Survey on Kneading
It is possible the Fresh Loaf Book could benefit from a survey of kneading techniques. This survey was prompted by my baking of a whole wheat recipe from P. Reinhart’s BBA where the dough broke down using the technique he suggested. While the possible kneading styles are infinite, below are 7 different choices to vote for in how it is that you knead bread.
By voting we can tell if there is a consensus as to how people knead their dough.
Style 1: D. Leader, Local Breads, p.28 By “pushing down and forward with heels of both ands, then pulling back from top and folding down.”
Style 2: P.Reinhart, Bread Baker’s Apprentice, p.56
- a. By slapping like a rag doll, then folding and slapping or
- b. The two handed method to squeeze it long then work it in sections technique.
Style 3: Hamelman-Bread, p. 15-16
- a. Lift up left side about 1/3 and turn it vigorously onto the body of the dough. Then 1/3 of the dough from the right side, overlapping the 1st fold; again press and degas.
- b. Then reach to far side of dough and bring about ½ dough toward you.
- c. Finally take the portion closest to you and folding it away to the center.
- d. Then fold dough over with seams on surface and place in dough container.
Style 4: RL Beranbaum-bread bible, p. 47, 57-60 This is probably the clearest of all since it has multiple pictures to help explain.
- a. The stretching technique
- b. Business letter fold
- c. Dough package fold that is very similar to Hamelman’s.
Style 5: Used by Norm (our resident Pro) and King Arthur. It is this kneading that is suggested for use with whole wheat breads. This particular technique apparently does not seem to be able to be explained using the written word. The KA folks say you have to see it to understand it. However Norm (our resident Pro) has been gracious in offering up this effort to explain it:
“take your hands and put them infront of you as if you are goiing to clap. place your left hand flat pushing aganst the left side of the dough. you do not move your left hand rether it is like a wall that the dough rests on. with your right hand you place it about 2:00 o-clock on ths dough and fold the dough in your right hand to your left hand. if you do this right you will make a ball of dough that will get tighter and tighter and form a realy tight ball without ever opening up the center but will delevop the gluten.”
Style 6: B.Clayton-Complete Book of Breads, published in 1973, p.22 Folding in half pushing down with both hands; fold dough and repeat sequence. Don’t be gentle; pummel and punch it.
Style 7: None of the above; I do it my own way and it works just fine.