Is It Better To Knead By Hand Or Machine?

Ah, bread. We all know the smell of the yeasty loaf baking in the oven… Now imagine that smell without the effort and mess of kneading. That’s what machine-kneaded bread is like. Thanks to modern technology, not only can you have your bread baked in less than an hour, it will also taste more like a store-bought loaf when compared to one made by hand.

So, is it better to knead your bread by hand or machine?

While regular kneading by hand makes for a better tasting, better textured loaf, it’s also quite time consuming. And if you’re working on a tight schedule and need the loaf to be ready in an hour or less, then a machine will do just fine.

Three popular bread machines are the:

Pioneer Woman bread machine , the Cuisinart CBK-200 2-pound programmable breadmaker and Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound Bread Maker . Now let’s compare how these three models stack up against each other.

There are many things to look for when shopping for a machine. However, there are a few that are essential and will make all the difference in your baking experience. They are:

How much bread can it make? What kind of cycles does it have? How easy is it to use? Does it have a “Gluten free” setting? Which accessories come with the machine

The Pioneer Woman PYBMB90 Double Breadmaker makes 2 pounds of bread at one time, which is enough to feed your family or large gathering. There is also a smaller model, the PYBMB70 , that makes 1 pound of dough.

The Cuisinart bread machine has about 4 different bread settings with a 9-hour delay timer, making it a versatile machine that will work well in several different situations. The Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound Bread Maker makes 1 pound of bread at a time and also has several bread settings that can be adjusted to your preference.

The accessories that are attached to the machines are very important to consider, especially if you need gluten free or rye free doughs. These machines will not yield the same results with these types of recipes as you would when using a traditional hand kneading method.

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All three of these machines are easy to use and have a wide variety of features. Depending on your specific needs, any of them can be a great choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a breadmaker that is top rated by consumers and has one of the largest capacity’s, then the  PYBMB90  is the model for you. It’s especially good at making several different types of loaves and can make two pounds at once with ease.


The Pioneer Woman PYBMB90 Double Bread Machine makes 2 pounds of bread at one time. There is also a smaller version, the PYBMB70 , that makes one pound of dough.

This PYBMB90 is also extremely easy to use and comes with a number of accessories, including  a dough blade , an extra baking pan , 2 loaf pans and mixing spoon.

The Zojirushi BB-CEC20 is easier to use than some other machines on the market, mainly because its controls are more straight forward. It does have some more advanced features, such as a gluten-free setting and the ability to put ingredients into their own individual compartments.

This machine has 10 bread settings, including a gluten-free setting that can give your bread a nice light texture. It also has a delay timer and includes a 1-pound weight.

The Cuisinart CBK-200 also has many useful features, including 7 bread settings, denatured proteins setting, gluten free setting and a 3 pound capacity. It is also very easy to use and comes with a number of accessories, like the loaf pan pictured above.

It is worth noting that the bottom of this machine is not tempered glass like other models on the market. However it still does an excellent job of retaining heat and slowing down deterioration from germs after baking.

This issue comes up quite a bit in baking forums. People swear by machine-kneaded bread and are often quite annoyed at the person who says it is no different to hand-kneaded bread. In fact, I used to think that myself. Having a sensitive touch, I thought my carefully kneaded dough tasted better than the tough and dry stuff that came out of my bread machine; but then again,

I had never actually tried making a loaf completely by hand (I’m still not brave enough yet). Having just done this last week, a few things were quickly established: It’s easier to knead dough by hand than by machine. That being said.

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I can see the appeal of dry and tough bread being easier to eat. Also, who cares if the machine-kneaded loaf tastes better when compared to a hand-kneaded one. It is still only a loaf of bread. My final verdict? No difference in taste and I would rather knead my dough by hand. There I said it.

Kneading dough by hand takes more time, but it also creates a lighter loaf of bread. Using a machine for this task leaves the bread heavier and denser. This is because kneading by hand aerates the dough more evenly, versus kneading with a machine’s pre-set program of constant up-and-down strokes.

A final thing to keep in mind: using your hands to make bread will make your whole house smell like fresh baked goods! If you don’t have time or want to eat all the loaves yourself, keep some dough in the fridge for up to three days.

Is hand kneading better than machine?

If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across one of the few artisanal bread mixes that have been kneaded by hand. It might be a mix first sold in Italy or Germany, a mix that has been distributed over many decades. But most of the “no-knead” bread mixes are made in factories and are not handmade, by any stretch of the imagination, they may even be made with surpluses from other factories!

Still, I spoke with a number of home bakers and found out that they all agree on this single point: Kneading bread by hand is definitely an art form—and one that takes time and dedication. For example, you need to have a comfortable, dry surface on which to work. And you’ll also need a good amount of flour on that surface; somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 cup for every 1/2 pound of dough.

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Is kneading the same as mixing?

If you just want to mix the ingredients together and get on with your life, kneading isn’t for you. Kneading also can’t be done too quickly or the dough will become tough. At the same time, it’s easy to over-knead, which is one reason why using a machine is so popular.

Does the dough hook knead?

Although it’s hard to say what goes on inside the dough hook, one thing is for sure: the entire process of kneading dough by machine doesn’t really make sense from a scientific perspective. Rather than developing gluten through the kneading process, the dough hook simply stirs and mixes everything to create a cohesive mass of ingredients.

The only time you’ll find that your bread is properly kneaded is when you’ve done it yourself by hand. Once you’ve finished using your dough hook, scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and give your bread another quick stir by hand. The bread will be ready for rising once again. You can also remove it from the bowl and shape it into a round ball.

Can you knead dough too much?

When you’re kneading dough by machine, the dough will continue to rise because it’s being mixed by mechanical means. As long as the rise is consistent, this won’t be a problem. But if you’re kneading too much and the dough becomes tough or crumbly, then it could lead to an elastic or sticky surface that will make your bread taste rubbery and stale.

How can I make sure my bread rises evenly?

After kneading by machine, your dough should rise quite quickly to double in size within 30 minutes. If however it doesn’t seem very active at all, then you may want to add more flour or liquid in small increments until the right consistency is achieved.


Although you can’t see the dough being kneaded in a machine, it does develop a nice texture once the rising process begins. After about 2 to 4 hours, your bread will be ready to remove from the container. It will rise even further as it bakes in the oven. What you’ll end up with is a loaf of bread that’s got all of the benefits of hand-kneaded dough: a better shape, more consistent texture and more uniform taste.