Technique: Converting Bread Recipes to the Food Processor (2024)

Technique: Converting Bread Recipes to the Food Processor (1)

Most dough recipes don't give you options for kneading. Usually they're written for one type of machine or they're written for hand kneading, without a machine in sight. What if the recipe sounds wonderful, but you don't have the proper equipment?

I've seen very few dough recipes that would be impossible to convert from one method to another. Well, no-knead would be a little silly in the bowl of your food processor, but otherwise it's just a matter of changing a few things to convert from one style of kneading to the other.

Generally, the things that need to be changed are the amount of time you need to knead and the order you add ingredients.

But here's the thing about timing: in my opinion, any recipe that tells you to knead for a specific amount of time but doesn't give you any visual cues isn't a good recipe. There are too many variables that affect the gluten development, so time is not the best indicator. Sure, you can give a rough estimate so someone knows if they'll be kneading for 30 seconds or 20 minutes, but precise timing is impossible if you're using someone else's recipe.

Yes, there are exceptions to my "it's a bad recipe" rule. Not many. Kneading early in the process may be all about mixing and less about gluten development, so watching the clock is fine. But instructions to knead for 10 minutes before shaping a loaf is much less useful.

So, if you're relying on visual cues to tell you whether the kneading is done, converting from one kneading method to another means that you can rely on your senses rather than the clock. It's helpful to have an idea of when to check the dough, and that's most important with the food processor, since it's so much faster.

My rule of thumb with any dough in the food processor is to stop and check the dough shortly after it forms a ball. At that point, I check the gluten development and make sure there aren't any bits of dry ingredients or wet dough that need to be incorporated into the main dough ball. Sometimes there will be dry flour or a bit of wet goop just under the blade or bits of stray dough too high for the dough ball to reach, so I gather those up.

Then I continue processing in short bursts, maybe 15-30 seconds each, checking the dough each time to see if the gluten has developed fully and to let the dough rest and cool if it has become too warm.

When it comes to adding ingredients, the food processor makes it easy. Generally you start with all of the flour and similar dry ingredients (along with butter or oil, if you're using it) in the food processor bowl, including the yeast, if you're using instant yeast. If you're using active dry yeast, it's common to proof it in just a small amount of the water - about 1/4 cup.

The processor is first pulsed a few times to mix the dry ingredients and break up the bits of butter or oil. Then the liquids are added. With the exception of the proofed yeast in warm water, all of the liquids should be cold when they are added, to help keep the dough temperature down.

If you're proofed yeast in warm water, that goes in first, followed by the rest of the water or other liquids. All of the liquids should be added while the food processor is running, and as fast as the flour can absorb them. You don't want to add the liquid all at once, or you'll end up with a sloppy, sloshy mess that will take a long time to incorporate. When the dough begins to form a ball, it has enough moisture. Depending on the recipe, you can add more liquid, as needed.

Using a food processor is fast and efficient, and it makes kneading completely effortless. It also requires fewer steps, since all of the wet ingredients are added to all of the dry ingredients, so there's no need to think about adding items separately.

Since the processor is so efficient at kneading and so powerful, there's no concern about salt toughening the dough and making it harder to knead, or oil coating the strands of gluten - it powers through everything without hesitation and creates a smooth, silky, elastic dough.

That speed and power also makes the food processor very abusive to any add-ins. Chunks of cheese can become shreds in no time, and even seeds and nuts can take a beating. These need to be added to food processor recipes at the very end, and gently pulsed to combine, or they should be kneaded in by hand.

The speed and efficiency of the food processor also makes it a little bit harder to adjust recipes, so it's best to work with a tested formula. Once that ball of dough is formed, kneading is very close to being done. Trying to add more liquid or flour to correct the hydration at that point can lead to overheating or even overkneading the dough.

Technique: Converting Bread Recipes to the Food Processor (2024)


Can I use my food processor to make bread? ›

Breads, pastries, pasta and pie crusts can all be made in a food processor. Of course, other appliances, like the classic KitchenAid® stand mixer can also be used to make dough and may be preferable in some scenarios.

What is the benefit of using a food processor when making yeast bread? ›

The rapid action of a food processor's blade can turn dough elastic in just minutes with almost no effort. The food processor also helps ensure that the dry and wet ingredients are evenly incorporated and helps avoid unmixed pockets of flour for the most effortless doughs you'll ever make.

How long does it take to knead dough in a food processor? ›

Mix ingredients according to recipe. Turn the processor on high for 30 seconds until a dough ball forms. Flip the ball over and place it back in the processor.

What is the dough blade on a food processor? ›

Dough blades are usually made out of plastic and have dull edges meant to turn and pull dough as opposed to cutting into it. You can use it to make fresh breads, pastry crust and pizza dough.

Is a food processor better than a mixer for bread? ›

Both types of appliances offer powerful help with bread. If speed is your thing, using a food processor for kneading dough edges out the stand mixer ever so slightly because of its lightning-quick speed. If you're making pizza dough for dinner, the food processor is a great go-to.

Can I use a food processor instead of a mixer for baking? ›

Making cakes with a food processor

This is where a food processor can really save the day. Most cakes made with food processors are made using the 'all in one' method, where all the ingredients are put into the bowl at the same time and whizzed together using the knife blade until evenly mixed into a cake batter.

Can I knead bread dough in a food processor? ›

A food processor kneads dough faster

All this extra power translates to a device that generates a lot of force, creating a dough in a fraction of the time it would take in a stand mixer or by hand. The dough for my Surprisingly Simple Sandwich Bread comes together in under six minutes. Six minutes!

What size food processor do I need for bread dough? ›

10–13 cup food processors also provide enough space to knead dough, then let it rise right in the work bowl.

How do you tell if dough is kneaded enough? ›

If the dough bounces back without sticking to your finger, it's been kneaded enough. If it doesn't, you need to keep kneading.

Can you knead bread dough too long? ›

The overworked dough will often feel tight and tough. This means that liquid molecules have been damaged and won't stretch properly, causing the bread to break and tear more easily. Conversely, a dough that is underworked will be harder to form into a ball shape.

What is autolysing bread? ›

An autolyse (“aw-toe-lease”), sometimes written as autolyze, autolysis, or dough autolysis, combines the flour and some or all of the water in a recipe and then leaves the mixture to rest for some period. During this time, gluten bonds begin forming, and the dough takes on a smoother texture and strengthens overall.

Should I use a dough hook or blade? ›

The dough hook on the KitchenAid stand mixer is sometimes called a 'dough blade' or 'C' dough hook because of its C-shape claw. It mimics the motion of hand kneading, doing the hard work of stretching and massaging for you.

What is a bread razor? ›

Essentially, a bread lame is a handle and a razor blade.

What is a bread blade called? ›

A lame (/læm, leɪm/, from French lame, inherited from Latin lāmina, meaning saw) is a double-sided blade that is used to slash the tops of bread loaves in baking.

Is a food processor better than a blender for dough? ›

You can make different types of dough in both a food processor and a blender, but will likely get more evenly kneaded results in a food processor. Chopping meat is best in a food processor as well. It'll turn out much more even with less crevices to get stuck in and clean out.

Can you put flour in a food processor? ›


You'll want to start your stand mixer at speed 10. If you're using a blender, turn it on and gradually increase to the highest speed. Your food processor will also mill flour using the highest speed.

What is the difference between a food processor and a dough mixer? ›

Differences Between Food Processors and Mixers

A stand mixer uses various beaters to mix, knead, whip and mash ingredients. A food processor uses blades and discs to cut food which allows you to chop, puree, slice, shred and sometimes more.

Do you really need a bread maker to make bread? ›

An oven can bake your bread, but what it can't do for you is knead your dough. Removing the onerous task of kneading is perhaps the biggest appeal of a breadmaker. That said, if you already have a benchtop mixer with a dough hook, you can simply use this for the hard work, saving you money and space.

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