The Fresh Loaf

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Stand mixer for kneading dough

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gardenmama's picture
gardenmama

Stand mixer for kneading dough

I'm currently using my bread machine to knead dough, but that's the only thing I ever use it for any more. I have a nice (circa 1940s) Kitchen Aid stand mixer: all metal construction. I think it's the professional edition since it has the ring that raises the bowl up and down, rather than the head that lifts out of the bowl.

I have several attachments for it, but none that look like the dough hooks I'm seeing for the current machines. In addition to the beater and wire whisk, I have what looks like a pastry knife. Would this work for mixing dough, or do I need to invest in a dough hook?

Once I get the correct accessory, how long do you generally knead bread with a stand mixer? How do I know when it's done?

Thanks for any advice. I'd love to get away from my dependency on the bread machine and get into making some more novel types of breads.

booberry85's picture
booberry85

I have a newer KitchenAid mixer. I use a dough hook (sorry, I don't know if a pastry knife attachment will work). After the ingredients look mixed, I put the mixer on the 2 setting (second lowest) and let it run for two minutes. That seems to be sufficient for kneading. I've been doing this the last several weeks and have had good luck.

Boo

Patrick's picture
Patrick

Gardenmamma,
I'm surprised that there has been so little response to your question. It's a good question. The KA directions mention 2minutes but it's my understanding that most people disregard that as incorrect. I usually end up kneading for about 10minutes in my KA mixer (it's a 475w 6qt recent model). There are two ways to determine when bread is kneaded sufficiently:
1. The first is the "window test". If the dough can be stretched into a thin translucent window about 1.5" square without breaking then it passes the "window test".
2. Stick a thermometer into the dough. When the dough is kneaded sufficiently, the temperature should read at least about 77degrees and it should be in the range of about 77-81 degrees.

...use these two tests to get a better feel for how long to knead the dough. Eventually you'll also use the "feel" of the dough as a third indicator but for us newbies, this is too nebulous of a test. The two mentioned above are more reliable for beginners.

There are websites with photos of the "window test" to give you a better idea of how it looks (don't know url's right this moment). I learned about it from a video I borrowed from the library called "La Rosa's Fine art of baking bread" -a very good video.

Patrick

dasein668's picture
dasein668

I second Patrick's feeling about 2 minutes being pretty short. I normally mix for a minute or two to combine everything, let it rest for about 15 minutes, then mix for 7 or 8 minutes.

The "windowpane test" is probably your single best tool for determining done-ness.

Nathan Sanborn
dasein668.com

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

I have the KA Artisan, which is somewhat weaker at kneading than the bigger Professional model. I used to use autolyse followed by a short 5 min knead. Lately, however, I've increased my knead time to around 7-8 min and have seen great improvements. Also, with really slack doughs, I have to increase the speed of the mixer to between 3-4 (yes, higher than recommended in the instructions). The slack doughs climb over the collar of the kneading hook at the lower setting of 2.

Mr. Peabody

lgslgs's picture
lgslgs

I usually knead between 8 and 10 minutes. I don't time it - just watch for the dough to transform from looking "mixed" to looking really supple and kneaded.

You can really see it by the way the hook cuts through the dough hook. Early in kneading, as it cuts it opens up dough with ragged edges that doesn't match the outer surface of the dough ball. Later on, the hook looks more like it is just flowing through a uniform mixture. It has some of the "aliveness" look like you see in dough as it it rising.

Lynda

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Very early on, I kneaded much longer in my KA mixer. But soon after I started trying to bake bread, I learned of the autolyse method and turning the dough. These steps really dramatically reduced the amount of kneading that is necessary (and therefore really reduces the chances of overkneading/oxidation). If you haven't tried the autolyse method and/or turning, I really recommend it.

Mr. Peabody

Patrick's picture
Patrick

Just wanted to add that I think the kneading time is probably related to batch size also but I haven't thoroughly tested this. This might explain why some say a short Kneading time is sufficient while most say 8-10 minutes is more like it. I've noticed that the motion of the dough is different when the ball of dough is smaller. When the ball of dough is larger, it seems that the action of the hook on the dough is much more intense so one would expect the kneading time to be shorter in this case as each stroke/revloution of the hook is doing much more work on the ball.

dasein668's picture
dasein668

That's an interesting point and thinking back on my experience, it seems to ring true. My "normal" batch size is in the range of 14-16 oz of flour, which is on the small side for my mixer (I've gone up to a full 2 lbs in this mixer). As mentioned earlier, I'm in the 8 minute range.

Nathan Sanborn
dasein668.com

dasein668's picture
dasein668

That's an interesting point and thinking back on my experience, it seems to ring true. My "normal" batch size is in the range of 14-16 oz of flour, which is on the small side for my mixer (I've gone up to a full 2 lbs in this mixer). As mentioned earlier, I'm usually in the 8 minute range.

Nathan Sanborn
dasein668.com