The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hand vs machine

freshweaver's picture

hand vs machine

I'm new to the site and found Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye recipe-want to make this bread!  I don't have a machine/mixer and would be mixing/kneading by hand.  How will this affect the final product?  I want the holes and am worried my hands-on will over handle the bread, making it less hole-y.

108 breads's picture
108 breads

Not sure where I read that one should be careful to do gentle kneading with a rye or avoid it altogether. I generally do a stretch and fold with a 30 percent rye dough. My ryes are favorites at home. I think the answer to your question depends on the percentage of rye flour you are using. I also never use a machine because I just never bought one (though I am considering making bagels and that dough, I'm told, does require the strength of a machine).

cerevisiae's picture

I always make bagel dough by hand, especially after killing a mixer trying to make it in there. So, a machine is not requisite, but if you go that route, make sure that your research includes information on how your mixer handles that type of dough.

suave's picture

It's a very wet long-fermented dough.  Do a bunch of stretch and fold over the original fermentation period and you'll be fine.  The only painful part will be incorporating stiff starter into a pretty much batter. 

dabrownman's picture

I don't use a machine,  I just do slap and folds until the dough stops sticking to the counter - about 8 minutes and then do stretch and folds over the next 2 hours on 30 minute intervals.  Works fine.

Happy Baking

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Not a problem   The rye is so low... And all the fun is worth it.  I do it also by hand.  The rye is under 10% which isn't a rye dough in the sense of behaviour.  It is and behaves like a wheat bread.  This is a great bread to play with high hydration dough and just enjoy the fun!  ..and bold bake.

...and please, don't try to make "pretty loaves."  The uglier the better!  :)’s-rustic-light-rye-leader

balmagowry's picture

I knead everything by hand, bagels and all - I don't happen to have a machine, and if I did I'd be worried about bagel dough destroying it, but my hands are holding up just fine. Knead rye dough? Sure. My deli rye is just shy of 50% rye, about 75% hydration, and I knead it pretty thoroughly, though rather more gently than I would a white dough. Granted I don't actually want the crumb on that particular bread to be too open, but at this hydration it is certainly open enough. Sure, you don't want to brutalize rye dough, but most rye doughs can actually stand up to a pretty fair amount of judicious kneading. This question of dough handling is very much a relative thing, a matter of getting a good sense of how the dough should feel. And that is all about practice. How do you know when it's right? You just do. Maybe not on the first loaf, but after you've kneaded a couple, the hands can tell. They can also tell when it's wrong, and that is often an equally useful piece of information! ;-)

freshweaver's picture

Thanks everyone for the great advice/feedback!  Finished the bread last night and while the loaves' shapes were kind of weird (one puffed way up-like a cream puff!) it was very tasty with some nice holes.  I think I will try to add a little whole wheat flour next time.  The slap and fold technique worked well for me, and I guess will become my standard way instead of kneading.