I often see recipes that just ask to mix the ingredients until you get an homogeneous mix. Others ask to mix the ingredients to exhaustion.

What happens to the though while I mix it? Does that really make a difference? What should I expect, as final result (after cooking) from a dough that was only mixed to the point it gets homogeneous from one that I mix hard for a long time?

I am mostly talking about bread and cake dough. But I was wondering if there is a general rule so I know what to expect.

  • This question is very broad, and not very clear. What kinds of recipes are you talking about?
    – GdD
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:29
  • 1
    Two words: gluten formation.
    – Stephie
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:45
  • Just a heads up: Cake is usually made from batter which will be way more slack than dough, which is what we'd make breads out of. When we talk about mixing batter until homogeneous, we mean mix until the mixture is smooth, with no discernible lumps. Mar 11, 2016 at 13:56
  • Hi nsn, if your question is not a duplicate, please edit it to point out the difference. To me, it seems to be asking the exactly same thing.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 11, 2016 at 14:12
  • @rumtscho I actually saw that question. I would like an answer a bit more general and agnostic to the type of dough. I am really interested in know the general concept and chemistry and result from just mix it to mix it hard.
    – nsn
    Mar 11, 2016 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Okay, so I presume that we're talking about recipes containing wheat flour and you're putting together a dough (or batter) for a bake or maybe even a pasta.

In general, mixing wheat flour with water results in the production of gluten. Gluten is pretty tough stuff; it's essentially what gives a finished wheat product its chew and contributes greatly to its overall structure. The more you mix (or knead), the tougher the resulting dough and finished product.

  • Why would that be good either in a cake or bread? doesnt that make the final result "heavier" ?
    – nsn
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:55
  • Well, 'good' is a relative term when we're talking about the final product. It depends largely on what you're baking. I think what you mean when you say 'heavier' is 'denser'--the finished bake will have many tiny air bubbles that are much more closely spaced together, and with quite a bit of bite to them. Mar 11, 2016 at 13:58

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