Cutting a homemade seed bread

HOW TO KNEAD AND MAKE DOUGH IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

Making dough in a food processor can be a time-saver and the end results are similar to other dough-making methods. 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. Learn more about whether a food processor or stand mixer is best for your baking project. Read on for step-by-step instructions and tips on how to knead dough in a food processor so you can create delicious doughs right on your countertop.

Food processor with dough inside and ingredients on countertop Food processor with dough inside and ingredients on countertop

HOW TO MIX AND KNEAD DOUGH WITH A FOOD PROCESSOR

Some food processors come with a plastic dough blade designed for kneading. You can also use the standard metal multi-purpose blade, but you’ll need to monitor the dough’s progress closely to ensure you don’t overwork it. 

The following steps for how to knead dough in your food processor utilize the dough blade. If you’re using the metal blade, shorten the knead time by one third. Keep in mind the following instructions are general and will make a basic yeast bread or crust like a Sourdough Bread Loaf or Neapolitan Pizza.

STEP 1. ADD DRY INGREDIENTS

Add dry ingredients to the bowl and pulse 3-4 times to mix.

STEP 2. PREPARE YEAST

In a separate cup, proof yeast by adding to warm water.

STEP 3. ADD WET INGREDIENTS

Add wet ingredients through the food processor food tube to the dry ingredients, already in the bowl.

STEP 4. BEGIN PULSING

Pulse for about three seconds, then add the remainder of the water through the food tube.

STEP 5. TURN UP THE SPEED

Turn the food processor on high speed, and process until a dough ball forms, around 20 seconds.

STEP 6. TURN THE DOUGH

Turn the food processor off, unplug, and remove the lid. Lightly dust the ball with flour. Pick up the dough ball and turn over so that what was on the bottom (it is usually warmer) becomes what is on top.

STEP 7. CONTINUE PULSING

Re-attach the lid, plug in and pulse for another 20-30 seconds.

STEP 8. REMOVE DOUGH

Unplug the machine, remove the lid and blade and remove the dough ball from the bowl. It is recommended to hand-knead for about 30 seconds to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated and that the dough has a smooth and elastic texture.

STEP 9. LET THE DOUGH RISE

Lightly coat the dough ball with olive oil, divide in two and return to your work bowl (or another bowl of your choice) to let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Depending on the recipe, the dough will be ready to bake after one or two proofs.

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CAN I KNEAD DOUGH IN ANY FOOD PROCESSOR?

Any food processor can knead dough as long as it has a multipurpose metal blade. A special dough blade is an added bonus. A larger model may be best for making dough in a food processor, depending on how many or how large your batches are. For example, KitchenAid brand offers a 13-cup food processor with a dough blade. Learn more about food processor sizes and how to find the right fit. 

HOW LONG SHOULD I KNEAD DOUGH WITH MY FOOD PROCESSOR?

Your dough should come together in about 30 seconds to 1 minute. You'll know your dough is done when it forms a rough ball that pulls away from the side of the work bowl. The dough ball should have a shiny appearance and an elastic, stretchy texture that bounces back when you pull on it. After taking the dough out of the food processor, hand knead it for about another 30 seconds.

WHICH BLADE SHOULD I USE WHEN MAKING DOUGH IN A FOOD PROCESSOR?

You have two blade options for making dough in a food processor: the multipurpose metal blade and the plastic dough blade. They both can create a beautiful dough but have some key differences:

Metal multipurpose blade of a food processor

Metal multipurpose blade

The metal blade works faster, forming gluten bonds quickly. However, the speed also creates heat that could kill the yeast in your dough if kneaded too long, so you have to keep a close eye on your dough. Use the multipurpose blade for some pie doughs like the Beef and Vegetable Pie.

Plastic dough blade of a food processor

Plastic dough blade

Designed specifically for dough, this dull plastic blade turns and pulls at dough rather than cutting through it. It will take a little longer to form the dough ball but is less likely to overheat it.

TIPS FOR MAKING DOUGH IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

Use cold water: Chilled or cold water will help keep the dough from overheating. Too much heat can kill the yeast in dough that makes it rise. It can also melt the butter or fat in biscuit dough and certain crusts like Honey Butter Biscuits or the Herbed Zucchini Quiche, making them dense rather than flaky.

Make smaller batches: Your average 10 or 12 cup food processor can make about 1.5 pounds of dough, which is equivalent to a recipe that uses 2 or 3 cups of flour, yielding about 1 loaf of bread. If you choose to make dough in a food processor, you may not be able to make larger batches. Choose a stand mixer for making dough if you want to make multiple loaves at once.

Pulse only: Since food processor dough comes together so quickly, pulsing will help you keep better control over the kneading process. Overkneading is an easy mistake to make even when you’re not using a food processor, so pulse in intervals and closely observe the dough, stopping when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

CAN OTHER COUNTERTOP APPLIANCES HELP ME KNEAD DOUGH?

The classic countertop appliance for making dough is the stand mixer. It will take a bit longer to knead dough but offers other benefits. With their large bowls, stand mixers are ideal for making big batches. You also have better visibility in an open stand mixer than a closed food processor. Recipes that create wetter doughs, like some pizzas, also benefit from the kneading action of the dough hook in a stand mixer. Learn how to use a stand mixer dough hook to see if this is the best option for your recipes.

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