The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman, Hand Kneading

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dcbrow's picture
dcbrow

Hamelman, Hand Kneading

I'm new here and have enjoyed all the great information.  Thanks to everyone.


I've been a bread baker for years, starting with Amy's Bread (anyone still bake from that book?  I loved many of the recipes).  


I recently got Hamelman's book out of the library and almost didn't try any recipes because everything is about mixing on speed 1 or speed 2 and I'm trying to get away from using a mixer at all.  But reading around here I seems that some people use Hamelman's formulas and mix and knead by hand.  So any advice about how to convert the mixer speeds to hand kneading would be greatly appreciated.


Cheers,


--Dave

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Thanks for reminding me.  For some reason, I've only ever made one or two recipes, but I'll take it to bed with me tonight and have another look.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Dave.


Welcome to TFL!


There are some here who knead all their breads by hand. You can do it.


The technique that works best depends on the dough for the particular bread you are making. The general answer is that Hamelman describes the desired dough consistency after initial mixing for most if not all his formulas. You just need to get a sense of how different degrees of gluten development look and feel and pay attention to your dough. The number of machine mixing minutes Hamelman gives are just rough estimates anyway, and how they apply to home stand mixers is open to debate.


Read up on the French Fold, Stretch and Fold, Fold in the Bowl techniques. Try the TFL search engine. It's pretty good. And, of course, there are lots of folks here willing to answer specific questions as they arise.


So, what kinds of bread do you want to make?


David

paddyboomsticks's picture
paddyboomsticks

And exclusively hand-knead, with not to much trouble. As David says, stretch and fold, etc. = No problems! Hamelman actually does give a description of using kneading instead I believe in the front of the book.


Personally, I just knead till the gluten has formed. People tend to go on a bit about window pane, etc. I personally think that's overkill. 5 - 10 minutes of hand kneading is more than enough; you will feel the flour changing in your hands. When it's really holding together - a nice, unified piece of dough, stretchy not tear-y - you're done. :)

holds99's picture
holds99

In this video Richard Bertinet is mixing sweet dough by hand using his "slap and fold" method.  The same principle applies to most doughs.  You want to work the gluten and introduce air into the dough in order to create a nice dough with elasticity and extensibility, which is what he's doing very effectively in this video.  As you can see he almost magically transforms a wet glob into a lovely piece of dough in a few minutes.


http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough


After you've mixed your dough by hand you can do a few stretch and folds (2-3) during bulk fermentation, at 20 minute intervals, to further improve the gluten development and add a bit more air, which should inprove the crumb.


 Incidentally, IMHO Hamelman's "Bread" is a great book.


Have fun and good luck with your baking,


Howard


 

kanin's picture
kanin

Hi there. I knead everything by hand. I think speed 1 most closely resembles hand kneading -- I always use Bertinet's slap and fold method (mentioned by holds99) if the hydration of the dough allows it.


When kneading by hand, gluten will likely be underdeveloped. I always adjust the amount of yeast to a smaller amount so it can have a longer and slower fermentation. The long rest with a few stretch and folds lets the dough develop itself without much kneading.

dcbrow's picture
dcbrow

Thanks for links to the video.  I watched it 3 times and then made my wife watch it.  I tried it with the pain rustique and I thought my end result was good, but I really didn't get a smooth dough.  It was still a bit rough looking.  I did it for about 20 minutes and then quit.  If I use that stretch and fold technique should I expect to be able to get a windowpane type effect?  I couldn't get it with my first try.  Also, my loaf was a bit dense, but I think that may have been because I didn't let it rise long enough.


Can you only use that stretch fold technique on very wet dough?  What hydration percentage is the cut-off?


Thanks.  I'll keep trying.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Dave.


Stretch and fold probably works best with moderately wet doughs - 70-80% hydration. This is not to say it does not work at higher or lower hydrations.


If you still have Hamelman, he describes another technique on page 249 (in some printings) of "Bread." You keep the dough in your mixing bowl and do 20 stretch and folds using a flexible scraper, rest the dough 20 minutes and repeat the 20 folds and 20 minute rests  2 more times.


This has become my favorite method to develop gluten for slack dough breads. My hands stay clean, as does my work surface. I get a smooth dough quickly. And it can achieve window paning.


If this description isn't clear enough, or if your copy of Hamelman doesn't have this technique, I've written up a more detailed description I'd be happy to share.


David

holds99's picture
holds99

In addition to David's suggestions here's a couple of short videos that may be of help.  The first one on shaping and scoring is about 10 minutes, the second on scoring is about 3 minutes.  I think they may shed some light on handling the dough after it is mixed and has gone through bulk fermentation.  As you can see in the first video the dough that Theresa Greenway is working with and shaping a fairly wet dough.


http://northwestsourdough.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/shaping-and-slashing-dough-videos/


Good luck with your quest,


Howard


EDIT: One final thought...If you're not using a scale to weigh/scale your ingredients, that may be causing you a problem.  It's really important to accurately weigh/scale your ingredients especially flour and water. 


Also, If you haven't done so it will help you immensely to carefully read and understand the first 92 pages of Hamelman's book "Bread" for a detail description of the 11 steps in the systematic baking process.  FWIW, I went through my book and tabbed, highlighted and underscored (in red ball point), key information and passages in that section.  There's a wealth of key information there and Hamelman has done an excellent job of presenting it in a logical, systematic way.