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 :)

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 2
    This matches my experience well too. There always the window pane test too. thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/…
    – rfusca
    Sep 30, 2011 at 13:46
  • Very good @rfusca. I forgot about the window pane test. Sep 30, 2011 at 13:48
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    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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2012 at 16:56

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.

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