How long should you knead bread dough for?
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How long should you knead bread dough for?

Hello, it’s Rhiannon from The Epsom Bakehouse.
I wanted to answer another one of your bread making questions today, and that question
is one that always comes up in my bread making classes and it’s ‘how long should you actually
knead for?’. It’s all very well in the recipe books – they often say ‘knead for 10 minutes’.
Well, that’s all very well and good but perhaps you’ve started off a bit slower than the person
in the book, or you’re using a slightly different technique. And it might take you longer or
shorter than 10 minutes to get to the point when your dough is ready to be left to prove
for the first time. So I thought that I’d talk today a little bit about ‘how long should
you knead?’. I’ve got some dough here – as you can see, a little sample of dough, nice
and soft. It’s been kneaded together, and what you’re looking for, for a firm dough
like this (which has a fairly low percentage of water in it), is that once you’ve kneaded,
you should be able to get to the point (and I’ve got quite a large piece of dough here),
where you can tease it out. You can see what I’m doing, I’m turning it in my hands and
just teasing it out – don’t pull it all in one direction otherwise it will just split
in the middle. Gently pull the centre out until you get to the point where you can see
the light through it. Can you see that? That’s called the windowpane test. Just like the
windows and the sun streaming in behind me, you should be able to see your fingers through
the dough. You should be able to stretch it that thin. And that’s because you’ve developed
the gluten network, the stretchy protein that’s the scaffold of your dough. You’ve stretched
it and kneaded it enough so that it will give support to your dough and allows you to stretch
it that thin. You shouldn’t have any tears or breaks in your dough, it should just stretch
to that point. So, if you haven’t reached that point, you need to keep kneading, even
if it’s a bit longer that 10 minutes! Use it as a really enjoyable quiet time, you can’t
do much else while you’ve got your hands in sticky dough. So just enjoy and keep kneading
until you get there. If you’d like to know a bit more, leave a comment and I’ll get back
to you, or you can email me on [email protected] Otherwise, I’ll say bye for now and let me
know if you’ve got another bread making question you’d like answered.

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1 thought on “How long should you knead bread dough for?

  1. Thank you, that's exactly what I needed (no pun intended) to know. My bread of late has not been rising as well as it should, tried everything else, probably not kneading for long enough. Thanks for such a no nonsense lesson, Dave.

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