Author Topic: Kneading - what exactly does it do and how long should you do it?  (Read 2175 times)

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Offline Wazatron

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Another thread made brought this question up in my head, but I thought it would be more appropriate to start a new thread since it really had nothing to do with the topic of the last.

My quesiton is about kneading - I know bascially what kneading does, or I think I do, but I'm not sure what the difference in the dough would be if you kneeded it 5 minutes vs 30 minutes.

Does more kneading give a lighter dough or a denser dough?
I'm assuming you can over-knead the dough.  What would that do?
How do you know when you've kneaded enough?

I'm thinking I'm not kneading enough.  The last couple of times I've made dough it's acted very strangely.  For example, when I try to shape it up into a ball to rest, the dough won't stick together: it just kind of mashes together, with a big "crease" where I folded the dough.  This becomes a problem when I roll it out 'cause those creases don't go away, even after rolling, and the bread/dough/crust bakes uneven where the creases were.

Is this the result of under-kneading?

thanks!! I'll get there yet!


Offline chiguy

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Re: Kneading - what exactly does it do and how long should you do it?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2006, 06:19:18 PM »
 Hi Wazatron,
  You have not indicated how long you are kneading the dough and what is the hydration. It is very possible that the dough is under kneaded or the recipe you are using lacks proper hydration? Also you have to be sure you are not using too much bench flour, i always found it better to leave back maybe 10% of the flour from the original recipe to use as bench flour during the kneading process. Over kneading would break down the gluten structure that we strive so hard to achieve. It is probably more common to over knead using a mixer than by hand. I use a mixer myself, so i am no expert on hand kneading, maybe you can explain you're procedure so other's may help you analyze this problem. The dough definetely sounds a bit on the dry side, a well mixed dough has a smooth satin appearance, not sticky to the touch. It is pliable and tends to form into a ball easily.   Chiguy

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Kneading - what exactly does it do and how long should you do it?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006, 06:49:27 PM »
Wazatron,

I think your problem may be a combination of inherent shortcomings of your stand mixer and possibly using a low-hydration dough formulation or a large dough batch size, especially one based on high-gluten flour. Most home stand mixers just don't do a particularly good job of kneading pizza doughs under these conditions. It is possible to overknead a dough but it will be difficult to do this if the kneading is done by hand. I discussed the matter of overkneading at Reply 9 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1984.msg17650.html#msg17650. I also discussed overkneading in the context of overall stand mixer shortcomings at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1159.0.html.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 24, 2006, 06:52:19 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Kneading - what exactly does it do and how long should you do it?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2006, 07:07:15 PM »
First of all I gotta say this site is amazing. You guys are really quality people to be sharing your expertise and helping so many people like this!  I can't tell you how much I (and I can tell others) appreciate it!

Okay, back to the point.  The recipe I was making was actually for Focaccia bread, but I thought it would be a nice way to "practice" making dough; proofing yeast, using the mixer, resting, kneading, etc.  However, looking over the recipe I'm wondering if the main problem was that my yeast never really activated.  The recipe was:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water

However, their direction were to just throw everything together into the bowl without proofing the yeast.  I made sure I added hotter water than normal when just proofing, as I read somewhere to do that when not proofing.  Once mixed and rested, the dough didn't rise that much either.  I didn't use much bench flour either - it just wasn't necessary.

Today I decided to try again, and I proofed the yeast with the water before mixing everything together.  It's on the counter right now, and has risen a lot - WAY more than when I made it before.  I'm wondering if my inexperienced fumblings so far are more to do with reviving yeast and such.

Anyhow, that's what I did.  I just got my cutter pan in the mail today and am going to try my first DMK thin-crust this weekend (which is why I've been "practicing" with the focaccia bread).  Wish me luck! :)

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Kneading - what exactly does it do and how long should you do it?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2006, 07:27:02 PM »
Wazatron,

Based on what you said, I think we can rule out dough batch size, flour type and hydration level as potential sources of your problem. I think you may have hit on the solution. I know that some recipes call for putting active dry yeast (ADY) in with the flour and using warmer water to help activate the ADY. I personally think the better approach is to rehydrate (proof) the ADY in a small amount of warm water (around 100 degrees F) and add it to the rest of the water, which should be on the cool side if the dough is to be subjected to cold fermentation. The reason your dough rose so much was because of a combination of using all warm water and one tablespoon of yeast. That's about one and a half of the small supermarket packets.

Peter

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Kneading - what exactly does it do and how long should you do it?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2006, 08:58:48 PM »
Thanks for your help! I just thought I'd post a follow-up to how the bread came out tonight.  It certainly rose a lot more - I didn't have the creases/folds baking strange this time, but there was kind of like a layer of think under-cooked dough, and then everythign above that puffed up real nice.  Strange.

Anyway, I think this was a good way to kind of break into the dough-making process.  I'm anxious to try the DMK thin crust this weekend.

Thanks again for all your help! I'll continue to read the boards and learn more and more!!!


 

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