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Kneading – by Hand or Machine?

Kneading – by Hand or Machine?

Homemade bread is a real delight and is ten times healthier than the one bought from stores, which is why many people choose to make their own bread at home. While some use the old-fashioned hand kneading, others have embraced comfort and convenience with a bread machine. The question here is which method is the best for getting that fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside bread? You are about to find out.

Why knead the dough by hand?

Kneading by hand has been performed for ages since it was the only way people could make bread at home. The technique has improved over time and it is still used nowadays even though bread machines are in high demand and they provide ease of use. Many housekeepers believe that kneading the dough by hand is the only way to get the right texture and softness of the bread and they refuse to replace it with mechanized devices. Even bakers prefer to hand-knead their dough when they want to prepare small amounts of bread because they are convinced that it provides the best results. Feeling the dough and mixing it by hand ensures that it will rise perfectly and that it will turn into the perfect loaf of bread. However, it takes an expert’s eye to tell when the dough is ready for the rising process.

The firm movements activate the gluten and create the holes inside the loaf that are very appealing and give the softness of each slice. It’s said that if you want something to be done right, you should do it yourself and that is exactly the case with hand kneading. However, a good machine, quality ingredients, and following the recipe can bring you the same great results if you decide to let the bread machine do all the hard work.

Reasons to use the machine

Practical people who don’t like to get messy and to lose time always leave the kneading to the bread machine because it’s the short path to a tasty bread. A quick comparison of the two methods will reveal that you can get the same delicious loaf is you decide to set the machine to prepare it for you. High-end models like those found at Annes bread mimic the same movements of human hands so the result is a perfectly knead bread with attractive holes and a crunchy crust.
Each machine has one or two paddles, depending on the shape and size of the baking pan, that rotate and mix the dough, gradually incorporating the ingredients. An essential part of achieving the expected results is to insert the ingredients as requested by the recipe, in the specific order so that the paddles will be able to mix them evenly. Once you add everything you need, the breadmaker will start moving the paddles to bring all the wet and dry components together just like you would do using your fingers. If you decide to opt for this method or you are at least considering it, you will soon discover it brings many benefits.

  • Less time

  • First of all, the kneading process will take less time with a bread maker. All you have to do is add the ingredients, set the right bread cycle, and close the lid. It will start kneading, it will stop at the right time, and it will go to the next phase on its own so you won’t have to waste time going through all the bread making steps.

  • Convenience

  • With all the stress and work in your life, finding a way to remove a concern is priceless and this is exactly what machine bread kneading will do for you. You can even program the machine to start when you are not at home and you will arrive at freshly baked bread. Or you can use that time for doing something else that requires your attention.

  • No mess

  • Let’s face it, no cooking task is as messy as kneading bread and you probably hate how the dough sticks to your fingers, not to mention all the bowls and pots you have to wash afterward. When you opt for machine kneading, you will only have to wash a pan and a paddle or two because the entire process from kneading to baking takes place in one single pan. If you add to that the fact that it can be washed in the dishwasher, it’s a double win.

  • A variety of options

  • Even if you are not an expert, you will be able to prepare all sorts of bread and specialties using a machine. Most models come with pre-programmed cycles that can make gluten-free bread, french bread, regular bread, whole wheat, seeds bread, and even cakes.

  • Complete baking cycles

  • The pre-programmed cycles are set to knead, rise, and bake for the proper amounts of time that will guarantee the perfect loaf of bread every time. This means that all you have to do is push the cycle button, select the size and crust color, and your bread will come out perfectly.

Final thoughts

After analyzing the two methods, we can say for certain that kneading bread using a machine is the best choice by far. Unless you are keen on keeping the tradition, you can forget about the messy and time-consuming hand kneading and you can resort to the help of the handy breadmaker that will do all the hard work for you.