The kneading part of the process may seem boring but it is the crucial stage to achieve a light airy bread.
Kneading stretches the gluten and creates a smooth and stretchy dough which holds the gases released from the yeast better. Don't be frightened by a dough which is sticky to start with. The more you knead, the more it’ll come together.
There are two ways of testing if you have kneaded the dough enough. The first is lightly pressing a finger into the dough, the indentation should pop straight back, if it doesn't the gluten isn't quite developed and needs a little more kneading. The second is the windowpane test. You may have seen the bakers on the Great British Bake Off do this and have no clue what they are doing. By testing if you can stretch a small amount of dough thin enough that you can see light through, it means the gluten has developed. If not, knead that little bit longer. You can’t be weak when kneading dough otherwise you won’t build the gluten strands.
Here are some of our top techniques for kneading: