Originally Posted by htc on 10-28-2005
Degassing (or punching down) vs. Kneading
I don't understand the difference between these two. I am learning a lot from the bread makers apprentice book. I am in the process of my 2nd rise for challah bread. The book says to degas or punch down for 2 minutes. They say degassing is handling the dough very gently to retain as much gas as possible. Gently fold the dough.
But when I fold the dough (I did this for about 2 min), trying to be as gentle as possible. I saw little air (?) bubles form that I think popped. It ended up looking a lot like the dough from the first rise, though the texture is different.
I don't really see the difference between the two techniques. ?
IMHO, degassing, punching down and kneading are three
different techniques, not two. If the focus is on redistributing yeast in the dough during a rise (not the final rise) and eliminating *large* air pockets, then the scale would be from degassing (most gentle - preserves small air pockets but eliminates large ones) to kneading (most robust - redistributes yeast effectively but destroys *all or most* air pockets).
- kneading is - ummmmm - kneading. Just have a light hand and don't add xtra flour. A few "turns" are sufficient. (Sometimes, as you knead, large air pockets give out little farting sounds as they burst; I think that is a riot.)
- used to deflate dough during a rise "in the bowl". After the dough has about risen 1-1/2 to 2 times the original bulk, you punch it down with your fist (it deflates) and then, usually, you flip it (to bring the oiled part to the top) and recover with plastic wrap.
- a gentler technique than punching it, since you achieve the same effect *without* eliminating the small air pockets. This involves stretching and folding the dough (rather than punching it).
For a general explanation of this technique (with pix), go to http://home.earthlink.net/~myjunketc...adWithBiga.htm
and scroll down to the section titled The Optional Neat Trick
Here's an *even gentler* approach to degassing, which is a variation on the above link - keep the dough *in* the bowl (since removing it from the bowl to the board will deflate a very wet dough) and apply the technique like this
One usually degasses dough when it has risen about 1-1/2 times the original bulk. Two "strech and folds" are normally sufficient. You'll notice that the dough rises faster after doing this; wait until it has risen again to 1-1/2 to 2 times the original bulk and proceed with the shaping according to the recipe.
Wet doughs benefit from using the degassing over the punch-down technique since they are very fragile and, in general, you want as much as possible to preserve the smaller air pockets in order to get an open structure (eg - holes in the interior of the bread) in the final product. This includes breads like ciabatta or baguettes.
If you're making challah, which is not as fragile, you could punch it down.
Hope this helps -