Top 4 Hand Kneading Tips

Learn the top 4 hand kneading tips in this bread making video from Howcast.

We’re kneading this dough by hand. One of the things that’s nice about kneading by hand is that you can never get the dough too hot with your hands, so there’s never a chance that you’re really going to overwork the dough. You can pretty much knead for a long time, without really worrying is the dough over-kneaded, is the dough getting too warm.

It’s just a very nice way to knead dough, and it’s also really good to knead by hand, when you’re working with a very stiff dough. This happens to be a stiffer dough. You can sort of see that its already a ball, it’s not slack on the work surface. So when you’re kneading a stiff dough and you’re at home, instead of overworking the motor of your mixer it’s just much nicer to knead it by hand

One of the things that we do when we’re kneading the dough by hand when you’re checking, when mixing your dough, you want to check that there’s been gluten formed. That’s why we’re kneading. We’re kneading to develop the gluten. One of the ways we check that the gluten has developed is with a window pane test.

When you’re doing a window pane test, what you want to do is to pinch off a tiny little piece of dough, and then you’re going to slowly work to open that piece of dough up. See, I’m sort of just turning it in a circle and trying to like pull it out, just very, very gently. You want to check to see how your gluten has developed.

We won’t have to knead this too much, because we’ve done an autolyze and that period of time where the dough is resting, the gluten just sort of forms naturally. You can see it’s getting more and more transparent, and that’s what we’re looking for, for gluten to develop. And then it tears a little bit, so I still need to continue to knead by hand, until you don’t get much tearing. So I’m going to keep kneading.

The work surface that I’m using for this dough is a wooden cutting board and to me, using a wooden cutting board at home to knead dough is ideal. Wood doesn’t stick. The dough doesn’t stick to wood, quite the same as it sticks to metal. You can certainly knead on a metal work surface, it’s just going to stick a little bit more, and you’re going to need to basically, use your dough knife and scrape up under it, at least until the gluten is formed.

Then once the gluten is formed you don’t really have to worry about the dough sticking.This dough, we don’t need to add more flour to it, because it’s not really sticking to our work surface. When I’m kneading dough and it starts to stick to my work surface, before I add more flour into the dough the first thing I do is I flour my hands, because I feel like that’s adding a little bit of flour, but it’s not adding so much that you’re changing the formula and composition.

So if you flour your hands you should be able to pick up the dough and scrape up under it. You can see that this dough is really nice. It’s not sticking to the surface. It’s almost fully developed in terms of gluten and I can just knead it without it sticking. But if it were sticking and you did flour your hands, what you would want to do is dust the work surface like that, and then just continue kneading, and that will help your dough with not sticking on the surface.

If your dough is too soft or if you feel that it’s softer than what the recipe states the best thing to do is to probably add a little bit more flour, not too much and just keep kneading. Its okay if the dough is wet. I actually think that wet dough is a really, really beautiful dough, and so I wouldn’t necessarily add more flour to correct it. I would just let it be a wet dough. Those are some kneading tips.