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Is mixing (kneading) worth the effort?

To mix or not to mix

I don’t typically advocate for mixes (when a baker says “mix” they are referring to what us normal folks call “knead”. A mix not just stirring to incorporate ingredients but mechanically mixing the dough to strengthen the gluten structure)

In my recipes I rarely advocate for a mix. The majority of my recipes are “no knead”. The only time I advocate for a mix/knead is when sugar is added to the dough or you’re looking for a specific outcome (like leopard spots on Neapolitan style pizza, or blisters on your bread)

The act of mixing can be more important if you’re doing an autolyse (where the enzymes make sugars readily available to the sourdough as soon as it’s added) or you’re fermenting really warm and you don’t have time to the let structure form naturally. But in general a find no knead breads come out just fine and I rarely mix even if I do an autolyse or a warm ferment.

There’s no doubt you get “better” bread from mixing. It’s more reliable, and you tend to get better structure, a better oven spring, and more blisters. But, if you don’t have a mixer or the time to stand there and hand mix for 10-15 minutes, just skip it!

Hopefully these loaves are proof enough. Left was actively mixed with a “slap and fold” technique for 10 minutes. Right was just using my normal no knead method. Sure left is taller and has better blisters, but they taste identical and right was frankly easier to make.

The recipe for this loaf was:
100% @shiptonmill organic white strong bread flour (thanks @panda_sourdough !)
78% water
3% salt
20% sourdough

No autolyse for either
Left was mixed 10 minutes, right was no knead.

Both went warm for 5 hours with folds every hour or so, then both got an hour bench rest. 6 hours total before going into the fridge for a 18 hour rest around 4C.

I think a lot of us can become obsessed with the “perfect” recipe. Just find one that works for you and make awesome, nutritious bread for your family.

If you’re looking for my recipes, you can find them all in my ebook #bakingwithrosehillsourdough which you can grab on my website

Anyone else a mix skipper? 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️🙋or is it just me?
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