Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 2, 2014 07:28 AM

Artisan bread in 5 mins a day vs kneading method

The attached photo was my first ever attempt at baking bread. I never seem to have much trouble in the kitchen; basically things always come out ok, even when they aren't right. I turned those rolls into sandwiches for work that week, and my only complaint was they were extremely dense and heavy. i found myself peeling off extra pieces of the roll as i was eating the sandwich. So my next step was going online and reading about baking to try and figure out what caused this, and i found threads like this: . I barely kneaded my bread at all; the dough hook i ordered for my mixer hadn't come yet and i was being lazy. (The yeast was fine, it bubbled up just right.) I also used whole wheat flour which is supposedly denser than white flour or bread flour, and the rising time was an hour. Anyway, i came to the conclusion that i didnt knead my dough enough, which seems like the hard part, and probably the reason more people don't bake their own bread, its a headache. Then i found this:

Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day without kneading. (i know its an entire book, i was just looking for one of the recipes from the book to post as an example.) And here is my question, If kneading dough is such a common thing, and is just part of how bread has been made for centuries, what is going on where they not only say you dont have to knead the dough, but they are telling you not to. The only thing that differed from their recipe, and my first attempt was a pan full of water in the oven and a baking stone. What is the bread science or logic behind them saying you don't need to knead? Thanks all.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There have been many threads here on the science behind no- knead bread; here's one very detailed post.

    Short answer is you're trading time vs. mechanical action to establish Gluten structure and develop flavor. Want bread now? Knead it. You can wait 12+ hours? No need to knead. The breads produced will not be identical either in flavor or texture, but will both be highly edible bread.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mcsheridan

      Thanks for the link, i did google the kneading stuff but i guess i wasn't persistent enough in my search. In that link i posted to the recipe for no knead bread, it said that you can use the dough anytime after the initial 2 hour rising period; would it be safe to say thats a mistake in the recipe? (at least if you want decent bread.)

      Secondly, you say that you are trading time vs mechanical action to establish gluten, which means that the end result would be the same: developed gluten. Yet you said the breads would not be identical in flavor or texture. What is the difference in the end result with those two opposing methods of developing gluten?

      1. re: zakappel

        I think the artisan bread no-knead method that uses a lot of water and does various things to encourage a harder crust (with a tangy taste from a long fermentation period) is different from other no- or low-knead methods that result in a more typical sandwich loaf. Dan Lepard, for example, advocates minimal kneading, and not all of his recipes are for a chewy of bread with a thick crust. You can find YouTube videos of him; search for Dan Lepard kneading. So actually there are several aspects to the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day" type bread; no- or low-kneading can be used for other sorts of bread than a crusty boule (and their derivatives, which is what is in their book).

        1. re: zakappel

          The gluten structure in the kneaded bread will generally be more uniform (think commercial loaves), and more open and 'wild' in a no-knead bread. Depending on how long you let the no-knead dough rise, it may taste a bit tangier than a traditional loaf. In fact, some techniques call for holding back a bit of the dough from one batch to help 'feed' the next, developing a sourdough-like result as time goes on.

          1. re: mcsheridan

            The amount of water and the length of time that one leaves it make a big difference. The stretch and fold technique, which includes Lepard's, can be used to add maybe a few hours, rather than days, so less potential for tang, and it doesn't have to be a really loose dough.

      2. There is also a technique called stretch & fold that replaces kneading:

        Stretch And Fold - A Gentle Way To Develop Dough
        Panama bread's first stretch and fold
        Panama Bread's Second Stretch and Fold
        Panama Bread Third Stretch and Fold

        Made Stretch & Fold Bread with 65% Hydration Dough

        1 Reply
        1. re: Antilope

          I've used the stretch and fold method often. I didn't know it was called that - it just seemed like a good idea, based on my experience making ciabatta, also a rather wet dough. In any case, I prefer it to no-knead. You can use a dryer dough that results in a less dense loaf (my main complaint about no-knead). Some recipes are very precise about when to fold, but those seem to be ones with relatively short rise times. If you add yeast for a 12+ hour rise time, 3-4 folds after the first hour or two, spaced not too closely, will do the trick. Usually I mix the dough in the early pm, fold once or twice before bedtime, and once or twice the next day.

          Bottom line is you get the flavor that a long rise gives you, with a couple of minutes of additional labor.