Not kneading dough

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by angrychef, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. angrychef

    angrychef

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    I attended an Italian bread baking class last night with Buona Forchetta bakery owner Suzanne Dunaway(she also has a book out "No Need to Knead". Her bread is considered as one of the best here in L.A. and rivals La Brea. I was very impressed with the rustic artisan breads she brought for us to sample, and she was a very nice and funny lady. However, her method of not kneading really confuses me. We made an "all-purpose focaccia/ciabatta dough" and pizza dough, about 75% hydration, which she just mixed for 20-30 seconds and then let ferment. No kneading at all. The product she baked at the class was good, but the focaccia was a little too heavy. What do you guys think of the "not kneading" method? Would it not produce a heavier dense dough?
     
  2. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Sounds funny to me. It goes against everything we know about gluten development and the ability for dough to rise. What is the basic reasoning behind her method? I've heard of the book, but don't know what the breads are like, for the most part. Does she claim that you can get an equally light loaf without kneading?
     
  3. kylew

    kylew

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    I will have to verify this but...

    I think that the ciabatta in Artisan Baking Across America is fairly kneadless. When the dough is mixed it is turned 3 times at about 30 minute intervals. It the continues to ferment for about another 1 1/2 hours for a total of 3 hours of fermentation. The dough starts out as more of a batter. I was a little freaked at the prospect of dumping it out and trying to turn it. But it worked. It was amazing how the dough firmed up during the fermentation. At it's firmmest it would have slid through open fingers but it could be handled and shaped. The resulting bread was very, very good.
     
  4. roon

    roon

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    Wow. I went to amazon.com to check out her book, and see what kind of ratings (if any) it had received from other people who had bought the book.

    Twenty five ratings, all five stars. Impressive. I didn't read through all of them, but I think I shall have to buy this book and give it a try...
     
  5. angrychef

    angrychef

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    I agree with you momoreg. From most of the reading I've done, I think this method might work with highly wet doughs, like Reinhart's Pan Ancienne. She did state turning the dough once while it's still fermenting, to redistribute food to the yeast cells. When I asked her why not knead, she said kneading develops a finer and tighter/denser crumb and we shouln't be slapping and overhandling the dough. I still don't agree---I cannot imagine not kneading a french bread dough, or any other bread dough. The bread she brought from her shop(which she did not bake at the class) was amazing ---better than La Brea in my opinion. Her ciabatta is called Panne d'Oso which was really gorgeous with big air pockets and a slightly thick chewy/crisp crust.
     
  6. nancya

    nancya

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    Not kneading simply produces a different kind of bread. I enjoy playing with texture and crumb by kneading more or less. I make a really nice rustic bread that is not kneaded at all. The crumb is very large, it tends to be fairly moist, and the crust is thinner and bumpier than kneaded bread.

    However, is she really saying that you never have to knead? Kneading allows you to control texture, in my oh-so-humble-I-don't-do-this-for-a-living opinon, and is a tool I wouldn't want to give up.

    I'm going to have to try this turn it over several times while rising thing. Sounds interesting. Could someone describe the process a little more?
     
  7. roon

    roon

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    The bread may not need the kneading, but you know- kneading is a great stress reliever!!! :D
     
  8. kylew

    kylew

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    It is Craig Ponsford's ciabatta as written in Artisan Baking Across America. The "dough" is mixed in a mixer with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes. I guess this could be seen as kneading. He advises "If your dough is not really gloppy, add extra water until it is soft enough to spread."

    The total fermentation time is 2 1/2 - 3 hours. The dough is turned 3-4 times at 20 minute intervals during the first 80 minutes of fermentation. You need lots of bench flour. The first time you dump the "dough" onto your board it's like pouring a batter. You fold top half way down, bottom up, and then the left and right sides to the middle. A bench knife is a must :) You put the "bundle back in the bowl and repeat as described above.

    With each turning, the dough becomes a little more cohesive. It never gets anything approaching firm. What you end up with is feather light bread with a wide open crumb.
     
  9. john

    john

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    I've actually made a similar dough, but after mixing the ingredients, I let it sit overnight (on the counter) to ferment. The next morning, I then pour the mixture on my marble board and very gently shape into a 9x13 cylinder (about 1/2 inch thick). I then cut several triangles and roll into a cylinder (almost like a crescent roll). The dough is very easy to work with. And it should never be runny. If it is, add more flour. The baked product turns out very similar to the texture of challah. These rolls are a favorite of friends and family. They actually enjoy them better than the kneaded type. This process may be used for either rolls or bread loaves. John
     
  10. svadhisthana

    svadhisthana

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    I've made a few of the breads from her book (I borrowed it from the library) and as I remember her reasons for not kneading involve the fact that you end up adding more flour and making it heavier, as well as potentialy losing the big holes thru the finished product. It's been a while- I don't remember my exact results.
     
  11. panini

    panini

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    foccaccia, slipper,doso etc. all purpose? I have different techniques for all of these.I've always mixed my foccoccia, I work ciabatta wet, I don't know , maybe I'm wrong
     
  12. momoreg

    momoreg

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    I can see how one might successfully make a batter-type yeast dough without kneading, for flatter breads, but I'm still not understanding how you can make a boule, for example, without kneading. Obviously, you can't use a batter, so what's her rationale?

    Or am I mistaken in assuming she has that kind of recipe in her book?
     
  13. kylew

    kylew

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    On her website Suzanne Dunaway says she is happy to answer any questions and provides an email address. I sent the question about boules etc. to her. I also sent the link to this thread and an invitation to join the discussion. I hope we hear form her :)
     
  14. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    This is the way the were preparing bread in Greece during the German occupation in 1941-1945.
    Germans in order to punish Greeks for the fierce resistence they had left the country to starve.

    So, in the country side, because in the cities they were just dying of famine , they prepared bread without kneadding , because a fluffy, nice bread would cause more famine. This what they thought.

    The bread that they produced was firm and heavy.
    They thought that it helped them control better their famine.
    I confirmed this with my mother in Law who has lived that and she told me how she made it.

    She didn't knead it AT ALL. Instead, she used a large wooden spoon to give it 2-3 rounds and then leave it to "rise" for 3-4 hours.

    I have to tell you that this bread haunted for decades the nightmares of Greeks, this is the reason that none produces this kind of bread here.

    One bakery , last year , tried to make such a bread and it became an issue in the newspapers...

    Thanks for mentioning though, I will give it a try. But just flour and water and salt, nothing else.I wait to hear from the expert also.
     
  15. risa

    risa

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    I just bought the book recently for about $9. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I'll try to make time this weekend and bake a couple of loaves or so.
     
  16. kylew

    kylew

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    We're counting on you Risa!
     
  17. suzanne dunaway

    suzanne dunaway

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    Oops. lost my reply. So, to finish up: When I teach a class, and I have taught many, I am trying to interest students in making their own breads at home and I wish to dispel the fear that many have of baking, plus dispel the myths and mystique of bread which often give the novice baker the sense that unless he or she makes 14 day starter and uses spring water and grind his or her own flour that the bread will fail. Nonsense. I can teach a complete novice how to make a good, tasty, chewy and memorable bread in 90 minutes. So, there's my take on kneading, and yes, I do it for brioche, banging the dough, crashing the dough, slapping the dough against my granite board with gusto! But brioche is not ciabatta. Give me a good open-structured, wood oven tasting bread anyday.
     
  18. kylew

    kylew

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    Thank you for joining our discussion Suzanne :) It seems a shame that the bulk of you message is floating around in CyberSpace. I think I get your point though. We here at ChefTalk are a pretty adventurous lot. When it comes to bread we ain't ascared a nuthin! On the contrary, we are a curious lot and love to learn new things.

    There are some who would have you believe that baking bread is a complicated process that requires strict attention to detail, that any deviation form the rules will result in disaster. Thankfully there are others, like yourself, that make the matter of bread baking approachable and enjoyable:)
     
  19. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Suzanne, I'm glad you could join us here, and I look forward to future posts by you. I'll have to look for your book in the stores.

    A warm welcome to cheftalk!:)
     
  20. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Suzanne:

    May I say that I tackled breadmaking by purchasing a 50 pound bag of all purpose flour from a local organic mill, a Kitchen Aid mixer, and a 1 pound bag of SAF Red Instant yeast. And I had at it. It's been a great experience.

    May I recommend that you inform your students that they, too, can get 50 pound bags of all purpose flour - even King Arthur flour - from their local food distributor. The distributors do, indeed, sell retail. And the flour should cost about $15 or less per 50 pound sack.