March 1, 2010

Beginners Guide to Kneading Dough

kneading-smallKneading bread dough can be one of the most enjoyable steps of bread baking. Follow these basic instructions to learn how to use your hands when kneading dough.  You can be as rough as you like when kneading.

1. Wash your hands, and wipe and dry the work surface before starting. Wear an apron to protect your clothes.

2. Scatter a little flour on the work surface and lightly flour hands

3. Start with the ball of dough and use only the heels of your hands to push down and away from you on the dough.

4. Then pull the dough back towards you and fold the dough in half.

5. Turn the dough a quarter turn or 90 degrees and knead with your hand heels again.

6. Continue to knead, fold and turn the dough for the required length of time or until the dough is smooth, silky, and elastic

7. To test if the dough is ready, press a floured finger into the side of the dough. If it bounces back, it’s ready to be rested.

Did You Know?

Yeast is a living organism that needs food (honey or sugar) for it to rise.

If the liquid is too hot you can kill the yeast, to test the temperature of the liquid dip you finger into the water and if it feels ok for a couple of seconds it alright to use.

Kneading is simply repeating folding and compressing of a dough.

Much of the elastic property of dough is due to a protein in wheat called gluten

Kneading is especially important when preparing yeast breads because it helps to distribute the activated yeast and it enables the protein in the flour to develop into gluten, which promotes the properties of stretching and expansion in the dough. This results in the light and springy crumb apparent in many yeast breads. Dough that is not adequately kneaded results in bread that is too heavy and dense.

Two other things happen during the kneading process – tiny air pockets are created in the dough, and water is absorbed by the flour.

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