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Kneading Dough

Bread dough is kneaded in order to develop the gluten in the dough. Gluten is a protein that gives bread dough an elastic texture. This elasticity allows the dough to hold gas bubbles produced by yeast. The more gluten, the higher the rise and the chewier the finished product. Failure to knead adequately may result in a bread that is dense and lumpy instead of having the fine web-like crumb that well-developed gluten will give.

How to Knead Dough

  1. Shape the dough roughly into a ball and place it in the middle of your surface.
  2. Pull the side of the ball furthest from you back, folding it over slightly.
  3. Push the folded ball forward and down with that heel of your hand. Don't press too hard-- you're trying to rock and stretch the dough, not squash it.
  4. Repeat the last two steps.

Well-kneaded bread dough can be recognised by its smooth, satiny surface and elastic consistancy. Dough made mainly with white wheaten flour will need to be kneaded 250-300 strokes to reach this point. Other doughs may need up to 450 strokes.

Kneading Clay

Clay is usually kneaded to remove any air bubbles that could cause a piece of pottery to break or even explode during firing.

How to Knead Clay

  1. Push, slap, or throw the mass of clay very firmly against the work surface.
  2. Lift the clay and turn it so that a different edge faces the work surface.
  3. Repeat.