Try the Slap & Fold method of kneading dough when you need to get your frustrations out!
When you really need to slap something, or someone, try making bread instead and save yourself from humiliation and embarrassment. The “slap & fold” method is commonly used when kneading dough. The reason we knead dough in the first place is to develop the gluten and create a network of gluten instead of sheets of gluten. This method is typically used if your dough is very sticky, so you will want to lift it off the surface to develop the bread and create and smooth texture.
How do you do it? Once the dough is mixed use a spatula to place it on an un-floured surface or countertop. Instead of kneading with a push and a shove (although some of you might like to push and shove if you’re really crabby), you can use the Slap & Fold method to really get that anger out.
To start, pick it up to stretch, slap the dough down on the table and then fold it over… pick it up to stretch, slap it down and fold it over, repeat this process for at least 15 minutes. You will feel the dough changing with your touch; it will become smoother and you can just feel the gluten develop. After 15 minutes of slapping you will see the satin shine of the dough, you will see the air bubbles and blisters; at this point, it should make a good loaf of bread and you should be feeling a lot less frustrated.
Next, put the dough in a bowl, cover it up, and let it rise. Here’s the best part, if you are still angry after it rises for an hour or more, you get to punch the dough! Yes, punch the dough into the bowl to let the air escape.
Punch the dough down in the bowl to break down the pockets of air that have formed during the rising process. You can do this a few times with the rising and punching process, and when you’re “good with that” then grease a bread pan and bake. Now, you should have no aggression left and the smell of fresh baked bread should put you in a really great mood for days!
The moral of the story, if you have some frustration built up, bake bread, don’t take it out on someone else.
Here’s a great recipe for rustic bread shared by my friend and photographer, Paul Audia.