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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!

asked by StrawberryPye almost 6 years ago

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5 answers 1223 views
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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 6 years ago

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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added almost 6 years ago

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.

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added almost 6 years ago

Thanks, HLA, Boul, and David! I will give these a try next bake. I truly look forward to throwing the dough around.

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added almost 6 years ago

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.

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