Thursday, November 6, 2008

hand knead or machine?

i was browsing through some bread books lately when i recalled reading this experiment from a team of bakers.

the bakers were divided into 2 teams. both teams baked bread using the same ingredients with the only difference being one team kneaded the dough by hand, while the other via a mixer (man vs machine practically).

the resultant dough was then compared, then the bread.

the result was interesting.

the machined processed dough had more gluten, stretched further and rose higher compared to the hand kneaded dough.

doh! this is a disappointment for me as i just love to knead! in fact to me, the most fun part of bread making is the kneading process.

a friend confirmed this as well. so this explains why the breads i bake still aren't as soft/supple as store bought breads. grrr...

so i got to try this. when making the 10-grain bread, i used our food processor's kneading function. as the machine started to spin the dough, i realized something. if your dough is rich, heavy and wet, then there is no sense of kneading at all. the dough just "couldn't come together" in the food processor.

the resultant bread? still heavy. so i guess this depends on the type of bread you make. if you are making a light sandwich bread, then it makes sense to go for machine. the result will be soft and supple. 

if you are going for heavy breads, enriched with fruit/nuts/grain or what-else-you-can-think-of-putting-in, then i'd rather go for the manual method.
of better still, develop the dough first, then after the dough the first rise only you put in the ingredients. i'll say this is the proper way to go.

at the end of the day, i still went for manual, as the cleaning of the food processor is a major turn-off! 

also the only time i tried this with a food processor, i have no idea the motor is so weak. it worked just for a few minutes then gave up. sigh... 

but... i'll try the machine again some day... or when i get sick of kneading...

i bet this is strong enough for any type of dough!

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