Kneading is a fundamental technique in bread-making that involves working and manipulating the dough to develop its gluten structure. Gluten, a network of proteins formed from gliadin and glutenin in wheat flour, provides elasticity and strength to the dough. The kneading process aligns and strengthens these gluten strands, contributing to the structure and texture of the final bread product.

To knead dough, it is placed on a floured surface, and the baker uses their hands to fold, push, and turn the dough repeatedly. This motion encourages gluten development and helps distribute yeast and other ingredients evenly throughout the dough. Kneading is essential for bread recipes that rely on gluten for proper rising and structure, such as artisanal bread or those with a chewy texture.

While kneading is a traditional method, some no-knead bread recipes have gained popularity in recent years, leveraging longer fermentation times to achieve gluten development without extensive manual kneading. The choice between kneaded and no-knead methods depends on the desired characteristics of the final bread and the baker’s preference.