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Basic Techniques - Kneading

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks


Essential for an open-textured, full-flavored bread, kneading performs a crucial function in preparing the dough to rise. First, it completes the mixing process by distributing the activated yeast throughout the dough. Continued kneading then allows the flour’s proteins to develop into gluten, which gives dough the ability to stretch and expand. Starches are broken down to feed the yeast, which creates bubbles of carbon dioxide. These bubbles cause the dough to rise. The actions shown are a guide to kneading a basic dough. Specific instructions, such as how to knead a soft, wet dough or how to knead coarse ingredients into a dough , are demonstrated in the recipe section.

Shape the dough to begin kneading by folding one half over the other, bringing the top half toward you. Keep a little additional flour on the side to lightly dust the dough as you knead should it become difficult to handle. Use this extra flour sparingly.

Use the heel of your working hand to gently push the dough away from you. At the same time, use your other hand to rotate the dough slightly toward you, guiding the dough slowly around in a circle.

Repeat these kneading actions, gently folding, pushing, and rotating the dough continuously for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough achieves a firm touch, a silky smooth surface, and an elastic texture. Take time to work the dough slowly and firmly, but do not use excessive force. The dough will gradually become more elastic and easier to knead. Shape the dough into a ball for rising.

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