The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

About selecting a kneading machine and electric oven

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satimis's picture
satimis

About selecting a kneading machine and electric oven

Hi all,

In selecting a kneading machine and electric oven for bread baking at home what will be the basic feature and performance I have to pay attention to?  Thanks in advance.

B.R.
satimis

ehanner's picture
ehanner

satimis,

Your question is rather open ended but I will try to point you in a good direction.

First the oven. If you can afford a premium quality electric oven  that has both convection (fan on) and conventional (fan off) capability, that would be my first preference. Some ovens can not be run with the fan off and that is a problem.

Next check to see how hot it will get. Some will get to 550F which is good. My oven only goes to 500F and I wish it was higher.

There are some premium ovens that have a steam feature. This is a great thing to have available but again it will be more expensive. The price range for a free standing stove with oven runs from $450 to several thousand dollars. At a minimum, any standard home oven should serve you well for general baking/roasting.

A dough kneading or mixer is a specialized home appliance. You don't need one strictly speaking for bread although many people here have stand mixers. Without knowing a little about baking and what your needs are, I'd say use your hands on a plastic scraper in a wide metal bowl for now and decide later. Hope this helps some.

Eric

 

BettyR's picture
BettyR

I have nothing to add to that. As for the kneading machine I shopped and researched until I was blue in the face to make a decision about that. What I ended up with was a repair job on my 20 year old Kitchen Aid mixer for making cookies, pies and the like and this bread machine. http://www.amazon.com/Emerilware-T-Fal-3-PoundBread-Baguette-Maker/dp/B001BQZDA4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320946864&sr=8-1

It is an Emerilware by T-Fal Emerilware 3-PoundBread &
Baguette Maker, it ranges in price from between $125.00 to $150.00 depending on where you get it....I use it to knead and rise my bread dough. I have never cooked in it and I never will but as a kneading machine it is wonderful. I have had it for about 2 years now and I have had to replace the bread pan because the gaskets around the mixing blades wore out and the blades kept falling out. That cost me about $30.00 but other than that I have no complaints and I would make the purchase all over again.

Now if I didn't have the old Kitchen Aid mixer to repair would I buy one of those expensive mixers made for kneading bread? No, because I can have a bread machine to make my bread in and a mixer that is excellent for making cakes and other pastries....and I can have both brand new for less than the cost of one of one of those mixers that is mainly built for making bread.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

For bread I need to use the oven that's already in my kitchen; I can't afford a new one. I wish I was in a position to buy the "best" oven for baking bread  ...but my household budget says it will never happen:-) Fortunately any old kitchen oven works just fine for baking bread, so my limited budget isn't really an issue.

For bread you basically have only two choices:

  • A bread machine
  • Your kitchen oven (perhaps supplemented by a kneading mixer)

Bread machines get the job done (and may be a good place to start), but often users eventually find themselves frustrated by the lack of flexibility. So many folks eventually move to a "half-way" solution, using the bread machine's "dough" cycle to mix and knead, but then removing the dough and shaping it yourself and baking it in your oven.

There are several threads here on TFL about which mixers work well  ...with a wide variety of comments. One common suggestion is that in a typical situation (i.e. no special requirements) for the kinds of higher hydration doughs used nowadays, the best mixer is no mixer - do it by hand. Whether you can use a stand mixer to knead bread dough is debatable: some will say it works just fine, others will report huge problems with machine damage and warranty refusals. A mixer that will definitely do a good job of mixing dough all the time, if bought new, may cost $800-$1200! That's a high enough amount to make most folks think "do I really need this?"

 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I would point out that the preference for electric ovens is not just 'a preference'.  It's because gas oven vents let steam out much quicker than electric, and many artisan breads require a pretty good jolt of steam if you want to be able to perfect the crust.  That said, we do have a gas oven and it works reasonably well, although for bread, I prefer the electric oven that we had in the house that we lived in before the current one... it made better crusts and kept the steam in better.

 

Boy would I like to have an oven with steam injection capabilities... that'd be awesome!  It's useful for other than bread too ...Julia Child recommends using steam when baking water fowl, noting that the steam melts the excess fat out of the bird.  Shut the steam of towards the end in order to brown up the skin and voila!  Goose for dinner!

 

Brian

 

satimis's picture
satimis

Hi folks,

Thanks for your advice.

I just started baking bread at home.  As a beginner I bought a brand new Kenwood BM450 breadmaker.  It has limitation in bread making.  I'm thinking finally I'll buy a conventional electric oven and a kneading machine.  The microwave oven I have is NOT ideal for baking breads.

Kitchen space is a serious problem here, Hong Kong.  There is a long and hot summer as well.  How to remove the heat generated by the oven is another problem.  Installing an aircon in kitchen???

Maybe I'll use the breadmaker for kneading and buy a conventional electric oven for baking.  I'm willing investing a little bid more cost on the oven.  With steam generation is a good idea.  I need a wall-mounted oven without space to install a floor stand model.  Bench type model can also be considered.  I can erect a shelf on wall to place it.

Please inject me some light for oven shopping.  I'm NOT in urgent need to purchase both the oven and kneading machine.  I'm now making some preparation avoiding going the direction on my second purchase of the bread making appliance for home.

TIA

B.R.
satimis

fermento's picture
fermento

Hi Satimis,

I would echo Eric's advice that you at least hold off on buying a device to knead your bread - you just don't need one to begin, and might never need one (and even more so if you are limited for space).

When I first got into baking bread (first yeasted bread, then sourdough), I used to use a mixer for kneading - but now I use the stretch and fold technique which achieves the same thing (for me at least) very much more simply. Do a search here for discussions on the relative merits of different techniques.

I think for most people breadmaking is a journey - so maybe it's not such a good idea to spend a lot of money on equipment at the beginning, because you might find that as you learn more you no longer use some of what you bought at the beginning, or wish you had bought something else. 

jcking's picture
jcking

At this point your money would be better spent on a good scale and a good thermometer.

Jim

Grampa Knuckles's picture
Grampa Knuckles

I kneaded for years by hand then decided to get a mixer. research led me what I believe is the best.  The Assistent Orignal. Its made in Sweden and is what you would expect from them.  My only regret not getting it sooner.  Reading about it I hear people who have passed then on through generations.  Built to last, instead of buying a couple cheap ones over the years and being scared to creank up the speed I decided to splurge, likely cheaper in long run.  I been making 5 or 6 loaves of bread a week thats 16 cups or so of flour no prob.  Also make up my deer sausage and all the sweet stuffs I want with this.  It comes with 2 bowls the large steel and a smaller plastic for eggwhites and stuff.  Greatest thing I ever spend my money on. Here in Canada you can find a list of stores at www.assistent.ca or for the states just do some googling.

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

satimis,

OK now we have something to go on. Cuisinart has a nice counter top brick oven that has heat tiles all around like a hearth oven that have heard good things about. Not sure if they have a 220 model but probably yes. You can find them on Amazon in the US for under $100. Here is the link. It would be good for all but large breads.

Eric

satimis's picture
satimis

Hi folks,

Thanks for your further advice.  I'll consider you suggestion.

I already cut off town gas for several years.  I'm now using electric induction stove for cooking.  The latter is nice and clean with low electricity consumption.  Is there any conventional electric oven with steam generator instead of putting a basin of water inside the oven?

Hi Jim

At this point your money would be better spent on a good scale and a good thermometer.

Good suggestion.  I already have a digial balance, 1g ~ 3kg and d=g.

I'm going to get a thermometer for bread making.  I have been googing without result.  I prefer to have thermoscan.  But what I found were ear-scans for measuring body temp.  Any suggestion?  TIA

B.R.

satimis