AskDefine | Define knead

Dictionary Definition



1 make uniform; "knead dough"; "work the clay until it is soft" [syn: work]
2 manually manipulate (someone's body), usually for medicinal or relaxation purposes; "She rubbed down her child with a sponge" [syn: massage, rub down]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • nēd, /ni:d/
  • /niːd/



  1. To work and press into a mass, usually with the hands; esp., to work, as by repeated pressure with the knuckles, into a well mixed mass, as the materials of bread, cake, etc.; as, to knead dough.
  2. Fig.: To treat or form as by kneading; to beat.


Extensive Definition

For kneading of clay, see wedging
Kneading is a process in the making of bread, used to mix together the ingredients and add strength to the bread. Its importance lies in the mixing of flour with water. When these two ingredients are combined and kneaded, the gliadin and glutenin proteins in the flour expand and form strands of gluten, which gives bread its texture. (To aid gluten production, many recipes use bread flour, which is higher in protein than all-purpose flour.) The kneading process warms and stretches these gluten strands, eventually creating a springy and elastic dough. If the dough is not kneaded enough, it will not be able to hold the tiny pockets of air (CO2) created by the leavening agent (such as yeast or baking powder), and will collapse, leaving a heavy and dense loaf.
Kneading can be performed with a breadmaker, a mixer, a dough hook or by hand. The dough (which usually consists of flour, salt, water, oil and yeast) is put on a floured surface, pressed and stretched with the heel of the hand, folded over, and rotated through 90º repeatedly. This process continues for around 10 minutes, until the dough is slightly elastic and smooth. The dough can then be allowed to rise or "proved".
Similar to kneading is knocking back or punching down, which is sometimes performed to the dough after it has been proved. The dough is punched once or twice, after which it is kneaded gently for a short time. The aim of this is to remove any large air pockets which have formed in the dough, create an even texture in the bread and redistribute the nutrients for the yeast, thus allowing fermentation to continue. The dough can then be proved a second time. Another method of knocking back (also known as "folding") is to gently stretch and pat out the proved dough before folding the sides in towards the centre.


See also

knead in Danish: æltning
knead in French: pétrissage
knead in Walloon: prustixhaedje

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

admix, alloy, amalgamate, bemingle, blend, block out, caress, carve, cast, chisel, coalesce, combine, commingle, commix, compose, compound, concoct, conglomerate, create, cushion, cut, ease, efform, emulsify, fashion, feel up, figure, fix, fluff, fondle, forge, form, formalize, found, frame, frictionize, fuse, gentle, hash, hew, homogenize, immingle, immix, integrate, interblend, interlace, interlard, intermingle, intermix, intertwine, interweave, jumble, knock out, laxate, lay out, lick into shape, limber, limber up, loosen, mash, massage, mellow, merge, milden, mingle, mingle-mangle, mint, mix, mix up, model, mold, mollify, nose, nuzzle, pet, plump, pulp, relax, rough out, roughcast, roughhew, rub, rub against, rub down, rub noses, scramble, sculpt, sculpture, set, shake up, shape, shuffle, smash, soften, soften up, squash, stamp, stir up, stroke, subdue, supple, syncretize, tailor, tenderize, thermoform, throw together, tone down, toss together, tune down, work
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