Here's the science behind why you need to knead: kneading strengthens the gluten strands that form the bread's structure. Without well-developed gluten, your bread or rolls will be flat and tough.
Although you can knead dough with your stand mixer, we'll show how to knead dough the way it's been done for ages: simply by hand.
Prep your work surface
Scrape out the dough
Place the heels of both hands on top of the dough and use your body weight to push the dough into itself.
Use a scraper to pull the dough off the board if it sticks, then sprinkle a little more flour onto the dough and the work surface, if needed.
Turn the dough
Place the heels of both hands on top of the dough, and again use your body weight to push the dough into itself.
You might have to add a bit of flour until the dough is easier to work with, but don't overdo it or you'll throw off the balance of flour, yeast, salt and water.
Repeat this kneading action - turning, kneading, turning, kneading - until the dough is smooth, silky and elastic - about 10 minutes.
If you're adding other ingredients, such as raisins, nuts, or seeds, to the dough, start working them in after the dough becomes elastic.
You don't have to worry about overworking the dough when you’re kneading by hand.
Now let the dough rest. When you're finished kneading the dough, just shape it into a loose ball and place it in a greased bowl. Turn the dough over to coat the surface lightly with the oil or butter. Turn the dough smooth-side up to rest.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise or continue as directed in the recipe you're following.
Test for elasticity
To test for elasticity - to know when you can stop kneading - pinch off a small piece of dough. You should be able to stretch it out to a thin, translucent windowpane without tearing it.