Kneading Bread Dough with a Food Processor
If you own a food processor, you simply have no excuse for buying bread from the store since you can make healthier, much tastier and fresh-out-of-the-oven bread at home using your food processor using almost no time and energy at all! The toughest part of making bread is kneading the dough. For soft bread which has air bubbles in it, you will need to build up gluten in the dough. Gluten is a protein that helps stretch the dough and makes air pockets in it as it bakes inside the oven. To create sufficient gluten in the dough, you will need to knead dough for a good 20 minutes if doing it by hand.
In this modern age, who has the time to spend about half an hour kneading dough and then some more time in the next couple of steps to make bread? You don’t need to knead the dough by hand if you have a food processor since it can create better dough without your efforts in only a few minutes. It incorporates all the ingredients uniformly into soft, elastic dough for making the perfect bread. You can use any bread recipe and utilize a food processor during the kneading part to lift some load off your shoulders and save your time.
Although the procedure is quite straightforward when using a food processor to knead dough, there are some simple tricks you could keep in mind to make sure the job is done perfectly:
Read the manual of the food processor:
Before using it for kneading dough, read the instruction manual that came with the food processor to know for sure if it is meant for the task. Not all food processors have motors strong enough to handle kneading. Also make sure that you limit the batch of dough according to the capacity of the food processor and the capabilities of its motor. For a typical 11 cups food processor for example, you can only make dough with a maximum of 3 cups of flour.
Many food processors include a dough blade which is exclusively designed for the purpose of kneading dough. Remember to attach the dough blade to the bowl before adding the ingredients and starting to knead. However, some food processors offer dough blades made of plastic rather than metal. If your food processor is one of them, leave the dough blade and use the usual stainless steel S blade to do the job. Kneading dough is a heavy-duty task and not something a plastic blade can handle properly.
Use cold liquids:
For soft and well-risen bread, the temperature of the dough mixture should ideally be in the range of 75ᵒ to 80ᵒ F. But since a food processor with a powerful enough motor rotates the blades at high speeds they create enough friction to generate heat within the dough mixture. You should use cold water when kneading dough in a food processor so that when the mixture heats up, it does not go beyond 80ᵒF.
Beware of over-kneading:
Over-kneading of dough is an irreversible mistake. So you need to be careful from the start so that such a situation can be avoided. Keep in mind that you will achieve perfectly elastic dough in merely seconds. So knead only briefly and keep checking the consistency. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a little water and knead for a further 5 seconds. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour and knead for 5 seconds before checking again.
Add nuts near the end:
If you want to add nuts or fruits to the dough do not add them in the beginning with the other ingredients. Adding them in the beginning will process them completely into a fine powder and you won’t find any of them in the bread that forms with the dough. Add these in the last few seconds of the kneading cycle so that they are incorporated uniformly in the dough without being lost completely.