Kneading bread

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As far as I am aware, there are 4 basic methods of kneading yeast doughs by hand:

  • The traditional British method

The dough is shaped into a ball, pushed, folded and turned. See video. I find that this method uses too much excess flour, which reduces the quality of the final loaf. The wetter the dough, the better the loaf.

  • The Continental method

Here, the dough is slapped down onto the worksurface, stretched, folded and tucked. See Richard Bertinet in action on this video. It has been dubbed into Spanish (I could not find one in English) but you will get the idea by just watching. You will need to move the video on to 4:00 minutes before he starts kneading.

  • The Peter Reinhart method

This is where the dough is stretched and folded. See video

  • The Dan Lepard method

If you are busy and cannot spare much time for going the kneading in one go, you can stagger it and it is far less strenuous. I have yet to try this method, but will update this page once I have done so. The following has been extracted from Dan Lepard's book The Handmade Loaf (ISBN 1845333896):

  1. Knead the dough (using your chosen method) on a lightly floured or oiled surface for 10-15 seconds (12 kneads rotating a quarter each time). Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel or clingfilm. Leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Repeat the above.
  3. Repeat the above, but keep it in the bowl for 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat and leave for 1 hour.
  5. Repeat and leave for 2 hours.
  6. Repeat and leave for 15 minutes.
  7. Shape your dough and continue as per your recipe.

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