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Article

Making White Bread Dough in a Food Processor

Fine Cooking Issue 21

Q:

I’ve mastered whole-wheat bread dough in the food processor, but when I try to make white bread dough, I end up with a hot, sticky, liquid mess that forces the blade out of place. Any suggestions?

Stephanie Daval, Princeton, NJ

A:

Maggie Glezer replies: Because a food processor operates at high speed, bread dough kneaded in it develops more quickly than if it’s kneaded by hand. Either technique is fine; a food processor is handy if you don’t have the strength or stamina to knead for twenty minutes or more.

The problem with you particular dough is twofold. First, the dough is overheating during processing. To avoid this, I recommend that you use very cold liquids (some bakers even use ice water) and process the dough in thirty-second intervals, hand-kneading it on the counter for a couple of turns in between each whir in the food processor, until you get a very smooth dough that stretches without ripping. The dough closest to the processor blade heats up more, and hand kneading helps redistribute and release some of that built-up heat. (Handling the dough also helps you monitor its development.)

Second, whole-wheat flour absorbs more liquid than white flour does, so your whole-wheat dough was probably stiffer and not as likely to liquefy. Try redicing the liquid in your white dough by a tablespoon or two to see if that gives you a less runny result.

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