The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

KA blog and hand kneading vs bread machine

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

KA blog and hand kneading vs bread machine

I just read the following blog on the KA website.


http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2010/08/25/curious-about-yeast-bread-old-traditions-meet-new-techniques/


Near the end there is a photo that shows two slices of bread, one kneaded in a bread machine, one by hand and points out the machine kneaded one is much lighter and airier. It doesn't say why!


Since I knead by hand and would like my sandwich bread to look more like the one from the machine, I hope someone can tell me how one might modify their hand kneading technique to create the lighter airier loaf.


thanks


wayne


Picture is at this link, their comment is quoted below:


http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/files/2010/06/IMG_35291.jpg


"On the left, bread whose dough was kneaded in a bread machine. On the right, bread from dough kneaded by hand.


If you prefer a lighter, airier bread, and have a bread machine, use the machine to knead your dough before baking in the oven. For a denser loaf, knead by hand."


 

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Well, as much as I'm a fan of King Arthur, you need to keep in mind that KAF has an active interest in selling you a bread machine.  AND there are many bakers who will swear by them and will tell you that they knead just as well. 


I happen to disagree.  I learned to bake bread using my hands.  It is still and always will be, the only true way to get to know your dough.  It is the only way to really understand how it is developing and building character.  Bread baking is as much science as it is art and how can you know if your bread has developed the right gluten, or if it is the right temperature.. if it's churning away inside a bread machine?? 


Kneading by hand is so fulfilling to me as a baker.  It's half the reason I love to bake.  Simply put, you don't get that pleasure by using a machine. 


With that said, today I mix most of my doughs now by machine.   I have baked long enough that I know just from looking and touching my dough - if its ready or not.  I've kind of served my baking time and I like the convenience of the mixers now.  I use my Electrolux Magic Mill or my KitchenAid Professional.  However, alot of times I usually pull it out before the knead is complete to finish it by hand (read that "enjoy the dough").  If I complete my knead by machine, I still do a temperature check and still do a window pane test. 


Cook's Illustrated did a study recently on bread using a mixer like a KitchenAid, a hand mix/knead and a bread machine.  The bread machine didn't fare well.. it produced an inferior loaf.  The hand method and mixer method were practically tied in superiority.  So.. it's up to you what you want to use.


Here is another interesting angle to your question that another baker posed.  You might read it for further insight and also some hints about mixing and dough temps, etc.


http://www.beyondsalmon.com/2010/03/hand-vs-machine-kneaded-bread-dough.html

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

One of the bread books I was reading last night said the plastic arms in the bread machine for kneading will "cut" the gluten strands instead of what it is supposed to do. I don't use bread machines, but I thought it was an interesting comment.


Jean P. (VA)

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

That very well could be right, Jean.  I know Peter Reinhardt addresses the issue lightly in his book, the Bread Bakers Apprentice.  I have seen a couple of different studies done, comparing the methods and I have not really ever seen anything spectacular come out of a bread machine.. yes, you get dough, but there is a forum here with someone trying to develop holes in her bread.  I doubt she will ever get them if she continues to use the bread machine.


I bake with both mixer and by hand.  I get excellent results from both.  Just my experience and it may be different for others.  I just hate seeing bakers - particularly beginning bakers rely too much on machines.  They truly miss the pleasure of bread baking.. at least in my opinion.  Unless they are only concerned about end product.. half the fun of baking bread is playing with dough.

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

BellesAZ,


Thank you for your reply, I agree. I think folks that use a bread machine may want to "graduate" to the real thing. (my words!)


Jean P., (VA)

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

I refuse to buy a mixer.  My brother recieved a kitchen aid mixer years ago as a university graduation present.  I think he's only used it a handful of times over the past 7 or so years...


I only use a large stainless steel mixing bowl, plastic scraper, rubber spatula, or a wooden spoon, and wet hands to make all of my doughs.  Using autolyse is very helpful too which cuts down on the kneading time.  Also, stretch and folds develop the gluten with minimal work.


When I'm done, my kitchen counter is clean, my hands are relatively clean, and all I have to do is clean the mixing bowl and whatever utensils I used...


Also, from a cost point of view, my metal bowl was $15 to $20.00, and I can mix around 5kg of dough with minimal effort.  A kitchen aid is $300-$400.  I have better things to spend with the money I would have spent on a mixer...


Tim

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

To each his own, but from a loaf quality standpoint, hand mixing and machine mixing (if you understand the basics of bread science) show relatively little difference in structure or quality of loaf.  And I dare say, I'd be willing to put my machine mixed loaves up against anyones hand mixed loaf.. I have never noticed any difference whatsoever in the quality. 


Machines are mixing dough in all the top, major artisan bakeries in Europe.  With the exception of boutique bakeries, machines are now the norm.


I won't tell someone not to use whatever method they want.. but learn the basics of bread baking first so you're able to recognize quality, structure and proper mixes.  Bread baking is different for all of us.. how we get there isn't as important as the joy we take from the journey.

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

BelleAZ,


Maybe you know the answer to a question I have asked, but as yet have not rec'd an answer. I have not used the "weighing" method yet, after decades of baking I still use volume. I want to change into this and tried it the other day.


My question is when I weigh the dry ingredients according to oz., do I keep the button on those oz., or do I switch over to "fluid oz"?


I even called KA and spoke with someone in the kitchen, they were kind of hesitant, but said to leave it on the original oz. She didn't sound too sure.


If you know, thank you and even if you don't, thanks anyway!


Jean P. (VA)

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Jean, If I'm making a KA recipe, I change the "View by" Volume and Weight to Weight.  Then I switch to Oz on my scale and just weigh everything there.. I don't change it.  I think if it meant fluid ounces, it would say it.  I do understand your confusion here, I was confused too.  Maybe I still am and I'm doing it wrong.. that I'm not 100% certain of!  LOL 


I'm like you.. back when I first started baking breads, we only had cups for measures, but my mother would fluff the flour, spoon it into the cup and then level it off with a butter knife.  She would just adjust her hydration and normally, it wasn't off by too much, if at all.  Weighing is like learning a whole new way to bake!  It's so rewarding to weigh now, no more guessing on water, having to adjust flour, etc.  Or worse of all.. forgetting which # of cup you just put in the bowl.. was that #5 or #4... lol.


I have the Escali scale with a tare function.  It has all the weight options, US, metric, etc.  What are you using?   I had one before that I hated.  It was confusing and hard to read.  It did not have the Tare feature, which has been my lifesaver!


I just made the Seeded Hamburger Buns from King Arthur yesterday for a block party we had.  These buns are my favorite and I just substituted half the water for milk.  I actually doubled my batch and made 12.  They were incredible.. didn't add the flavoring to the dough as I like my bun to taste like bread.  I did put sesame seeds on top of half of them, though.


http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/seeded-hamburger-buns-recipe


msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

BellesAZ,


Thank you for the reply, I have made those same buns from KA. (the old way!) Yes they were delicious!


The change is very confusing, but I am going on everyone's advice that it is better and I will tackle it. My scale is the Salter Aquatronic, it does say to use the fluid oz button for liquids, but "Chuck" explained it all to me, maybe you will see his explanation.


Thanks again for answering me. Jean P. (VA)

Chuck's picture
Chuck

When you switch over to weighing all your ingredients (which you should do:-), set your measuring device for a weight measure: either "grams" for metric, or "ounces" for Imperial.


If your measuring device has a "fluid ounces" setting, avoid it. "Fluid onces" is a unit of volume, not a unit of weight, and so is different for different ingredients, and suffers from the same problems that made you switch to weighing your ingredients in the first place. (No scales that I've ever seen even have such a setting, probably because it's not even a weight measure, but possibly also either because it's so confusing or because it's not all that useful:-)


For making bread, "grams" probably work best for several reasons: more recipes come that way; you're allowed to smirk about being a metric convert; you can sound like you work in a science lab; you can sometimes use a European cookbook without having to change anything; and the "ounce" measure is arguably too large/coarse for typical bread ingredients. When faced once on a while with a recipe that only gives ounces, you can either just switch your scale to "ounces" (usually just a single press of a single button), or do a straightforward mathematical conversion (which uses exactly the same factor for all ingredients).


 


(The uncertainty you sense is probably not because folks don't know the answer, but rather because they're still trying to wrap their mind around the idea you have a scale yet it has a fluid ounces setting. Wha??????)


 

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Chuck,


Wow! Thanks so much for the detailed answer, that was just what I was looking for.


I have a Salter Aquatronic scale that does offer the "fluid oz" choice and it says to switch to it for weighing liquids. I had never seen this come up before, so I am so glad to have your clarification.


Now, one step farther, Peter Reinhart converts, but in his book he converts to ounces, not grams. I do have a very involved cookbook, Professional Baking, Le Cordon Bleu. It turned out to be quite a text book, It does have all the conversion techniques, I guess I'd better study it. It seems so involved to me at this point.


Again, thank you for answering me in a clear way. Jean P., (VA)

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

deleted

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Wayne.


I think you have seen, from the previous responses, that the biggest difference in machine and hand mixing is on the baker, not the bread. ;-)


Those important differences aside, the machine mixed bread is different in how high it rose and in the regularity of it's crumb. The higher rise reflects better gluten development. You can achieve very gut gluten development with hand mixing, especially stretch and folds. However, at the limits, machines can mix longer and harder. You may get more gluten development, but at the cost of poorer bread flavor due to oxidation of carotenoids. 


There are things you can do to get a higher loaf with hand mixing. Use a pre-ferment. Use a higher gluten flour. Develop the gluten very well with stretch and folds. Ferment adequately. Shape your loaves very well to get a good gluten sheath. Proof to just the right point.


Beyond that, what you would do would depend on the particulars of your formula, oven, etc.


The finer crumb structure with machine mixing reflects the more regular orientation of the strands of gluten, which, under a microscope, would look more like woven fabric, like a lattice, than the chaotic structure you get with hand mixing. I doubt that this is possible to replicate by hand mixing. However, there are ways you can use ingredients to get essentially the same mouth feel and chew.


I hope this helps.


David


 

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

David,


Thanks for taking the time to answer my original question. I am amazed at how far off track this thread got (how did weight vs volume get in here?)


I have done many of the things you suggest and I think the hardest for me is shaping properly (I understand the goal of surface tension) and know when it is ready to go in the oven.


I'll keep working on it. I don't use a machine since a lot of my baking is on our boat and the power/space requirements make the machine less desirable and I do enjoy hand kneading.


One thing I always worry about is adding too much flour during kneading. I am usually making bread in very humid conditions and wonder if I should hold back some percentage of liquid and if so, how much? Of course it is easier to add flour than water when hand kneading.


wayne

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Stay tuned. I'm about to upload a bit of a tutorial on shaping. I hope it helps you.


David

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

wayne, I would be happy to delete my commentary and apologize that my social networking skills are not as advanced or as helpful as you might have liked.  While you may feel my answer wasn't to your question directly, it did answer the hand vs machine issue - at least from my experience. 


Apologies


PS I just tried to delete my posts can't.  Sorry

deweytc's picture
deweytc

I have been using my Zo for many years.  And I can't believe that it is still working with using almost 7 cups of flour.  I am physically unable to knead by hand.  I use the dough cycle to mix my dough and then remove it to rise in a food grade bucket, then shape and then bake.  Before the TFL was online, I tried kneading by hand, many years ago and not disabled and even tried using a KA mixer and my bread came out very dry.  (Added way to much flour.)  I wished that TFL was available back then.  I have learned so much from this site and thanks to everyone.


Bought a bread machine when they first came out.  I thought that I was in bread heaven.  Growing up in Kansas, there were no bakeries that even attempted to make bread.  So, I did not know what good bread was.  I moved to Traverse City, MI, in 1980, and still no bakery.  It was in the early 90's that I travelled to Paris, and discovered BREAD.  Wished that I have lived in NYC, or Chicago to have access to bakeries.  Traverse City finally got its first bakery called Stone House Bread.  It was very good, but expensive.  That is when I thought that I could make my own SD.  And I did.  I am still using the starter that I made in 2001.  I have since moved back to Kansas because of health reasons and to be closer to family.  My SD starter has changed, but it still makes a good loaf.


I have learned to feel my dough in the machine the same way that people here say about kneading and S & F method.  The only dough I have problems with is rye.  I have given up on making a 50% rye.  My rye comes out dense, with not much rise and very heavy.  I love rye, especially the Swedish Limpa.  Maybe someone could start a new thread about "everything on making a rye loaf" and keep it going.


Thanks,


Duane