Bread machines are ultra-convenient - they mix and knead the dough, let it rise, shape it into a loaf, and bake the bread, all with just a push of a button. However, the bread is strangely formed when it is baked in the machine. The dough has a thicker crumb and a tougher crust.
Some people believe that this is because the bread machine does not mix the dough properly. The theory is that the machine doesn’t knead the dough enough, so the gluten isn’t properly developed. This results in a dough that is more difficult to work with and results in a less-than-perfect final product.
Others believe that the bread machine actually mixes the dough too much. This overworks the gluten and results in a tough, bread-like product.
So, does a bread machine mix the dough properly? The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. The bread machine is designed to mix the dough just enough to get the job done. However, if you’re looking for a perfect loaf of bread, you’re better off mixing the dough by hand.
In the end, there are many other reasons why you might want to have a bread maker. For example, it is cheaper to make bread in a bread maker.
There are a few different ways that you can mix the dough by hand, but the most common method is to simply use your hands to knead the dough. To do this, you will need to flour your work surface and your hands, and then form the dough into a ball.
Start by flattening the ball of dough out onto your floured work surface. Then, using your hands, fold the dough over onto itself and press down. Continue to do this until the dough is well-mixed.
If the dough is too sticky, you can add more flour to your work surface. If it is too dry, you can add a bit more water. Once the dough is the right consistency, form it into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour. After it has doubled in size, it is ready to be used.
One of the benefits of mixing dough by hand is improved gluten formation. When gluten forms, it gives the dough structure and strength. This is what allows the bread to rise and gives it a chewy texture.
Another benefit of mixing dough by hand is that you can avoid over-kneading. Over-kneading can make the bread tough and dense. By mixing by hand, you can control the amount of kneading, ensuring that your bread is not too dense.
Hand mixing also allows you to add ingredients more slowly and evenly, which can result in a more consistent final product. And, because you’re in control of the mixing process, you can more easily adjust the ingredients to get the results you want.
As you knead the dough, you may find that it seems a bit sticky. This is normal, and you shouldn’t add any more flour to the dough. Just keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth.
You’ll know the dough needs more work when you can press it with your fingers and the indentation remains. If the dough springs back to its original shape, it’s ready to be put to rest.
If you over-mix dough, the gluten proteins can become over-developed. This makes the dough harder to work with and can result in a tough final product. Additionally, over-mixing can damage the liquid molecules in the dough, making it more difficult to stretch and form into balls.
If you under-mix dough, it will contain unhydrated starch, protein and other nutrients that cannot be combined during fermentation. This can lead to a less-than-ideal final product. On the other hand, if you over-mix the dough, it can become sticky and wet, making it more difficult to handle. The key is to find a happy medium when mixing dough so that you end up with a final product that is both delicious and easy to work with.
Author: Scott Sanders
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