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heliman 02-07-2010 03:16 AM

Overworking Dough?
What are the signs of overworking dough and how long does one need to knead it in a mixer for it be become overworked.


texassourdough 02-08-2010 07:10 PM

Re: Overworking Dough?
Hi Rossco!!!

The signs are subtle but the simplest description would be not as good as less worked...

It is a touch issue as much as anything else. And my personal example would be Caputo dough formed into balls shortly after mixing vs. 2 hours before baking. IMO the latter is disticnly inferiof and therefore (effectively) overworked. The former is IMO better! But that is a personal decision!

heliman 02-08-2010 07:46 PM

Re: Overworking Dough?
Hello Jay - tks for the feedback on this one...

Just to clarify then ... does "overworked" not refer to the "overkneading" of dough during the actual kneading process - is it the "resting" and "handling" component in general?

I have been allowing the dough to rest for about an hour after kneading - before cutting it. Would you suggest cutting right after kneading?


dmun 02-09-2010 04:11 AM

Re: Overworking Dough?
I'm the minority voice here in industrial mixer land, but I fully believe that a minimum of dough handling is best. Ever since I tried the "no-kneed" bread recipe from the NY Times, I realized that dough wants to form gluten all by its self, and all you need is time to let it do it.

I mix my flour, salt, and yeast dry. I add all the water, and mix it just until the flour is absorbed with a silicone spatula. I let it set twenty minutes, then gently kneed it for a minute or so until the lumpiness disappears. I form it in a ball, cover it with sprayed plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place for 3 or 4 hours until it is well risen. I turn it out on the counter, gently flatten it, cut it in pieces, and ball it up. Each ball goes in an individual plastic container and gets refrigerated for a minimum of two days. Three is best. Five is about the limit. When I'm ready to make pizza, I take out the balls about half an hour before I use them. You want them cool but not frigid. You want to handle the dough as little as possible at this point. Never re-kneed a rested dough ball. I find with this technique that the dough is smooth and extensible.

But the short answer to your question is: Overworked dough is rubbery. It springs back. It produces a tough crust.

mfiore 02-09-2010 04:17 AM

Re: Overworking Dough?
Can the dough be formed into balls right after mixing, before the initial 3-4 hour rise? This would eliminate a step of dough handling. Never did it, just asking.

dmun 02-09-2010 08:18 AM

Re: Overworking Dough?
I'm sure you could do it: There are lots of cultures that have unleavened flatbreads, even.
I think the first rise is an important part of the process: It lets the yeast grow and reach equilibrium, and develops flavors. There's also the matter that the cold second rise is much less than the first warm one. I think having your dough balls double in volume would be a storage problem.

heliman 02-09-2010 04:19 PM

Re: Overworking Dough?
I think there are quite a few of us with some heavy dough making artillery frequenting this forum. On that score, with flour that has 11% protein, what would you recommend is a reasonable length of time to knead it for? Hydration would be around 65-67%.

I have heard of the "no knead" recipe but haven't tried it as yet as I prefer to stick to traditional methods of dough making. Looks good though, and less effort...

The reason I asked this question was that whilst kneading 1.7 kg of dough in the TBird at the weekend, I noticed a change in the texture of the dough after about 8-9 mins of kneading. The gluten was forming well and suddely it seemed to relaxed. Not sure if I was imagining it but I may try a shorter knead next time to see if there is any difference in the finished product...

dsgreco 02-10-2010 07:39 AM

Re: Overworking Dough?
I have been trying the no-knead method with bread and the results are awesome! I have also been trying the no-knead method with pizza dough and have not had much luck with getting a thin crust without tearing the dough apart. It does not seem to stretch easily. As a side note the flavor was great.

heliman 02-10-2010 02:21 PM

Re: Overworking Dough?
Interesting to hear of your experience on no-knead.

I still don't fully understand the theory behind how exactly the gluten is developed during this method and whether the results are comparable to the kneaded method. Perhaps mechanical kneading just speeds up the gluten formation process?

Also, how widely used is no-knead in the commercial pizza making industry? This would provide a clue to its acceptance as a reliable method, however preparation perhaps the time is a factor that makes commercial operations favour the kneaded approach.

Perhaps someone can shed some light on this as quite a few people have indicated good results with no-knead pizza.

dmun 02-10-2010 04:14 PM

Re: Overworking Dough?
I don't doubt that I'd get a more perfectly uniform dough if I used mechanical kneeding, but it's one more thing to clean, instead of one bowl and one silicone spatula.

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