I have previously tried this recipe, and wish to try it again this weekend (recipe follows at end of question). Since I don't have a mixer, I kneaded it by hand, for longer than the recipe stated, in order to reach the required texture. It could have been the substitute flour I used, or the fact that it didn't rise enough, or that the environment was too cold for the dough to rise, but the bread didn't work.

I am now wondering - is this recipe particularly intended for making with an electric mixer with dough hook? Can one convert it for hand kneading? And if so, is there a rule of thumb for converting between kneading times for electric mixers vs. hand kneading?

Sour Cherry & Walnut Stick (Yotam Ottolenghi, from his 'Ottolenghi' book) 160 ml luke warm water (not higher than 30C) 1.5 tsp active dried yeast 40 ml orange juice 250g country brown flour ("Allinson's country grain brown bread flour or Hovis granary flour) plus extra for dusting 65g buckwheat flour 1tsp salt 50g dried sour cherries 50g walnuts, roughly broken into pieces

(excerpt from method) Stir the water/yeast in an electric mixer bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Then add OJ, mix, add both flours. Knead for 5 minutes at low speed w/ dough hook until the dough comes together.

Scrape the dough in the bowl, then add salt and knead for 4 miuntes on high. Dough should be smoother and silky. Add cherries & walnuts and mix on medium for one minute.

Knead by hand, turning the dough until you can no longer see the walnuts/cherries and the dough is smooth. Put the dough (shaped into a ball) in a large bowl, covered w/ a damp cloth, for about 1.5 hours in a warm place - or until dough has doubled.

  • so just to clarify, what I'm wondering is how to tell if a recipe can simply be converted to hand-kneading (eg: the way that Jennifer S recommends in her response), or if it is intended specifically for machine kneading.
    – KimbaF
    Aug 22, 2011 at 8:34

4 Answers 4


If I were to convert a machine kneading time to hand kneading time, I'd take the time and at least double it, perhaps between double and triple, depending on how strong/vigorous you are.

The odds of over-kneading by hand are pretty low, as compared to by machine.

I would guess that the flour substitutions or the coldness were more of an issue than the kneading. I've not heard of this book or either of the flours mentioned, but I do know that mileage can vary a LOT with wholegrain flours, and even basic white flours depending on where you live, due to changes in protein contents for regional differences.


In order to counter the coldness of your cooking area, have you tried warming in your oven at the lowest possible heat setting? My mom would do that occasionally when she was trying to bake on very cold days but she would get annoyed because our oven would spike and get too hot.

  • During winter I did, but our oven is extremely temperamental. The lowest setting is not that low, and I always end up with a crust on top of the dough which seems to impede the rise. I'm loathe to cover it with cling film, since I imagine that would impede the rising process further.
    – KimbaF
    Aug 22, 2011 at 8:32
  • 1
    Maybe with a slightly damp clean cloth over the container? I remember my mom doing that. I wish I had the patience to try baking bread myself, I just can't bring myself to.
    – Katey HW
    Aug 22, 2011 at 13:16

For bread-like recipes, upto 500g flour, I'd say: - Slowly incorporate raw ingredients in the mixing bowl at lowest speed for 1 minute; - then mix thoroughly at speed 1 for 4 minutes.

Machine kneading requires much less time than hand kneading and I totally agree that overworking a dough is an issue. So for some non-bread recipes, you just need to mix until ingredients are combined. So lowest speed for max of 2 minutes.

Usually the hand-kneading recipe you're following will tell you what kind of final result to expect, such as the dough should spring back if you try to dent it with your thumb (i.e. silky soft).

Kenwood belt drive. 800 watts. Dough hook.


I’ve been told that, as a general rule of thumb, kneading on second speed in a stand mixer, 2 minutes equals 10 minutes of hand kneading. I only proof my bread once, so I have the mixer on 3rd speed and knead in it for 3 minutes. Works like a charm!

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