How To Knead Dough

How to knead bread dough
Published on
19 July 2022
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

Apart from eating it, kneading bread dough is the most enjoyable part of making bread! It can sound like a daunting task with many methods out there -including no-knead recipes. It can make you wonder why knead bread anyway? Here is a quick guide on how to knead dough for beginners, so you can get started without needing to be a bread expert. It’s so simple, it just takes a mixing bowl, your hands and about 10-15 minutes, so what are you waiting for?

​​How to knead dough step-by-step

1) Measure the water into a large mixing bowl

2) Add the salt and any other dry ingredients (excluding the yeast) into the water and whisk until dissolved

Whisk the dry ingredients

3) Add the flour and yeast to the bowl

Add the flour and yeast

4) Slowly bring the flour into the liquid with your hand or a dough scraper and combine until it becomes a shaggy mass

5) Tip the mixture onto a work surface and knead the dough gently by stretching it with both hands for about 5-7 minutes. Don’t add extra flour to the table!

6) Pick up the dough with a hand on each side and begin to throw the dough back on the surface. Repeat for around 7-8 minutes until the dough is springy and stretchy

How to tell when you have finished kneading

Let the dough relax on the table for 1 minute. Then break off a small piece, and play with it in your fingertips. If it feels gassy and strong, it’s ready. If not, continue kneading for a few more minutes. Another way of testing is to use the windowpane test.

What if I need to knead for longer?

If you feel your dough is not ready and requires more kneading, place your dough in the bowl, cover and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes. This will allow your arms to have a rest whilst the dough will continue to mature whilst it cools down. Once the times up, return to the workbench and continue kneading intensively, as in step 7.

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Tips for kneading bread dough

  • Try not to add extra flour as it can result in crumbly bread. Bread dough tends to thicken up as it is kneaded anyway
  • For some other effective methods to knead bread dough see my hand kneading techniques guide
  • Prepare your work surface before you start by making sure it is clean
  • Use a timer to keep an eye on how long you are kneading, it saves getting your phone covered in flour
  • Listen to the radio or tv whilst you knead to alleviate the boredom
  • If using a wood surface, rub a drop of oil on it before kneading to prevent the dough from sticking
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