From this whole wheat ciabatta recipe:

Once the dough has rested, knead the dough with the dough hook attachment at medium speed for about 15 minutes, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It should be smooth and elastic at this point.

Is is possible to knead the dough by hand?
Any advice on kneading by hand? Do I need a mixer? I have strong hands.

Long term if it works I will get a mixer but I have no other needs for a mixer so I want to prove it out first. I am trying to create a low fat, low salt, whole wheat ciabatta. I have never been a baker and I know ciabatta is involved but it fits in for what I want to do with a few menus.

  • 3
    Ciabatta is a surprisingly new bread (only been sold as such for ~35 years). But high hydration doughs were used before the stand mixer came about (though it is trickier). I suggest reading this article from King Arthur flour for some tips (the comments section is generally a useful place to look as well on the King Arthur website, for alternative approaches and how people felt about trying the technique or otherwise).
    – Batman
    Oct 28, 2017 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


Ciabatta is usually a fairly high hydration dough. You probably won't be kneading as you are thinking. You can use the "slap and fold" method to build the gluten network. There are plenty of videos illustrating the technique, just google. Basically, dump onto counter top. With a hand on either side, lift and pull the dough toward you. The end farthest away should stick to the counter. Stretch but don't tear. Quickly flip the side in your hands onto the dough, essentially folding it in half, and trapping air. With both hands, lift the mass, flip it over, slap it back down, and repeat.

  • In the recipe there are two stages. You seem to be describing the first. I know nothing about bread so I have not reference.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 28, 2017 at 20:56
  • @Paparazzi not really. Moscafj is talking about the kneading part. For the bigga (day before) and the hydrating step, just keep everything in a bowl and simply stir by hand or with a sturdy(!) spoon.
    – Stephie
    Oct 28, 2017 at 21:32
  • My first batch was an absolute disaster.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 30, 2017 at 19:35
  • I was hoping to have a success to give the check mark but another disaster. I stretched and slapped for 30 minutes but it never firmed up.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 31, 2017 at 17:59
  • 1
    @Paparazzi maybe you should pose a new question with your recipe and your method?
    – moscafj
    Oct 31, 2017 at 22:17

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