The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

when to stop kneading?

arizsun's picture

when to stop kneading?

Hello all

I've been baking quite while but one thing it always makes me ???? is when to stop kneading.

Let's assume I just knead without streach and fold, dough is low hydration (bagel, pretzel etc), and using KitchenAid mixer with dough hook.


When you start kneading, it's kinda shaggy

1) then, it starts to firm up

2) it clears the sid of the bowl but things are still stuck on the side of the bowl.

3) side of the bowls becomes clean.

4) it becomes firmer, starts to ride up the dough hook, you need more strength to pull apart a part of the dough

5) all of sudden, it loosens up. No more riding-up the hook, and starts slapping the side of the bowl.



Is the stage 5 over kneading? It sure makes better window-pane at the stage 5 since it's easier to strech.



Is there any way to tell when is the right time to stop other than window pane?


thanks bunches!







Franko's picture

Once you hear the slap it's time to stop and check your dough. If you let it run too long at this stage you run the risk of overheating the dough. At this stage I would normally take the dough out of the mixer and finish kneading the dough by hand if it was required.


arizsun's picture


thank you for your help.

that's how I always feel but it happens all of sudden (even at speed 2) I always freak out


Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

It's hard to tell, can we have a few more details? Such as:

How long and at what speed did you mix the dough?

Do you have the recipe?

Was there an autolyse phase?

Because if it were a straight dough or a recipe without a pre-mix rest period it is very likely that at stage 5) the flour is just becoming fully hydrated. The biggest indicators with those types of doughs are; is it shiny or hard to work with? No? Fugedabouteht!

arizsun's picture

Brot Backer:

it's Hamelman's soft pretzel recipe, supposed to be.

PATE fermentees:
144g type550
94g water
2.8g salt
1g dry yeast

578g type550
340g water
11.6g of salt
6g dry yeast
36g soft butter
7.2g diastatic malt powder

thank you for your help!



LindyD's picture

Hi Arizun,

Just wondered if you did the above conversions or if you found them on the Internet, as none of Hamelman's formulas are listed in grams....the one disappointing aspect of Bread.

If you did the calculations, did you include the corrected yeast weight that appeared in his 2010 errata sheet?


arizsun's picture

Um, I found on the internet. I used to own the book but gave it away. Stupid of me.

I guess someone converted it and that makes sense because I believe it's bit wet dough for a pretzel style bread. otherwise it comes out ok

I didn't know about the "errata sheet" and I will buy it again WITH it. Thank you for the info.



Janknitz's picture

Sorry for the title, but that's really the answer.  Different doughs are kneaded to different stages of development--it depends on many factors like hydration level, ingredients, type of crumb you're going for, etc.

Often formulas will give you some clues: "knead until smooth and satiny", or "knead until a moderate stage of gluten development" (I particularly like this direction)

Wild Yeast has a good tutorial on her blog about characteristics of dough at various stages of development.  She uses the window pane test to determine the stage of development (e.g. the dough will thin but still tear easily at a moderate stage of development, the dough will stretch thinly without tearing at a full stage of gluten development). 

I find these directions clear and easy to follow.  When the recipe/formula is silent, I will usually go for a moderate stage of development (sometimes more) and find that's usually successful. 

If all doughs were treated the same, the results for some would not be as good.  But I totally understand where you are coming from--my Kitchen Aid really taught me to bake a basic loaf of bread by the criteria described in the KA book that came with the mixer.  When you apply these rules to other breads, you may mess with the hydration level by adding too much flour or water to get that same consistency, and end up with a different bread than you were really trying to make.  My breads were very heavy for many years because I thought they all needed feel like the KA manual describes and I was adding tons of flour to doughs that were meant to be high in hydration and kneaded with a very light touch. 

arizsun's picture


Thank you for the tips. Today, I made a baugette without (well, sort of) worrying about actually eating it but to concentrate on studying different stage of gluten deveolpment.

I did window pane over and over and seems like what i thought over kneaded is actually when window pane starts to happen.

Because the dough becomes more like chewing gum rather than "pull a part of the dough and it springs back quickly", I alwasy thought that's over-kneaded.

I think I will make same recipe over and over and will learn from basic again.

Thank you for the tips everyone!



supperstone's picture

Hi Arizsun,

I am a beginner bread baker and I have been making the same old white loaf for a few weeks now to try and perfect it before I move on to more complicated things.

I don't have a mixer so I hand knead. In basic bread recipes like the ones on the side of the flour packet it usually says something like "knead for 10 minutes" and that's it. So that is what I used to do. I would time 10 minutes and then set the dough aside for its first rise.

My bread was always turning out a bit heavy and dense. I learned about the window pane test and used that. My bread was still dense. I tried different flour, I tried baking stone, baking sheet etc etc.

This went on forever. I hated it. What was I doing wrong? Should I just give up?

I started watching videos on kneading technique and the windowpane test.

Well, it seems I have cracked it. My dough just hadn't developed enough gluten.  I was getting a windowpane effect but it was not stretchy enough. If I could sort of stretch it until it started to break then that was good enough for me.

Now I realise it shouldn't break even when you get it really thin. And now I put the dough over some text in a book and see if I can read the text through the dough. That's a good window pane (bear in mind I am talking about white bread with strong white bread flour - it will be different with other doughs).

It also appears my kneading technique was not quite working. I once kneaded for AN HOUR looking for that light springy dough but nothing happened.

People on this forum told me to autolyse. It made a huge difference. I mix the flour and water in a bowl until completely mixed and then cover and leave for 30-60 mins. This kick starts the whole process. I then add my fast action yeast and salt and start to knead.  After a few minutes I leave the dough for 10 -15 mins and go and do something else. When I come back there is always a huge difference. Eventually the dough really is light and satiny. It is almost like a puffy pillow with no heaviness at all. I had never had dough like that in the past. I had always just assumed it was done.

All this of course takes some time and I am amazed to see videos of people kneading for 5 minutes or so and creating this wonderfully light dough. I can't do it. Yet. But I am happy to take the time at the moment.

I also plan try Richard Bertinet's method which is quite unique.

Sorry to waffle but for me the biggest problem was not knowing when my dough had developed enough gluten and hopefully my discoveries will help you in the same way they helped me!