The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from the dirty south!

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kellymooreclark's picture

Hello from the dirty south!

Hey everyone!  I'm new to this break baking thing, but I have a very addictive personality, so I've been researching and practicing for about a month now.
So, I have a silly newbie questions about punching down and there a newbie section to the forum? I tried the search bar, but didn't see what I was looking for.

I know you mix, knead, rise, punch you knead again after the punch down?  Also, once it rises again, and is ready for shaping, do you punch down and/or knead?

Thanks for the help!!
kelly(from Louisiana!) 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

To answer your Q's ... it depends on the dough recipe.  Punching down is reserved mainly for instant type low hydration yeast breads and if you have a punching striek that needs therapy.  Sourdoughs don't get "punched."  Kneading is a part of mixing, some of us don't do it anymore (no knead bread) and are into "stretching and folding"  (S&F's)  (also means slap and fold for the more aggressive)  and  ... 

About the site search box; always good to use more than one word or even ask it simple questions.

how many times to knead      or    when and how to shape the dough    

when to punch the heck out of my dough     or    how to slap and fold a wet dough  or   what is stretch and fold

I'd also like to extend a big hardy... Welcome to TFL!

kellymooreclark's picture

Thanks for your reply! Excited to learn!

meirp's picture

definitely follow Mini Oven's good advise (and the recipe's). In general, I've learned that the brunt of the kneading is for developing gluten and it mainly comes after the initial mixing - look up the "window pane test", which tells you if you've kneaded enough. After your dough has gone through bulk fermentation, you are looking more to degas, which I think includes "punching down" as one of the methods (try searching for "degas" on this site, as well) the dough and/or stretch and folding. The handling of the dough should get more and more cautious as you proceed, so that by shaping, you are mainly interested in developing surface tension in the outer part of the dough (and a nice shape), while preserving the nice bubbles that you've developed during the fermentation stages. My 2 cents.

kellymooreclark's picture

Thanks for your reply!  This is very helpful!  To hear you say that the kneading is really for developing the gluten helps me to realize I don't need to continually do this.  I'll search and check out the things you suggested above.
Thanks again and wish me luck!

meirp's picture

if you follow instructions on this great site, you won't need luck :-)

nadira2100's picture

As a fellow southerner and louisianian welcome! :) As everyone has said above, it depends on the recipe. If you scroll down on the front page of TFL they have some "lessons" for beginners and some good chapters for newbies if you haven't found them already. Cheers!

mattie405's picture

Welcome from another down in Louisiana. You will definitely find all the help you need right here on this forum. I don't do much baking during the hot summers down here so I don't get to the forum much but I'm sure all the great bakers here will all pitch in and answer all your questions.