Knead Advice on Technique

I have been hand kneading (no machines here) breads for about a month. It takes far longer than the 10 minutes suggested by the recipe, and I generally pack it in before I get the ideal windowpane effect due to seized fingers. Tell me there's a more efficient way!



StrawberryPye January 22, 2012
Thanks, HLA, Boul, and David! I will give these a try next bake. I truly look forward to throwing the dough around.
nutcakes January 23, 2012
To use the technique of relying on body weight, you want the kneading surface to be lower than a normal counter so that it is easy to push down and across the dough. It is difficult if it is a high counter.
davidpdx January 22, 2012
Another technique an Italian chef taught me is, once your standard "push and turn" kneading gets a head start developing the gluten, grab an end of your blob of dough, then pick up the blob and wack it against your counter; repeat until dough is fully kneaded. Makes a bit of a racket, but works.
boulangere January 22, 2012
hla's advice is perfect. By using your body to lever your arms and hands around, the strain on your hands is much less. It's always a good idea to knead with your hands rather than your fingers. Your fingers transmit heat much more effectively than palms or heels of hands. The kneading process itself generates friction which generates heat. If overwarmed, dough can go sticky on you, causing you to add more flour than otherwise, therefore drying out and toughening your dough. Use hla's method, and you'll soon fall into a good kneading rhythm that is honestly enormously pleasurable. And don't ever be surprised if it takes longer than the generic "10 minutes." Knead to a windowpane, not for time.

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hardlikearmour January 22, 2012
I generally use the heels of my hands, not my fingers, to push the dough forward. Use your body weight to help you (much like a massage therapist does to prevent fatigued hands.) Push the dough forward across the counter, then fold, rotate 90ish degrees, push forward, repeat....
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