The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kneading dough by machine.

cr56f's picture

Kneading dough by machine.

Hey! I'm new to this site. I have kneaded my whole wheat with honey sandwich bread by hand for the last 6 months. I live alone, no family, no entertaining etc. I make two loafs a week and its alright. But I am wondering if I would get a better loaf if I did it in a food possessor or a mixer to knead them with which I am thinking about buying one for that purpose. I would like a variety of points of view on if I would get better texture, rise etc with a machine. If you got an opinion and have done all three ways on which one please tell me why you like doing kneading with a possessor, mixer or by hand. Is one style better for one application or bread type over another? How many people do it by hand now of days? I wonder by not seeing it done on TV that doing it by hand is out of date these days. I could not find anything on the Internet on this subject.

Thanks in advance

curvesarein's picture

You can work the gluten better with a machine for whole wheat bread. You can make 4 or more loaves at once. Knead in 10 minutes , raises in half an hour and ready to bake. I love my new Bosch Universal Mixer and would purchase nothing else. 800 watts and large dough hook. It can be used for many other things too. It is on sale for $359,99 right now, but will end by xmas. They also have a smaller unit for 2 loaves of bread I hear does a good job, but I am glad I got the larger one. Check out pleasant hiil and if you decide to order flourgirl on this site sells them too and distibutes for Pleasant Hill.  She gives a free gift for each item ordered. The smaller unit is $149.00.

Francine's picture

I agree 100% with curvesarein; I would not trade my Bosch Universal Mixer for even a cute as a bug speckled puppy. This machine has been one of the best investments I have ever made.  There are only two of us in this household and I still went with the Universal; I too use it for a multitude of other baking needs.



dosidough's picture

I had to laugh when I read your post...this weekend I made a couple of loaves completely by hand for the first time ever. I mean by hand, no spoon, no whisk, nada. I've been baking bread for several years but I guess I'm a machine gal at heart. Anyway it's sooo gooey. I did enjoy it and will do it again. I live alone too and mostly bake on the weekends which can sometimes be very busy, so I appreciate mixing by machine. I have the Bosch Compact which is affordable and works well with 1 or 2 loaf batches. When time is really precious I pull out the old bread machine and use the dough only cycle to get things going so I can be doing something else while it starts things up. Some days mandatory multi-tasking rules. There are also times I'm making different kinds of bread at one time so I get everything humming.

I think it's great to do it anyway you can. I also agree with curvesarein above that there are breads that benefit from machine mixing where longer kneading times or heavier doughs are the situation.

Welcome aboard and hower you choose to do it...Bake on!

SurebetVA's picture

Just my personal opinioin but if I only made two loaves a week I probably wouldn't invest in a mixer.  I sometimes mix small one or two loaf batches by hand just because I like to and there is nothing like kneading dough by hand to get a real feel for the bread and if you have the patience for it many people even consider it spiritual.  I don't know if I would go that far but certainly something therapeutic about it.  (there is an old classic bread book in my library entitled "Tassajara Bread Book" I think which goes into some detail on the zen qualities of making bread by hand). 

If you have the patience and time to knead the dough by hand I would think it comes out as good as if done in a mixer.  I have never been able to tell any difference in texture or rise.   Note - I've never tried a food processor.

If you are making a bread that is 100% whole wheat it will not rise as high and will be more dense than a loaf that is 50% whole wheat and 50% white flour.  Nothing wrong with either type of bread but it is a matter of which one you prefer.  If you want a higher rise here are some suggestions you can play with.

1) increase the amount of white flour in you bread until you get the rise and texture you want.  Bread flour is good because it is high in gluten.  If you are a fan of 100% whole wheat bread skip this one.

2) Try adding a little Gluten to your loaf...usually instructions on box but I don't usually add much...maybe replace 1/8 to 1/4 cup of flour with gluten in a recipe with 5-6 cups of flour I think.

3) Try Baking with a Baking stone and peel as this stone heats up in the oven before you place the bread on it and it gives your bread extra oven jump.  You can still shape them into free form loaves or you can make boules if you want.

4) There have been several other suggestions on this web site for increased rise and you can do a search on here for them...things like malt instead of honey might make a difference.  I usually add 1 teaspoon of vinegar for a recipe with 5-6 cups of flour.  This along with the gluten mentioned earlier acts as a dough some searches on this website about vinegar and dough conditioners if you want to try this one.

Good luck




elcouisto's picture

I've always kneaded dough by hand and there are adjustments to be made to most of the recipes you'll find. To better understand the differences between hand kneading and machine kneading, get yourself the book "Le gout du pain" by "Raymond Calvel" There is an english translation of that book somewhere...

To me, the mixer is more of a constraint than anything else, but others like it.

BettyR's picture

I don't bake in the machine just mix. I make whole wheat sandwich bread.


I mix my ingredients except for the yeast and let it knead about 1 minute. I turn the machine off and let the dough sit for 30 minutes. I then mix 1/4 cup of warm water, a pinch of sugar and the yeast. Let it proof for 5 minutes then mix it into the dough using a spatula and the machine together to get it mixed in. Then let it sit another 30 minutes.


Then I turn the machine back on and let it go through the kneading cycle, remove the dough to a larger container and let it rise for 1 hour.


Then shape my dough, pan it, and proof it for 40 minutes then bake it. Makes a really nice light and fluffy whole wheat bread.

jyslouey's picture

This has to be the best piece of info on bread machines.  I tried using the dough cycle  for the first time on my bread machine recently and because I have not used the machine in a long while, I proceeded to chose the dough cycle (1.5 hrs) but pressed the wrong button, not knowing I had made a mistake at the time.  I found the bread machine manual recenly and it was when I went through it again that I discovered that I had pushed the quick break cycle.  With the info you have provided I'm now going to make good use of it to help with my kneading as I don't have a mixer.  Thanks for sharing this.  Judy

BettyR's picture

I have been using a bread machine to mix my dough for a very long time. But I have only recently started making whole wheat breads and I was having a devil of a time getting a decent loaf. That was until I read about letting the mixed dough sit to let the gluten develop and to soften the bran. That process gave me a much better loaf.


Then one day I was making my bread and realized I had forgotten to add my yeast. So I bloomed some yeast and added it into my dough that had already been sitting for 30 minutes. Then I let it sit another 30 minutes after I added the yeast before turning the machine on and kneading the dough. I got the best loaf I had ever turned out.


The process of letting the mixed dough sit has a name but I can't remember what it is. Maybe someone will pop in and tell us what it is.

jyslouey's picture

would be the term for the process.  I too have recently started to soak all my flour, not just for wheat and I'm beginning to notice some improvement to my otherwise dense loaves.  Judy

BettyR's picture

that's it!! I haven't tried it with white bread yet but it makes a world of difference with the wheat.

G-man's picture

I started making bread in my KitchenAid mixer. It was a good way to introduce myself to the process, and I enjoyed the results a fair amount. Eventually I wanted to make pizza, and everything I read here or elsewhere said to knead pizza dough by hand.

I liked the feel of it and so now I do it with every bread I make. It is a relaxing process that eliminates any lingering stress and gets my brain clear, just paying attention to the feel of the dough. I get important sensory information that I would miss if I used a mixer. I know exactly when my bread is ready, or if it needs to rest more, or if it needs to be a bit more wet, or if it needs a bit more flour. I could certainly learn to recognize these things by sight using a mixer, but then I would lose the rest of the benefits of the process.

If you don't enjoy kneading by hand, there's nothing wrong with using a mixer, but to say you'll get a better loaf is just plain wrong.

curvesarein's picture

Because many of my friends have tried to make their own bread, ww by hand and told me they never had a loaf as light as mine. I passsed on some info to friends with bread machines and how to get a good loaf, but it certainly takes a lot more time that way. I don't think the strength in my hands at this age could take that much kneading for as many loaves as I am making, So whatever works for each person is great. I do love the process of feeling the dough in my hands and forming loaves! It is theraputic. I just want to keep making bread. And I've  lost 5# from it!!!!!