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Any bread-making potters out there?

I've been trying to make bread recently. Apparently, kneading bread differs from wedging. The bread machine flings the dough around sort of randomly but produces a lovely loaf. What do I need to re-learn or un-learn?

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Wedging is a specific type of kneading. The goal with wedging is to mix the clay without adding air bubbles. If you do it correctly, you'll remove air bubbles. I was taught two types of wedging- knead (or ram's head) and spiral. In knead wedging, the corners are pulled down and pushed into the center, creating a ram's head shape. It's good for smaller amounts of clay. Spiral wedging works the clay in a spiral fashion, and is better for large amounts because you're not really kneading the entire ball all at once. Bit by bit the clay is pulled into the spiral.

Bread is kneaded in order to stretch the gluten, so that it acts as a web to catch the gasses put out by the yeast, which causes the bread to rise. If you happen to work some air bubbles into it, it's not a big deal. You can do just about anything you want as far as technique is concerned, as long as it's stretching and moving the dough around. Personally, I make my sourdough at 75% hydration, so there's no kneading involved. The dough is much too wet.

 

Bread.jpeg

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I've lately come up with a new form of wedging  Maybe.  When the clay has dried too much for wedging, or anything else,  it can be "forge wedged".  Similar to forging steel on Forged in Fire.  I use a maple rolling ping and just beat in until there are no cracks  and it's solid to roll out.  I use it for pulling textures from  hydro cal press molds.  Some of the textures are too "radical" for anything softer to not tear,  and this almost too hard to be useful clay will pull the texture.  This is then added as a sprig.

Edited by CactusPots
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@neilestrick What type of clay body is that? 

 

Beyond the two types Neil listed (Ram's Head and Spiral), there is another type, Cone wedging.  Like Ram's Head, it works better for smaller amounts.  I usually start with Ram's Head, and then go to Cone. 

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In my College Ceramics book, they also referred to Spiral Wedging as " Chrysanthemum " wedging. (Yes I had to look up how to spell that, despite the fact I read that children's book, to my daughter hundreds of times...)

I would say you are probably right Pres.  The steps in Cone and Spiral wedging are the same.  You just don't really get the large disc, with smaller amounts of clay.  At the very least, both end the same way.  With Spiral wedging, it becomes a cone, with the finishing passes.  So, it's probably just a matter of semantics. 

I will also note, that when I explain why "Ram's Head" is called that, most of my students don't really see the "Ram"  Who would expect Art students to have some imagination?...

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Thanks, all. Guess I should have been more specific.  I'm familiar with the various types of wedging. I learned to cone, which was described as pre-aligning the clay platelets in a spiral before throwing, as well as conditioning the clay and homogenizing it. 

So, the object of bread kneading - is it just to homogenize? @neilestrick's recipe seems to rely on moisture alone. For breads that need kneading, how does that action, motion differ from ram's head wedging? Am I conditioning/homogenizing but not necessarily aligning molecules? Do I just need to whack it around like the bread machine does?

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You're simply stretching strands of gluten in kneading bread, that's why a bread maker just whacks it around for a while.  Too much kneading and your bread will be too hard and chewy to eat, too little and it'll be more like cake.

I dont think there's a good comparison in clay, the word is just shared due to the traditional movements being similar.

Bread is homogenized when it's mixed

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I always would poke to finger dents in the rams head to help those with little imagination. . . seemed to help.^_^

 

Also, Ben, you are right about the " Chrysanthemum "  name, in some older books it used to be called the Oriental cone. .. but then again that is not a politically correct term anymore!:o

 

 

best,

Pres

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3 hours ago, Rae Reich said:

Thanks, all. Guess I should have been more specific.  I'm familiar with the various types of wedging. I learned to cone, which was described as pre-aligning the clay platelets in a spiral before throwing, as well as conditioning the clay and homogenizing it. 

So, the object of bread kneading - is it just to homogenize? @neilestrick's recipe seems to rely on moisture alone. For breads that need kneading, how does that action, motion differ from ram's head wedging? Am I conditioning/homogenizing but not necessarily aligning molecules? Do I just need to whack it around like the bread machine does?

You can knead bread dough kind of like wedging. It's a bit more of a folding action, though. I suppose that some techniques are faster or more efficient than others, but as long as it's being stretched and moved about, it'll work.

With wet sourdoughs, you do have to mix it well at the beginning, and fold it a few times, and during shaping there's a bit of a stretching action to create tension in the surface, but it's not kneaded.

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I remember reading somewhere that sourdough is different because the bacteria and yeast work together to change the chemistry of the flour or something.  Probably a bunch of BS, but it sounded good.  I love fermented foods though, can't get enough, I'm gonna have to try fermenting some clay

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2 hours ago, liambesaw said:

I remember reading somewhere that sourdough is different because the bacteria and yeast work together to change the chemistry of the flour or something.  Probably a bunch of BS, but it sounded good.  I love fermented foods though, can't get enough, I'm gonna have to try fermenting some clay

Not BS. Sourdough is different. In addition to having multiple strains of yeast, rather than one strain like in commercial dry yeast, it contains lactobicillus bacteria and other things that do a better job of breaking down the gluten and grain proteins during the fermentation process, making it more digestible than regular bread.

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On 4/17/2019 at 4:20 PM, CactusPots said:

"forge wedged"

Well, learn something new every day!   :) I  almost never wedge (when I do, it's spiral). Mostly I do cut & slam, and then I often beat the clay into submission with a mallet or pound it with a heavy duty commercial rolling pin, whacking it every which way from Sunday (then roll it).   Ah ha....forge wedged!  I don't bake bread.  I make "Casserolls" from Recipes for a Small Planet. They're  made of  milk, honey, butter, yeast, & whole wheat flour. The process involves warming, cooling, stiring, bubbling, beating, going down, rising up & dropping by heaping spoonfulls into a pan--no kneading. Truly yummy.  

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16 hours ago, Pres said:

I always would poke to finger dents in the rams head to help those with little imagination. . . seemed to help.^_^

 

Also, Ben, you are right about the " Chrysanthemum "  name, in some older books it used to be called the Oriental cone. .. but then again that is not a politically correct term anymore!:o

 

 

best,

Pres

Yeah, I've got some older textbooks, which I've inherited, that definitely use some outdated terminology...

16 hours ago, neilestrick said:

You can knead bread dough kind of like wedging. It's a bit more of a folding action, though. I suppose that some techniques are faster or more efficient than others, but as long as it's being stretched and moved about, it'll work.

Yeah, no issues with folding, while kneading bread.  If you trap air, it will just add to the texture you are generally trying to achieve. 

 

Also, sourdough is delicious!

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17 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Hahah! I was on a big pretzel bun kick this past winter, and I was just kneading my bread using my usual spiral wedging technique before the first proof, and using the "bun smush" method before the second. 

D49DA64C-EBDD-456B-A54E-B3805FD77B24.jpeg

Post your recipe. Those look great!

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@neilestrick I used this lady's recipe on the recommendation of Mariko Paterson. Make at your own risk. They are delicious.

https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/easy-pretzel-rolls/

@Rae Reich It's where you take the outside edges of the small dough ball in your hand and smush them into the centre, turn and repeat.

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17 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

@neilestrick I used this lady's recipe on the recommendation of Mariko Paterson. Make at your own risk. They are delicious.

https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/easy-pretzel-rolls/

@Rae Reich It's where you take the outside edges of the small dough ball in your hand and smush them into the centre, turn and repeat.

I didn't even go a day without making a batch, well a double batch, cough cough. Was out of kosher salt for the tops so I used Trader Joe's Everything but the bagel on top. Thanks for the recipe and the warning...just finished my second one.

IMG_2786.jpg.4d8ecdae7fb76015099e7c8c3437c144.jpg

 

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I have spent 45 years telling people/customers you fire pots not bake them . This thread shows how folks can get confused -potters talking about food and clay.

I wedge clay and fire clay no kneeding or baking please.

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1 hour ago, Mark C. said:

I have spent 45 years telling people/customers you fire pots not bake them . This thread shows how folks can get confused -potters talking about food and clay.

I wedge clay and fire clay no kneeding or baking please.

Next you'll tell us that it's glaze, not paint.:D

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On 4/30/2019 at 10:25 PM, Callie Beller Diesel said:

@neilestrick I used this lady's recipe on the recommendation of Mariko Paterson. Make at your own risk. They are delicious.

https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/easy-pretzel-rolls/

@Rae Reich It's where you take the outside edges of the small dough ball in your hand and smush them into the centre, turn and repeat.

Definitely going to try this recipe, though most of you haven't been very helpful in helping me understand the difference between wedging motions and kneading motions ;) I will try. 

@Callie Beller Diesel, does "turn" mean "turn over" or "turn clockwise( or widdershins)"?

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