In bread making you wait 30 min after mixing water and flour together so that the break protein (i.e., gluten) has time to "get strong" and build fibers.

You get this smooth surface etc. on the bread dough afterwards.

I'm making scones, following Dorie Greenspan's book, and she talks about kneading the fat heavy dough.

It's like one..ugly, unsmooth mess of dough, like mashed potatoes or something.

I'm not sure if bakers need to autolyse before kneading. I didn't do so and kneading did nothing to smooth out that ugly mess.

I just proportioned it and baked it as is. My scones tasted great but the surface isn't smooth and like..mashed potatoes texture that was hardened through baking.

Like..does anyone know if quick breads (I'm assuming they are defined by heavy fats) need a rest period of autolyse before kneading so as to have smooth surface?

I was tempted to just add more flour to dry and smooth out that mess but didn't want to change the proportions of flour/water/fat ratio.



1 Answer 1


Quick breads are not primarily defined by the richness or fat content of the dough, but by the leavening method:
While “regular” bread uses yeast - and has a long resting time, quick breads use baking powder or soda - and are baked more or less immediately. (Although some recipes have some extra resting time.)

While yeast has no problem with raising a dough with a strong gluten network, baking powder can’t do that. For quick breads, the same rules as for pie crusts and similar short pastry applies: the fat prevents the liquid from reaching the flour and inhibits gluten formation, giving you a light and crumbly texture. “Diligent” kneading would counteract that, leaving you with a dense product.
And yes, this can mean a certain “mashed potato” texture, depending on your recipe, which is perfectly ok. If you insist on a smoother surface, gently roll out the dough instead of flattening it with your fingers and consider a wash: make-up for baked goods ;-)

Making an autolyse step would even aggravate the gluten-density issue - what is an excellent idea for yeasted breads is quite destructive for quick breads.

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