Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

It will be my first attempt to bake with yeast this weekend and I'm interested to know how you know when you have kneaded dough enough. Is it possible to over-knead dough?

If it makes a difference I'll be making croissants.

Thank you :)

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Cookbooks describe the state as "smooth and elastic" I think this is a reasonable description.

When the dough is first mixed it is very wet and sticky. As it is mixed you can see a lot of clumps and heterogeneous textures.

As the proteins in the flour mix with water they form gluten and the kneading folds the elastic gluten over itself again and again making sheets. The dough becomes less sticky and wet and more springy. The texture becomes completely homogeneous.

Kneading by hand it is impossible to over knead this type of dough. I have read that it is possible to over knead in a machine. In this case, supposedly, the protein sheets eventually rip up enough that you lost what you created and the dough reverts. I have kneaded in a machine for a long time and never personally seen this effect.

share|improve this answer
2  
This matches my experience well too. There always the window pane test too. thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/… –  rfusca Sep 30 '11 at 13:46
    
Very good @rfusca. I forgot about the window pane test. –  Sobachatina Sep 30 '11 at 13:48
2  
I think over kneading can happen in a commercial mixer...or maybe in a stand mixer after like 30 minutes or something silly. But like @Sobachatina, I've never had it happen in years and years of baking. Its probably 10 million times more likely to be that you underknead than overknead. –  rfusca Sep 30 '11 at 15:13
    
@rfusca: I've pulled it off in a stand mixer before (by mistake, got distracted). But its definitely not something you'd ever accomplish by hand. –  derobert Sep 30 '11 at 21:22
    
@derobert how long was it that it took to over knead? In attempts to make more elastic pizza dough I've kneaded in a stand mixer for up to 20 minutes, but I'm always a bit concerned about over kneading. Just curious how much longer you'd have to go. –  wbyoung Sep 8 '12 at 16:56
show 2 more comments

You can definitely over mix any dough. The dough will become very shiny, very soft, and there will be very long, noticeable gluten strands. They are incredibly delicate, and will not hold any co2 for leavening purposes. I have seen this happen on many occassions. It is, however, difficult to do by hand. You will be tired if you try to do this by hand.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.