Basic Bread Making Techniques
It Is one of the most important stages of making bread, because it develops the gluten which gives the dough its elasticity, and distributes the yeast evenly.
To knead by hand take the edge of the dough and pull it to the centre with your fingers, push out with the heal of your hand so that the dough rolls out on the board, give it a quarter turn and repeat. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.
It is the period the dough must be left for the yeast to do its work. To prove the dough, place it in a warm draught free place. The warmth will cause the dough to rise. It will rise even in cool conditions, but it will take longer. Always cover the dough with a wet tea towel when proving, it will stop a skin developing. Dough, when risen properly, should have doubled in size and should spring back and feel very slightly sticky.
Sometimes during the first rise a dough will expand unevenly, knocking back is simply punching all the gas out of the dough. It will create an even crumb structure. The dough is left to prove again in the tin until it has doubled its size once more.
Bread should be baked in a hot oven 425f (220c). NB some ovens do not go this high. Too test if a loaf is baked, tap on the underside, if it sounds hollow it’s done. Always allow bread to cool on a wire tray.