First Bread Dough Kneaded By Hand

INSPIRATION from the Kitchen Bootcamp – this month’s challenge is yeast breads. I tried to think outside the box and try something new…very timely since I think my wonderful (and old) bread machine died this morning. I don’t know if it’s recoverable, we’ll see if DH can fix it.

The ingredients were in the machine bucket, and I set it for “dough” and NADA. I could hear a slight clicking noise coming from the motor underneath the paddle, so initially I thought that maybe it was jammed or not placed correctly.

I tried, but I couldn’t get it to work, so I thought, well, maybe this was a sign. A sign to try something new and get out of my comfort zone.

So, I transferred all the ingredients into a large ceramic bowl and started to mix with a spoon. It was so dry; I started to mix with my hands. It was horrible. My hands were immediately clumped with sticky dough. I was trying to remember all the advice that I previously learned in books, on web sites and from other bread bakers. I decided that instead of dusting with a ton of flour, I would keep wetting my hands and try to knead that way.

I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to knead for a full 10 minutes. Besides being bored to tears, that is a lot of work! So, I thought I would try a blend of kneading and resting (to allow the gluten to develop on its own). I kneaded for about 3 minutes, left it to rest for 10 minutes, kneaded for 5 minutes, rest for 5, kneaded for 7 minutes, rested for half hour, then the last knead for about a minute.

Before the first rise, after I kneaded. I wish I got a shot of the bowl AFTER the rise, but I totally forgot! :(

before first rise, after kneading

Then I allowed it to rise for 1.5 – 2 hrs. The rise was okay. Definitely did not expand like normal in the bread machine, but it seemed acceptable.

I gently flattened the dough into a rectangle shape and folded up into a loaf as usual. I allowed to proof for 45 minutes.

shaped, proofed and ready to be baked

I baked in a preheated 375° oven for just under an hour.

right out of the oven

It was definitely a smaller sized loaf for sure, and the bread crust had a “white” powder look to it, and I’m wondering if it was from the dough becoming oxidized from too much air being kneaded into the dough or over-kneading. I dunno, not sure. I didn’t think I kneaded too much, it was a thick dough. Since I added oats to the ingredients, I wasn’t sure if it was still supposed to be very stretchy, like regular white bread dough. Had I known I would be hand-kneading, I would have started with an easier plain whole wheat flour dough, sans the oats.

finished loaf cooling

But we each had a slice tonight for dinner with some chili, and it tasted great!

the crumb

And the good news is, DH seemed to have fixed my bread machine. I don’t know what was wrong with it, but he was trying to turn the paddle by hand, and it felt like the motor was caught up on something, so he reversed the direction, and felt something release. Then it turned freely.

We turned the bread machine on again, and it seemed to be working properly. Phew. I really didn’t want to have to buy a new bread machine, but hmm, this one seems to be on its last legs, so eventually I might have to.

Here’s the recipe I was using (It’s based on my Traditional Wheat Oatmeal recipe with a few adjustments.


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Tbsp Orange Juice
  • 1.25 cups water – the honey and OJ is stirred into the water for a total of 1.25 cups
  • 12.75 oz or 3 cups flour – I split the flour into roughly 2 cups Whole Wheat flour and 1 cup All Purpose flour.
  • 1 cup or 3.75 oz Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup (3.5 to 3.75 oz) of rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
  • 2 Tbsp Wheat Bran flakes
  • OPTIONAL 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) dried buttermilk powder (for example, Saco brand
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast

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