Dough hooks and hand kneading are two common methods used to mix bread dough until it’s elastic. But which one is better?
It depends on a few factors, like how much time you have, the type of bread you’re making, and the desired texture. For example, if your dough is formulated for a more artisanal yeast bread with complex flavors and a rustic crust, you might say that a dough hook — because it mixes little bits of flour longer than your arm could — is ideal.
On the other hand, if you’re making a loaf of bread that needs to rise quickly, and you have time on your side, then definitely reach for a hand-kneaded dough.
Take the time to experiment with both methods – and don’t be afraid to try them out on several kinds of bread!
Our quest for the ultimate homemade loaf should not only be about how it tastes, but also about how it’s made. We’ll take you through two options for mixing up tasty yeast dough – from grinding in flour until no lumps remain, to kneading and punching down an empty baguette dough – so that you can bake the perfect loaf of bread at home.
If you have watched the video for Kneading 101: The Art of Hand Kneading then you know that there is a world of difference between using a dough hook and hand kneading. For starters, the dough hook moves constantly and quickly, while hand kneading takes time, patience and skill.
The dough hook is much easier to use for beginners but as you get more comfortable with your technique, you will see that using your hands is actually faster. So which one is best? Only trial and error can tell us what will work best for each individual cook or baker.
For the purposes of this article, we will be looking at a basic bread dough recipe most commonly used in American bakeries.
Flour: Bread flour is the best choice for hand kneading because it produces a dough that resembles hand kneaded bread. this type of flour has been pre-blended, sifted and stone milled to produce a more consistent product. It also remains soft after it has been kneaded. This type of flour is often found where good quality breads are sold or where good baked goods are made like bagels and pizza crusts.
However, if you want a very robust and sturdy loaf of bread then I would suggest using bread flour instead of all purpose flour.
Instant Yeast: For nearly any dough recipe you find where yeast is applied, instant yeast is the way to go. Instant yeast is a fine powder that dissolves at room temperature. This means that it can be mixed directly into any dough and will produce the same results as a fresh yeast starter.
Water: I highly recommend using cool or normal tap water instead of purified water or distilled water. It just simply tastes better when used straight from your faucet instead than when mixed with other additives or chemicals.
Salt: (1/2 tsp. per 4 oz. or 1/4 tsp. per 8 oz.) This is a very important ingredient as you need to add salt to activate the yeast and impurities in the flour and mix them together properly so that they can be used in the recipe. I recommend starting with a small amount of salt and adding more depending on how salty your water is and adding this at the end of kneading the dough.
Feel free to use your own measurements if you have an accurate scale such as this one but remember that adding more water will not produce a denser dough than if you add less of it, so don’t get caught up on trying to measure out exactly 4 ounces at a time.
Let’s Get Started
Most recipes that use yeast call for a step in which you add flour, wet ingredients and the yeast to a bowl or other large container. You then cover the mixture and let it rise until it doubles in size. While these steps are common among many different recipes, you can mix all of your flour, water, and salt together into a simple batch of dough instead by adding all of your ingredients to a small food processor or blender.
I recommend using a small food processor because it will chop up the flour as you add it so that it mixes more easily with the water. It also helps you measure out the exact amount of flour instead of estimating (which is always easier than measuring correctly).
Start by placing all of your dry ingredients in the food processor or blender (and turn on the machine if you have one). Blend them until they are completely combined into a fine crumb.
Then slowly pour your water into the bowl while blending at a high speed.
You want to make sure that everything is completely blended into a very moist dough at this point. Try to make sure that your dough doesn’t need any more flour to help hold it together.
Once the mixture is blended and moist, it’s time to add the yeast.
The yeast needs warm water so that it can activate properly — but don’t use hot water! You want to use cool water which has already been mixed with some gelatin, something like this. The gelatin will create a good environment for the yeast to activate and hopefully they will activate before you need to start kneading the dough.
Now add your yeast mixture to the bowl or food processor, making sure that it is completely submerged. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes so that the yeast can do its job and then move on to next step.
After 10 minutes, mix your dough until it almost comes together as a single ball (do not knead as this will cause gluten in the dough which does not aerate properly). When you are satisfied with the consistency of your dough, turn it out onto a counter and knead it gently by hand until it releases from your hand entirely.
You want a smooth, elastic dough that moves without sticking to your hands. If you feel as if the dough is sticking to your hands then add a little flour — not too much or else you will have a dry, hard loaf of bread.
‘Dough hook’ is the type of mixer used for this purpose. This is because the dough hook creates less friction than the kneading motions of your hands do. Once you’ve finished kneading, let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then it’s time to make some bread!
This recipe is great for making both white and wheat breads, as well as rolls and buns.
Is it better to knead by hand or mixer?
Many bakers choose to knead their bread dough by hand, and for good reason. First of all, it’s hard to beat the satisfaction that comes with producing soft, smooth dough yourself. Second, dough hook attachments are difficult to clean, so you end up with a goopy appliance after kneading is over. Third, it can be a real workout! If you opt for the mixer route, make sure it’s a heavy-duty model.
Should I use a dough hook or kneading by hand?
You can knead bread dough by hand or use a mixer’s dough hook. If this is your first time making bread, we recommend using a mixer because the dough hook will do all the work for you. This is especially helpful if you have limited experience working with bread dough. However, if you have experience, then feel free to knead the bread by hand. Both methods work well and result in soft, elastic dough.
How do I know if bread flour is right for my recipe?
You can use bread flour with all yeast breads, but it is not suitable for bread recipes that call for baking powder, as it makes the finished product come out spongy and dense. Bread flour has a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour, which gives your finished loaf a nice stretch.
What is the difference between whole wheat and white bread flour?
The main difference between the two types of flour is that whole wheat bread flour includes semolina or other grains like rye and barley. White bread flour does not include these ingredients. Whole wheat bread gets its flavor from the grains in the flour, but white flour does not.
Does the KitchenAid mixer knead dough?
Yes, your KitchenAid mixer has a dough hook attachment that will knead bread dough. It’s perfect if you’re new to making homemade bread and want to try your hand at kneading your own dough. Just remember to let it rest before baking so the yeast can rise and bloom properly.
Can I use self-rising flour in my bread recipe?
Yes! Self-rising flour is very easy to use in your favorite recipes. All you need to do is replace the flour and leavening agent called for with equal parts of self-rising flour. This type of flour also includes salt, but you can adjust that amount if needed based on the recipe requirements. This type of flour is great for recipes that require yeast.
Can a stand mixer make bread dough?
Yes! Stand mixers can make bread dough. The trick is to add the ingredients in the correct order so that you get a nice, soft, smooth ball of dough. Start with the liquids and yeast and then add the dry ingredients slowly. Mix on high until all of the ingredients are completely combined. Then let your mixer do all of the work while you sit back and relax!
How long does it take to knead dough in a mixer?
This really depends on the size of your mixer and how much dough you are kneading at a time. This tip will help you understand how long it will take to knead your bread dough in the KitchenAid Mixer.
What ingredients can I use instead of yeast?
Making bread is all about yeast, but many bakers like to use non-active dry yeast instead of fresh yeast. It’s a bit different from active dry yeast, but the main difference is that it activates at room temperature and is ready to go ahead of time. This works great for bread recipes that call for a longer rise time or for sourdough recipes (it won’t rise until activated with water).
Can you over-knead dough in a mixer?
Yes. Kneading bread dough for too long can make the dough tough, dry, and difficult to work with. Remember that the dough should be soft and smooth when kneading is done – if it is sticking to the sides of your mixer, sprinkle a little flour on it.
Can I use bread flour in pizza dough?
Bread flour can be used to make pizza crusts, but don’t expect them to puff up or have a chewy texture like traditional pizza crusts made with all-purpose or Italian-style flour. Bread flour makes a slightly dense pizza crust that’s good paired with toppings such as sauce and cheese.
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