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Watch this video to learn how to knead bread dough that is smooth, elastic and ready for baking.
The bread dough that we have here is a basic bread dough including flour, water, yeast, and salt. What I do is I just flour my tabletop slightly - just enough to prevent the dough from sticking on your tabletop.
To do this, you want to start by looking at your bread dough in an oval shape and you want to take the top of the dough and fold it over toward you. In folding it over you're going to use the heel of your hand and press in and forward, so you get a really nice friction from the table. Then rotate it 90 degrees, and do the same for this direction: taking it from the top, folding over and, using the heel of your hand, pressing away from you.
We're kneading, and what kneading does is it incorporates the ingredients. By incorporating the ingredients you are making sure there is even fermentation throughout the whole entire dough. You're warming up the dough, which makes your yeast want to move and activate.
From start to finish, kneading a dough would probably take about ten minutes by hand. You would just knead this until it combines. And by combining, you're looking for it not to stick onto the palms of your hands any more. It should form a smooth surface; it should just look like a baby's bottom. It's really really smooth. And it should have some elasticity to it. The elasticity is where you can hook your finders underneath the dough, and it starts to stretch. So that's when you have a good sign of a dough that's well-kneaded and ready to work with.