Are you getting started with bread making and not sure how to knead? Or perhaps you just want to brush up your kneading technique. This video demonstrates how to knead bread dough, with a technique suitable for a firmer dough. Not flouring your surface when kneading is important – it just dries your dough out. Embrace the sticky! Keep kneading and your dough will get softer, smoother and easier to handle.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any further questions on kneading or bread making in general.
Why and how to knead bread dough
Kneading makes sure the ingredients are properly mixed. Kneading also develops the stretchy, elastic gluten protein present in bread flours (see my blog ‘What is gluten?‘). One way to knead is to turn the dough out using your scraper onto a smooth, un-floured surface. Anchor the dough down with one hand and use the heel of the other hand to stretch the dough away from you. Fold the dough back over itself, turn the whole piece and repeat. Get into a rhythm, zone out, listen to the radio, and continue for about 10 minutes. The dough should begin to change, becomng smooth and stretchy.
Other ways to knead
This is only one kneading method, and there are plenty of others. Some recipes don’t require kneading – for example soda bread. Wetter, slacker doughs must be handled more gently, often using the stretch and fold kneading method. If you’d like to see videos of other kneading techniques, let me know in the comments.
Can I use a mixer to knead bread dough?
You can use a mixer with a dough hook attachment to knead bread dough. Measure out the water or liquid for your recipe and pour this into the mixer bowl first. Add the dry ingredients on top of the water. Turn the mixer on at its slowest speed and gradually bring the ingredients together into a ball of dough around the dough hook. Once this has happened, turn the mixer up a notch (but not much! I only ever get to speed setting two of eight). Allow the mixer to run for 3 – 4 minutes only, check the dough and start the mixer again if the dough still needs to develop. It’s easy to overknead dough in a mixer (but virtually impossible by hand).
If you’ve enjoyed this blog, or have any further breadmaking questions, do let me know in the comments! Or why not check out more breadmaking recipes, hints and tips on the blog.
You can also join my supportive community of home bread bakers over on Facebook. From sharing great bakes and recipes to asking and answering key breadmaking questions, there’s plenty to learn and join in with.