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Problem with my mixers...

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aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

Problem with my mixers...

Hope anyone out there could help. I currently use 2 mixers for my production, a 20 quart planetary mixer and a 5 quart KitchenAid mixer. I use my KA mixer for small batches or to test new formulas. Then I use my 20 quarts for bigger and heavier doughs. My problem is... when i mix dough using my KA mixer, my bread usually turns out soft, but when I mix it using the bigger mixer, it kinda turns harder than expected. Now my question is, would there be a difference in the final product when making larger quantities? Is there also a difference in the way a mixer kneads dough... I wouldn't push my KA mixer to knead upto medium speed, just on speed 1 or 2.... but obviously my 20 qt mixer does the job with ease. Thank guys. =)

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I too have a 20 qt planetary mixer, and have used smaller KAs in the past.  I have a few thoughts: do you have the same style dough hook for both mixers?  Are you developing the gluten more in the 20 qt than the KA?  I've noticed that even when I get the dough to windowpane in the KA, it's not as smooth as in the 20 qt.  Also, when you mean that the dough is harder, do you mean that it's firmer?  A dough with the gluten overworked can feel tougher than a dough with it just worked to medium development.

SOL

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

I noticed that the bigger mixer actually kneads dough much quicker than my KA, maybe due to the speed and the actual size of the hook itself. I used to mix my dough about 15 minutes or more in my KA, but it takes about 10 or less on my 20qt, and find my dough already in its maximum gluten development. The hook in my KA is not spiral, but the 20qt's hook is. And yes, you are correct, the dough seems much firmer. Anyone else with the same experience?

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

Anyone??? =)

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Aladenzo--

I don't think you're alone in noticing these differences.  I had noticed the same thing with my mixers, although I have never concurrently owned both mixers, just each separately.  It seems to me that the KA tears the gluten as it works it, so even when it's windowpaning, it still lacks smoothness.  This lack of smoothness can make the dough seem softer.  I just say this because I often, depending on the dough, take the dough out of the mixer before maximum gluten development and just use the folding technique to get the dough to reach the right level of development.  It seems a lot firmer and smoother after a fold than before, despite the fact that I've added no additional flour.  Does that make sense? 

What sort of production do you have that you have a 20 qt mixer?

SOL

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

I have not yet sprung for a higher capacity mixer, but I do have an observation about how a KA works with a dough hook.  I have found that the dough hook kneads well in a fairly narrow range of hydration--if you go much lower than 70%, you are just bashing the dough around and it really does not develop well.  I tend to get best results when the dough is slack and sticky enough  that a portion of it will adhere to the bowl and some will stay on the hook, so that it is really getting stretched and folded as the hook moves around.  If the dough is drier and knocks around in the bowl, just getting sqaushed by the hook, I don't feel like it really develops well.

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

I was making Reinhart's Transitional Country Hearth Bread this weekend, which is 65% hydration.  I had to keep prodding the dough with a rubber spatuala, and several times stopping the mixer and pushing dough off the dough hook.  Without doing that, it was not mixing well on my KA.

 The bread turned out great, though.  My wife and her mother both liked it.

Colin

 

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

Yes SOL, that made perfect sense. I did have that same experience with my KA, I usually maintain my hydration at around 55-60% or else my dough gets too wet and end up overworking my KA mixer. I just noticed that my 20qt mixer easily mixes very hydrated dough, and comes out smooth when I windowpane it. Although I may have to help the dough with a large spatula, the dough usually turns out very smooth. I haven't tried this yet...but I have a feeling that if I increased hydration to 75%, it will still knead and mix it easily. SOL, I usually make boule, sandwich loaf, soft rolls, but in a larger quantity because i'm selling it. My last question is... if I do make a small quantity on my KA mixer, that's means the larger quantity on my 20qt will definitely come out different than the one mixed on the KA? I might not use the KA anymore for experimentations of new breads. :(

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Hi Aladenzo--

When I'm trying out a new formula, I always either do it in enough quantity that it will pick up on the hook for my 20 qt, or I just hand-knead it.  I'll test in larger quantities later if I'm happy with the results.  I never bother with a smaller mixer anymore--I don't have enough room for the things I absolutely need as is!  Are you a bakery or a home op?

SOL

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

wow, i remember the first time i kneaded by hand... very tiring.... but it turned out beautiful. We were making about 1.5 kg of dough that time, and i didn't expect I'd make breads by hand. So how did the breads go once you do larger quantities? Were they the same in texture? Color? Taste? Im a home op ... well, we constructed a kitchen actually. How about you SOL? Do you have your own bakery?

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Hi Aladenzo--

No, no bakery for me!  I'm a home op, and quite content to be that way.  There is one bakery in my town (meaning the main one that's 20 miles away) and my understanding is that it's really struggling.  I have no desire to take on something so monumental.  And just to set the record straight, I only hand-knead if it's a sourdough, since they develop so easily, and only if it's a small batch I'm just testing or something I'm making for my family.  I have developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and am managing it quite well, but I don't want to do unnecessary hand work.

I'm afraid I really can't answer your other questions about the difference when I started using my recipes in larger quantities.  I started out as a really small home op, and just used an Electrolux DLX for that (a spiral mixer).  My style of breads changed just around the time I bought my 20 qt, and from that point on, I've always used the larger mixer.  I just make a larger batch if I'm testing,  since having a larger portion of dough allows me to test a variety of shapes and bake temps for the bread. 

Would you be interested in exchanging emails?  You sound as though you're farther along in the home op business (you constructed a kitchen!  How jealous am I!) than I am and I'm finding it at times difficult to try to have a commercial production in a home setting.  Your experience and modus operandi would be most appreciated!

SOL

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

My email address is aladenzo@gmail.com ... what's yours? Well, the truth is... I find my breads to be so simple.... as for "experience" ??? I don't know what you're talking about. hahaha. I don't even know how to make my own starter for sourdoughs. I tried.... but failed. By the way, I'm from Manila, Philippines and breads here are wayyy different from your all-time favorite sourdough, WW and rye breads. Our breads here are so soft that you don't even have to chew them. It's the same as your typical asian breads that you buy from chinatown, the ones with filling and toppings. As for our kitchen... well, honestly, it's just a small production area... we usually bake Filipino breads to supply our customers with. I have tried doing our production at home but... it's just too crowded for me. By the way, how do you proof your dough at home? Do you have a proofing machine?

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

Would you believe I have RSI (repetitive strain injury) with my right wrist and was almost diagnosed with carpal tunnel a couple years back when I was living in Australia. But I managed my injury very well, I just have to be careful with rounding doughs. Thank God for mixers.... =)

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Hi Aladenzo--

I'd be interested in hearing what RSI is exactly, and how it might differ from CTS.  I have been diagnosed as having CTS, back in June, in fact, and that along with tendonitis in my right forearm restricts what I am able to do.  Really, it's not that bad though, I just restrict myself to one variety of a batard and one sandwich loaf per baking session, and do boules the rest of the time.  It also gave me an excuse to stop making dinner rolls, which I hated doing.  If I remember correctly, you said that you do rolls--do you do these by hand or machine?  Also, you never did respond to my request for your email....:)

SOL

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

This was from my previous message "My email address is aladenzo@gmail.com ... what's yours? Well, the truth is... I find my breads to be so simple.... as for "experience" ??? I don't know what you're talking about. hahaha. I don't even know how to make my own starter for sourdoughs. I tried.... but failed. By the way, I'm from Manila, Philippines and breads here are wayyy different from your all-time favorite sourdough, WW and rye breads. Our breads here are so soft that you don't even have to chew them. It's the same as your typical asian breads that you buy from chinatown, the ones with filling and toppings. As for our kitchen... well, honestly, it's just a small production area... we usually bake Filipino breads to supply our customers with. I have tried doing our production at home but... it's just too crowded for me. By the way, how do you proof your dough at home? Do you have a proofing machine?" ................ SOL, I do rolls by hand because.... well, i don't have any choice... except when purchasing an expensive rounding machine, LOL! I think RSI is somewhat similar to CTS. My doctor said that i also do have tendonitis on my right wrist. (Aren't we lucky!) I had some MRI tests and it showed a small patch of scar tissues in my wrist that prevented me from doing a lot of physical things by hand. =(