The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Books with hand kneading topics?

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elcouisto's picture

Books with hand kneading topics?

While I admire Peter Reinhart and all the fantastic bakers who published baking books, it's obvious that the majority of them have recipes tweaked for machine kneading... I'd like to read more about hand kneading and I'd love to know what kind of books are available.

For example, in "The Bread Builders, Hearth loaves and masonry ovens", Daniel Wing talks about how Alan Scott used to knead his large batches (100+ pounds) of Desem bread by hand, fully using the autolyse technique. He also talks about how Chad Robertson used to do his kneading of large batch of dough by hand too. It was a very short part in the book, but that's the kind of info I'm looking for...

EDIT: Old books, from the 70s and 80s, from respected bakers would be awesome. The 70s edition of "The Complete Book of Breads" by "Bernard Clayton" is a good example.


LindyD's picture

I'm not aware of any recent books which have any in depth instructions on hand kneading, but there are plenty of videos:

The above is just one of many - but I'd skip the ones produced by "expert village."

RobynNZ's picture

I too thought of a video, there's a beautiful one originally posted here by Jeremy, in which a large amount of dough is mixed:

and MC's series on Gérard Rubaud is wonderful:


elcouisto's picture

I saw "Les Blés d'or" before, but the Gérard Rubaud one I didn't. It's really amazing. Thanks!

PaddyL's picture

His books are very good, as is the James Beard (Beard on Bread).  I'm afraid my favourite book is out of print, but there should be others - Beth Hensperger comes to mind - which talk about kneading.  It used to be my favourite part of bread making until I got arthritis in my hands and now, I have to depend on the KitchenAid, though I still manage to get my hands into the dough, however briefly.

elcouisto's picture

Old books like the 1970s edition of "The Complete Book of Breads" is what I'm looking for... I can't find it and newer editions are all revised with newer and more modern equipment in mind, which is sad :(

hilo_kawika's picture

Hi Elcouisto,

Here's a link to which has your book in the years you're interested in;  it's item #5:

Just copy and paste the above link and you're good to go.

The same site also has Kaplan's book mentioned by ananda below.  Use the title to search for best results...


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii

ananda's picture


It's a weighty academic tome, but Stephen Lawrence Kaplan's book "Good Bread is Back", is also a great read.

He has a section looking at how the French bakers were reticent to use mechanical mixers even as late as the years before the Second World War.   The section on pp. 111 - 114 paints an amazing picture of what it must have been like to be a baker's apprentice in the late 19th Century.   The master baked the bread, and his "groaner" was given the other, somewhat thankless task.

If you have the Wing and Scott book you should read about "bassinage" on pp. 9 and 10.   Also, you could take a look at this link for a good discussion we enjoyed earlier this year.

Best wishes


elcouisto's picture

Thanks Andy for that recommendation. I just ordered it, it should be a great read.

Also, I did read about "bassinage" in "The Bread Builders". It's a usefull technique that I sometimes use. I read that you're not a fan of it, though :-D

ananda's picture

Hi D,

No, I don't like the "bassinage" technique.   I do really like to ensure the dough is correctly hydrated right from the start.

The technique discussed with DonD was more autolyse really.

My dislike is largely based on using the big spiral mixers as discussed with Larry.   However, when you read Kaplan you will soon start to feel very sorry for the "groaners" pouring sweat into their doughas they mixed massive quantities by hand in the dough troughs!

Enjoy Kaplan; the history is great


Franko's picture

Richard Bertinet's new book 'Crust' has some excellent instruction on hand kneading as well as shaping. The one I bought also came with a DVD of Bertinet demonstrating his hand knead method on two different types of dough. Not sure if all the editions come with the DVD, but worth looking into.