The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Machine Kneading vs Hand Kneading

rgt10's picture

Machine Kneading vs Hand Kneading

Hi all,

Ive been doing tons of reading here but have not run across the appropriate thread.  I have a Kitchenaid Artisan mixer and would love to use it to its full potential.  I am also not a big fan of hand kneading as I either get to tired, or what usually happens is, while kneading by hand, I inevitably use to much flour on the bench and the dough does not come out properly.

So if I am reading a recipe, and it says to turn out and knead by hand 10 minutes, can I do this instead with my machine, and how do I adjust the speed and times.


Thanks so much for your help, I am trying to learn as quickly as I can.



proth5's picture

"It depends."

What I really mean to say, is that you must either knead or mix the dough to a proper stage of gluten development.  10 minutes by hand might mean 5 on the medium speed of a mixer or not.  What you need to learn (and what is so difficult to communicate without actually having you work with the dough) is when the dough is properly developed.  And this is a different stage for each kind of bread.  Even the instruction of kneading by hand for 10 minutes is only a guess - how well the gluten develops depends very much on the way you knead - and how much vigor you put into it.

If you have the elapsed time to spend, let me suggest a technique of hand mixing dough that will not tire you out or allow you to add too much flour on the bench.  Use a plastic bowl scraper to mix the dough to a shaggy mass in the bowl - this would be like the mix you typically do before starting to hand knead.  Then cover the dough and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes.  Then use the plastic scraper to lift the edge of the mass and fold it over the other dough in the bowl.  Imagine lifting the far edge and folding it towards yourself.  Put a little vigor into this.  Turn the bowl and repeat this motion about 20 times until you have worked your way around the bowl a few times.  Then cover the dough and let it rest as before.  Repeat the folding and resting cycle 3 (or so) more times.  You will be amazed at how much development you get just from time and folds.

This is very closely related to the "stretch and fold" method of dough development, but the dough is never turned out on the bench.  It works on all types of bread dough - lean or enriched.  I have never tried it with brioche or similar doughs, but I can't wrap my mind around how it would work.

So, I'm not up to the task of telling you how long and at what speed.  A lot of people have had bad experiences with doing bread dough in Kitchenaid mixers - they are not up to the task on an ongoing basis is the general concensus and motors heat up or stall.  I have a mixer that only has two speeds - Speed 1 and Speed 2.  Lower speeds are used at the beginning of the mix to blend ingredients and higher speeds are used to develop the dough.  I believe the instructions that came with your mixer (and I'm sure you can find them on the internet if you have lost yours) will tell you the right two speeds to use.  But be warned - the mixer seems not to be intended for bread.

Yes, professional bakers use timings for developing dough in mixers, but these are the results of long experience - and trust me, the best will check the dough during the mix and add or subtract mixing time as the dough demands.  This is most certainly a case where one must watch the dough - not the clock.

Hope this non-answer helps.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Do not run your KitchenAid with bread dough in it at over speed 2.  The Artisan mixers are stressed enough by bread dough even at that speed. 

dabrownman's picture

warantee is also void if you mix bread at a speed over 2.  So if it blows up you never did - right:-)

barryvabeach's picture

Roger, as proth5 suggests,  there is no great way to translate 10 minutes by hand.  To address the too much bench flour, use a dough scraper to keep it from sticking to the bench, and either water or nonstick spray on your hands to mix to dough.  Many authors suggest very little kneading, and use rest time to accomplish gluten development.  Youtube has a good series by Hammelman   that shows how little kneading he does, though some of it is by machine.    I also highly recommend his book Bread -  you can find the second edition new for under $30 including shipping  it is great reading, and some very good recipes.  One, which is not his best, is for a baguette that takes some time, but involves virtually no kneading.  

Patf's picture

Making bread has always been a matter of trial and error for me. But even the worst examples have been edible.

I recently changed from hand to machine kneading and have had a few flops. My method now is

1) put the risen yeast oil and some of the water into the goblet.

2) mix flour salt and sugar and add to the above.

3) switch on machine to it's slowest setting.(When I first started using the machine I had the speed too high and it overheated.)

4) The stop machine every minute or so to scrape hook clean, make sure everything's mixed in, and check consistency.

5) Add more water if necessary until you have the consistency you want, then leave to knead for another 5-7 minutes - still on slow.

My bread is turning out better now than when I hand-kneaded.

Patf's picture

In addition, the manual for my machine recommends using no more than 1 kilo of flour (2.2lbs.)


davidg618's picture

Hand mixing and manual dough manipulation--e.g., kneading, Stretch and Fold, Slap and Fold (Bertinet), frissage; and retarded fermentation--have taught me how doughs should feel and appear through the early steps of mixing, autolyse (hydration rest), gluten development, and bulk fermentation. My stand mixer sat forlorn on the back of the counter for one year while a few different doughs taught me their correct feel, appearance and, sometime, smell. Furthermore, I learned what techniques worked best for different hydration percentages and ingredients.

Subsequently, I returned to machine mixing and kneading (timing both) for the initial steps, but still rely on S&F, or Slap and Fold and controlled bulk fermentation time and temperatures to develop the dough's flavor's and gluten network in the following stages.

Proth5 said it: "Yes, professional bakers...the best will check the dough during the mix and add or subtract mixing time as the dough demands.  This is most certainly a case where one must watch the dough - not the clock."

Invest the time to try different hand and machine techniques and timings; it's worth the investment.

David G

rgt10's picture

Thanks so much for all the advise and comments everyone.  I like working with these artisan breads, but the kneading has me intimidated for more traditional recipes.  I am going to try using some of these methods on my future attempts.  I just got some 6qt proofing containers, and a hand mixing tool.  That way I have my things, and the wife will not complain.

One follow up question if you please.  Can the folding in the container, or the stretch and fold be used on almost all recipes?  My mom used to make a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, "Perfect White Bread"  Can I use one or both of these techniques with this recipe? 

Thanks for all your help, from the newbie baker.


proth5's picture

the method that I described above on sandwhich style breads - you may need to add additional folds to get a better texture, and you will not get a fluffy, fluffy bread (which does require intensive mixing) but the results have been satisfactory for me.

Hope this helps