A sentence towards the bottom of Sanhedrin page 5b speaks of kneading dough in a state of impurity. In the English Koren edition, Rabbi Steinsaltz translates this as meaning the people were impure. The Shottenstein edition reflects the Rashi on that page and translates the sentence as the vessels were impure. The Hebrew Steinstalz edition is consistent with the Koren Steinsaltz edition and at odds with Rashi. Why might Rabbi Steinsaltz have interpreted this ambiguous sentence in a way contradictory to Rashi (who is the most influential commentator)?
Are there any Rishonim who support his interpretation?