Hand kneading demonstrated by French baker, Simon Gosset

Graham's picture
<p>Hand kneading demonstrated by French baker, Simon Gosset.<br>&nbsp;<br>Simon<br /> explained that hand kneading on a bench can take 600 turns and throws of<br /> the dough. We gathered around and stood with smiles for 20 minutes<br /> while the dough was flung into the air, thrown on the bench, folded,<br /> turned and flung into the air again. The process incorporates air and develops gluten but does<br /> not excessively oxidise the dough...unless you mix the dough too far,<br /> obviously. <br>&nbsp;<br>According to Simon the 'rich creamy colour' is very much in favour in France and whiteness caused by oxidisation is not. <br><br><a target="" title="" href="http://sourdough.com/blog/graham/french-baker">Read More</a><br></p>
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Graham's picture
Graham 2008 August 30
Hi Eric,

Simon stayed with us in Flaxton (our new house) for a week several months ago. I took him to Crystal Waters and then to Metro College of Technology in Brisbane to play with some dough. He did good! I took film!
PaddyL 2008 August 31

I cannot imagine doing that for 20 long minutes!  Couldn't you not stop and rest from time to time?  What arms that guy must have!
EricD's picture
EricD 2008 August 31
Actually, 20 min is theorical and is more suitable for a bigger amount of dough and a French flour. For this amount of dough and an Australian flour (with usually more gluten or a bit stronger), you should need no more than 15 min and even less.
If you are like me, lazy, you can also use an other way... Mix your flour and water, without kneading it. You just need to obtain something homogeneous enough. Let it rest for 20 min (until 40 depending of the flour). Then, add your yeast or your leaven, the salt, and knead for 10 to 12 minutes (it should be enough for a small amount of dough, especially if you use a leaven).
What is important is to get a dough which is smooth enough but if it starts to crack when you stretch it, do not knead longer. That meams you reached the limit of extensibility of you dough. If you go further, you will get something stronger, more elastic and even tenacious.
Graham's picture
Graham 2008 October 3
I will have to go back and review the entire video, to see how long and how many turns. I know that the flour took a fair bit of water (Simon was surprised)....slightly more than 70% hydration if I remember corectly. Doughman unfortunately no one offered to help Simon mix. It felt more like an 'art performance' than a mixing demonstration, and we wanted to let the artist finish their piece with integrity.

Eric, can you please tell me the role of 'folding air' into a dough? How essential is it to fold air into a dough, rather than simply creating an elastic dough (using just friction and stretching)?
EricD's picture
EricD 2008 October 13
Hello Graham,

Actually, folding air in the dough during the kneading has two interests : make the yeast and bacterias breath and oxidate the gluten net.
Making the micro-organisms breathing permit to give them a bit more activity (breath is chemically more efficient than fermentation). So, the chemical processes will start quicker. The air inserted in the dough gives also more volume to the dough.
Secondly, why to oxidate the gluten ? The oxidation of the gluten constituents will promote strong links (di-sulfur gates between the molecules) in the gluten net. So, the network will be stronger and will get more elasticity.
This point is important but is also a defect. I mean if you oxidate to much your dough (with an intense kneading, without salt for example), you will make it to tight, difficult to shape : the dough will lose its extensibility and even crack during the stretching (particularly annoying for baguettes). Moreover, the oxidation will annihilate the flavor and the color of the crumb. That is why industrial bread is white and without savor (they also use ascorbic acid and soya bean flour to increase these oxidation phenomenons). That is also why, among others reasons, industrials use enzymes and other additives to give more extensibility to their doughs.
On an other side, these strong links in the gluten net are also produced during the bulk proofing. That is why it is also more interesting to reduce the kneading time and increase the proofing adding some folds if necessary.

Phil Jacobs 2009 July 2

What is the hydration rate for wet dough? Is there a recipie available. I have a poolish working and I was planning on baking tomorrow. I been using 60 percent water nut if I go much higher, it just wallers around in the mixer. How do I deal with a wetter dough and how wet should it be? Thanks.


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