I kneaded it for at least ten minutes and it never became any smoother than this, always tearing. I'm sure it's something simple... Any suggestions?
What's in it? Any autolyse? Hand knead or machine? Volume or scale measurements?
You haven't given us much to work with as far as understanding how you got to this point.
In general, you might want to add a couple more Tablespoons of water to allow the flour to get totally hydrated and then after an initial mix, let it sit for 30-60 minutes to stabilize. Then begin kneading and complete mixing. I think people want to rush the process from mix to knead.
If you post your recipe and the timing you used to get to this point, we can be of more help>
I did rush things a little. I allowed time for rest in the middle of my kneading.
I used a poolish made of 1 C water and 1 C flour, waaaait a second. Just typing that helped me realize that I added an extra cup of flour along the way. Is there any way to add enough water to recover at this point? It's been resting for about an hour now.
I added the poolish to:
5 C flour (should have been 4)
1 C water
1 TBS salt and
2 tsp more yeast. Yikes!
I have had dough turn out too dry for one reason or another and I just make hole in the middle of the dough and add some water to the hole and close it up very carefully to trap the water. Then slowly and gently start kneading the dough to distribute the water...the dough will absorb the water but you have to be patient and work slowly. You can keep doing this until the dough reaches the right texture/moisture level.
Before I read that last comment I put it in the cuisinart with 1/2 cup water and let it spin. I kneaded a little more and now I will wait and see... I just hope I didn't murder the yeast. Thanks for the suggestions, now I know what dry dough looks/feels like. It was like kneading a football!
Is to wet your hands as you knead, and keep wetting them until the dough is hydrated to your liking. That way you don't douse it with too much water.
you may want to consider doing what I do to save yourself from this sort of situation. I have been experimenting with sourdough preferments lately, using my existing bread recipes. I start by printing out a copy of the recipe, then I make notes as to the changes (this is the anal engineer in me). It looks something like this...
8 oz Sourdough starter (100% hydration) (Deduct 4 oz flour and 4 oz water from original recipe)
Add 4 oz flour (deduct from original recipe)
Add 4 oz water (deduct from original recipe)
Mix to combine well then cover and let sit on counter for 8 hours or overnight.
Total deduct from original recipe is 8 oz flour and 8 oz water.
I then make the deductions for each item on the recipe by striking through the original weight of the ingredient and writing the new weight next to it IN RED, and I do this BEFORE I handle any ingredients to make my preferment. This is the planning stage which I find critical when creating new recipes. When I go to mix the dough the following morning, the balance of the ingredients are already calculated and noted, so there is no confusion about ingredient weights. If the recipe turns out well, I can then write a new recipe from my notes and put in the computer and the recipe binder.
Hope this helps you and others in planning for variations on your existing recipes. Just remember, you can't take enough notes of what you are doing, especially when you become MY age. LOL