technique

How to Knead Bread Dough

hey curious cook—

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Kneading is a super important part of bread baking: It combines ingredients, incorporates air into the dough, and, most important, develops gluten. Gluten is what gives bread its structure and chew—it allows bread to expand in the oven without bursting.

Many bread recipes call for kneading dough in a stand mixer using a dough hook. This speeds things up a lot—a machine doesn’t get tired the way your arms do! Then, you give the dough a final knead by hand before setting it aside to rise. Follow the steps on this page and soon you’ll knead dough like a pro!

How to Knead Dough Ball

  1. Place heel of your hand in center of dough ball and press down and away from you.
  1. Fold dough over. Rotate dough and repeat steps 1 & 2 until dough looks smooth, about 1 minute.
  1. On clean counter, use your cupped hands to drag dough in small circles to form smooth ball.

How to Shape Dough into Rolls

Some recipes, such as our Pretzel Rolls and Flatbreads, call for cutting a large piece of dough into smaller pieces and then shaping each piece into a ball. While it takes two hands to shape a large dough ball, you can make these smaller ones with just one cupped hand.

2up: Shaping Dough

  1. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, fold corners of dough into center and pinch edges together. Flip dough over.
  1. Use your cupped hand to drag dough in small circles until dough forms smooth ball and top feels tight.