Over-Kneading Bread?


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Is it possible to over-knead bread, or work it too hard? When I make bread at home (on that rare occasion) I knead and knead my bread but it never gets nice and smooth. Usually at some point it looks like the gluten strands are starting to tear. Have I taken my bread to far? Or could it be that the dough is too dry?

Also, the other day, I was attempting to make Anadama bread (on of my favorites) in my Kitchen Aid. No matter how much flour I added the dough was still very tacky and kept climbing up the dough hook, never forming a nice ball down on the bottom of the hook like I am used to.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Yes, dough can be overkneaded.

Dough collecting at the bottom of the hook indicates a slack dough, high in moisture which is okay.

I reduced the kneading time of my dough from 8 minutes down to 2 minutes in my mixer. The crust is crunchier, less gummy, the crumb lighter with bigger holes.

Look, make a dough with a measured amount of water. If it's too loose, then make your next dough with 1 - 2 tbsp of additional water. Vary only the amount of water.

Do additional searches in the forum. They'll provide answers you're looking for.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
True, dough can be over kneaded. If you are kneading by hand it seems unlikely. Have you ever tried the window pane test? Take a piece of the dough and stretch it in all directions, like Silly Putty. Finished dough should stretch to a paper thiness, that you can almost see through, thus the name. If the dough rips it is not yet ready. I like to start me kneading in the mixer and finish it by hand. It gives me more control. I like to start a little wetter dough. It is easier to add flour at latter stages than it is to add water. Most descriptions of a properly kneaded dough describe it as "Sticky but not Tacky". You can fee the "tacky" but you don't want it to stick to your hand. I'm not sure the nice smooth dough you describe is waht you are shooting for. Usually when my dough gets satiny it means I've added too much flour.

There are some doughs that are meant to be even slacker than "regular" bread. If I remember correctly, Anadama is one of them. In these cases it's likely that the dough will clear the sides of your mixef but not the bottom, meaning that if you raise the hook there will still be an attacment to the bottom of the bowl. That's the way it should be.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
With reference to the first paragraph of your post, yes Pete, chances are your dough was too dry!

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