Dough kneading is an important part of yeast-bread making. The main purpose of this stage is to help in the gluten development, which plays an essential role in the uniform distribution of gases produced by yeast.
Through kneading, the more that spongy and porous condition is achieved. Thus, this allows the good production of delicious yeast-based bread. But, how do you knead dough to achieve that end-result?
Preparing the Dough for Kneading
It is a must to first prepare a kneading surface. It is best to knead the dough in a surface that is flat. If possible, the flat surface must be leveled to your waist. Clean that surface using warm and soapy water. Then, wipe it off completely with a dry towel. Once done, you can now sprinkle the surface with some flour. This way, the dough is prevented from sticking after kneading.
There are cases when dough requires to be kneaded inside a bowl. This is also true in some recipes. In this case, the dough only needs to be kneader for about a couple of minutes. Also, if you do not prefer to knead the dough on the countertop, you may line your chosen work surface with a parchment paper with sprinkled flour.
When you are done preparing the kneading surface, you may now begin combining the ingredients that include the flour, salt, water and yeast. Use a wooden spoon to mix these ingredients well. You’ll know if the dough is ready for kneading if you cannot move the wooden spoon easily.
Place the prepared dough into the work surface. Another way to determine if it is ready for kneading is if it forms a sticky and loose ball after dumping it onto the surface.
The Kneading Process
Before starting with the kneading process, making sure that you wash and dry your hands is essential. Remove all jewelries that may get caught or bother you in the process. Better yet, roll up your clothes’ sleeves to prevent them from getting sticky.
Collect the dough and create a pile of it in the flour-sprinkled surface. Plunge your two hands into it. The first try will let you feel its stickiness. You may have a hard time gathering it, so working on it with your hands is a must. Form it into a ball, press it down and reshape it. Repeat these steps until it is no longer that sticky.
Once this stage is reached, the dough should then be punched. Simply press your hands’ heels into the dough and push it slightly forward. This step is referred to as punching. This is necessary in order that gluten starts to work. Repeat doing the process until the dough becomes a bit springy.
Then, you may now start kneading the dough. Just fold it in half, rock it forward using your hands’ heels and press the dough flat. Turn it slightly, fold it in half again and rock the heels of your hands again into it.
Keep doing this for 10 minutes or as indicated in the recipe. Just remember that the kneading process must be performed steadily and rhythmically. Hence, do not work slowly and make sure to handle all parts of the dough swiftly.
You will know when it is to stop kneading if the dough’s texture is already smooth and shiny from being lumpy and sticky. Shape it into a ball and drop it on the work surface. If its shape remains, you may stop kneading. It is also ready if it feels like an earlobe when you pinch it.
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