baguettes or dinner rolls. And you can use this technique with any bread recipe you find, even the ones that call for punching. So, how do you learn to fold your dough and get more artisan qualities out of any bread? We’re so glad you asked.

How To Fold Your Bread Dough

Pat Your Dough On A Floured Board

During the process of preparing your dough, your recipe will likely call for you to punch it down. Instead of doing this, take your ball of bread from its mixing bowl and place it on a floured surface. Make sure you are using enough flour so the dough does not stick to the board. Begin to gently pat (not punch) the dough down flat, removing most, but not all of the air bubbles. Then start making your folds.

Making Your First Fold

Create your first fold by picking up one of the two sides of your now flattened bread dough, either from the left or right side. Then, fold it a third of the way over your remaining dough. Make sure to brush away any excess flour before making your second fold.

Making Your Second Fold

Much like the way you would fold a letter, Grab the opposite side of your first fold and fold it over your first fold. Again, make sure to brush off the extra flour after making your fold.

Make Your Third Fold

Make your third fold by grabbing the top edge of the rectangle you have created with your first two folds. Pull it towards you, about a third of the way down your dough.

Check Your Folds

After making all of your folds, gently stretch the folded dough, making sure it’s not pinched or closed in any area. At this stage in the folding process, you should be able to clearly distinguish the layers of your folds.

Make Your Fourth Fold

Now it’s time for you to make your fourth and final fold. Do this by folding the bottom edge (the piece nearest to you) over the layers of your first three folds. Your folded dough should now resemble a square.

Return Your Dough To The Mixing Bowl

Now that you’ve successfully folded your bread, check to see if your recipe calls for you to flour or oil your bowl before placing your bread back in and continuing the rest of your baking process.