Kneading Dough By Hand

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by ksy, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. ksy

    ksy

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    When read bread baking books and recipes, they usually specify kneading for about 10 minutes by hand. They also say that the dough should be smooth, elastic and shiny, and that the window pane test is can be used to check to see if the dough is kneaded enough.

    What exactly does smooth and shiny mean? When I knead dough I find that it never really becomes smooth. I always have small dimples in the dough, even after kneading the dough for more than 20 minutes. I usually stop before 30 minutes because I get scared that I will over-knead it. (Most people say this is impossible, but i'm not quite sure.) Anyway, after the first rising, it will become smooth, but the first time i knead that never happens. Should I be expecting to see the dough become smooth after the first kneading?

    Also, I know the dough should be elastic, but what defines elastic? Should the dough be so elastic that I have trouble separating it into two, much like I would trying to separate melted cheese on a hot pizza? I find that I can succesfully complete the window pane test, but only if I do it very carefully and slowly.

    Is my kneading fine the way it is, or should I knead for a longer/shorter time period? And help or advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. jock

    jock

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    Yeah, I hate when recipes use these vague terms.

    Depending on how vigorous you are 10 to 15 minutes is usually enough. Really the windowpane test is the standard for elasticity. If you get to that stage you can safely stop kneading. You do need to be fairly gentle when testing the windowpane. Just tease the dough as far as you can without breaking it. When it is transparent it's done. Of course, if you want to get really technical you can take its temperature too. Most doughs like to be about 78 degrees when you are done kneading. But unless you are obsessive like me it mostly doesn't matter too much.

    I'd say you are doing just fine. You may want to reduce the kneading time a bit so long as the windowpane stage is reached.

    Jock
     
  3. ksy

    ksy

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    Thanks for the help. When you say the bread should be near 78 degrees, would that be due to your hand warmth, reactions from the yeast, friction, or something else?
     
  4. kylew

    kylew

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    All of the above :) Other contributors are the temp of the flour when you stared and the temp of the water you add.