Kneading - by hand or machine?
I have got a sense from random trawling through this site that many people knead their dough with a machine. I'm not exactly in the midst of an active baking community where I live (in fact I'm the only baker I know) but I hadn't realised that there was such a lot of people using a machine for domestic baking.
I'd be interested to hear which way people prefer to do their kneading, machine or hand, and why you choose that way. Have you tried the other way and found it not up to scratch somehow? Is it time issues that make you use a machine? Are you a luddite and refuse to use technology? What's your preference and why?
For my part, the only time I have used a machine was when a bloke I was sharing a house with got given a bread machine for Christmas, and in fact that was what got me started baking. I now do it all by hand. The reason is primarily that I like the feel of the dough under my hands. It makes it feel like it is a personal relationship I am developing with my food (I do have more normal relationships in my life as well though!). It is part of the creative process for me. There are practical reasons too - the first being I don't have a machine! The second being I wouldn't be confident buying one as I don't know what to look for, and anyway, third, I have a tiny kitchen and have nowhere to put it. The downside of hand kneading is that (maybe my technique needs some work) I do get a bit sore after a while.
Somewhere else on the site, someone was talking about kneading 25lb of dough by hand. I'd like to be able to do that one day - those quantities I thought were firmly in the realms of the machine.