The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for Magic Mills users

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Catnapped's picture
Catnapped

Looking for Magic Mills users

I've read through a bunch of posts that talk about this mixer, but they're mostly of the "I love it" or "I use mine as a doorstop" variety. Who here has figured out how to use this thing successfully and is willing to talk about it? The instructions are pretty vague, and there seem to be several ways of accomplishing the same things (I'm making bread doughs in various quantities). I'd love to pick someone's brain about their experiences. I've been playing with it all afternoon and it seems to have enormous potential, but I think I'm missing some details. For example, there is a scraper attachment. It seems to be useful in some situations and create havoc in others. I've been stopping the mixer half way through the kneading process and removing the thing, and that seems to help the overall process. Also, under what situations do you use the roller vs the dough hook? How do you deal with the dough creeping up the dough hook issue? I've been standing over it with a rubber spatula beating the thing back into the bowl during the kneading process, but would really prefer a "turn it on and leave it" approach. Oh, and adding flour part late in the kneading process seems nearly impossible (or at least a lot of work, including lots of manual scraping of the side of the bowl).

Anyone interested in chatting would be appreciated. Thanks!

 

-Rob

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I went from a 5 qt KA to the 8 qt Magic Mill and fell in love.  Then I went to a 20 qt Berkel (I've now progressed to be a small commercial op) and I love this one the most.  But back to the Magic Mill, which I used many times a day every day for several months: I found the dough hook to be a waste of time.  Maybe it's better for just one small loaf, but I never made that amount.  I also found that the dough crept up the dough hook.   I used the roller and scraper and added about 2/3 to 3/4 of the flour at a time, until it windowpaned, and then I added the rest til it was kneaded in well.  Adding all the flour at once seemed to be a surefire way to make one big dough lump that wouldn't get kneaded at all.  It's not the optimal way, both from a hassle and an oxidation standpoint, but I couldn't get it to work any other way.  I didn't make very high hydration doughs in it; is that what you're talking about when you say you have to keep scraping the bowl?  If you have your roller close enough to the edge of the bowl and your scraper doing its job, you should be fine. 

Hope this helps.

SOL

Catnapped's picture
Catnapped

From what I gather from reading other sources online, Magic Mills Central seems to recommend the dough hook for larger batches (8+ cups of flour). I tried that, and seemed to get a decent result. I can only go through so much dough at once so I guess tomorrow I'll try the roller with a large batch.

Using the scraper with the roller seemed to work badly once the dough came together.The dough would hang up in a ball on the scraper and not really go anywhere, except every once in a while when it would tear loose, go around once or twice, and then get hung up again. It seems to be from a design point of view, the scraper should be on the opposite side of the bowl so that the two pieces don't get in each other's way. I tried taking the scraper out and sticking a rubber spatula into the bowl while it's turning and seemed to get a decent result that way, but that seems like a lot of work.

When adding more flour, what seemed to happen was that the mass of dough just spent most of its time sliding along the bowl, with the flour spinning around under it. Again I went at it with the trusty spatula and got it moving again. With the KA I got used to putting in around what I thought was the right amount of flour, and then tossing in a few tablespoons or 1/4 c of flour as needed to tighten things up (I'm making pizza dough, with about 4 c high protein flour to about 1 3/4 c water). I get the feeling that the MM does a more efficient job of kneading so I may be able to use more flour for the same amount of water than I was using for the KA. Do you find that you need to adjust recipes as you move from machine to machine?

So to summarize, it sounds like you use roller and scraper regardless of the size of the batch you're making, and you leave the scraper in through the whole process, and it just works? I would love to see a video of this happening.

Oh, how do you determine what speed you want to use? Does it vary with the size of the batch, or by the stiffness of the dough, or something other? The speed seems to have a big impact on how well the various roller/dough hook/scraper combinations seemed to function. Too fast and things just didn't work at all.

Thanks for the reply. I'm looking forward to figuring this thing out.

-R

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Hi Catnapped--

Yes, when I was still using my DLX, I used the roller and scraper the whole time.  I haven't used it since about February, the time I got my Berkel, so my memory might be a bit foggy.  When I used it, I nearly always put in the maximum amount of dough I could, and put in about 2/3 to 3/4 the flour needed, enough to create enough friction to get the dough kneaded.  When it reached that point, I added the rest of the flour, and that was it.  I don't think it's that my technique is that good; I also at that time was a less critical (in a good way) baker than I am now.  I'd always crank the speed up to nearly as fast as it would go, as I was impatient. (Now there's a good reason.)  I am much more careful and observant now with my bigger mixer.  From what I've read, high speed mixing can release certain undesirable acids into the dough (this is a la Calvel), so lower mixing speed is preferable.  You can also do an improved mix, which is mixing it slowly for a few minutes after the autolyse, then finish it off at a faster pace, which works just as well.  As for what the exact speeds are, I know what they are on my mixer, but I don't know how that would correlate to the DLX.

SOL

Catnapped's picture
Catnapped

...and I was "trained" (ok, I watched carefully as the manager did it) with a Hobart mixer  in a pizzaria in NY that had a bowl that could fit a small teenager comfortably.  One thing I've learned is that bigger is definitely better.  Getting reliably reproducible results with these small machines is a real pain in the neck.  Unfortunately I don't have that many mouths to feed.

I'll keep this thread going as I figure stuff out.  Please comment as you see fit.  Worst case someone else can come along and read the discussion and save themselves some effort.

-R

ps Uh, how does one calculate "hydration?" I have no idea what the hydration of my doughs are. 

goetter's picture
goetter

hydration is the ratio of water to flour in your dough.  a batch of baguette dough with 680g of water and 1000g flour is said to have a 68 percent hydration.

i've had an electrolux mixer for all of a week, so i'm no help there.  still wrestling with the new gizmo.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

 I have had mine a couple so years and after a  couple of trial and errors I love it,

 I made bread in it yesterday, just plain white, 10 cups flour, and I used the dough hook with no problem.  I also make a lot of  home milled whole wheat and grain bread breads, some times if I am not doing a fairly large batch I use the the roller and scraper...... qahtan

bread lover's picture
bread lover

there is a yahoo group that talks about this mixer that can really help you.  Here is the address

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Mixer-Owners/

 

Hope is helps you 

Catnapped's picture
Catnapped

I think I can now kiss the rest of the day away reading what's up there.  Thanks for the link.

-R

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Catnapper, here is a video showing the DLX mixer in use.  I hope this helps.  I'm a new DLX owner myself but I will write in another post what I've learned and what works for me so far.

 

http://www.everythingkitchens.com/electroluxvideo.html

 

I was a little confused about what you wrote about about the scraper and roller needing to be on opposite sides.  They are on installed on opposite sides but maybe I've misunderstood your post.  Ok, stay tuned for more.

Catnapped's picture
Catnapped

Ok, it's brief, but I got to see it in action.  A friend of mine actually sent me a video of his sister's unit in action, which was also very educational.  I'm trying to get him to post it on YouTube :-)

I guess I was vague by saying the scraper and roller should be on opposite sides.  I guess I mean that I believe they should be a little farther apart.  When I took the scraper out and made my own scraper with ye olde rubber spatula, I seemed to get better results by putting it in a different part of the bowl.

 -R

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

 

 Thanks for posting this...................................qahtan

zolablue's picture
zolablue

The arm that holds the roller is dynamic so you can either set it in a stationary position with the roller against the far side of the bowl, closer to the scraper side or any position in between.  So you can absolutely have the roller across the bowl from the scraper. Or you can leave the arm loose so that it moves during the mix, which is what I generally do, so that I can guide the roller back and forth to where I want it to go depending on the amount of dough, consistency of dough, and length of mix. 

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Catnapped: I have used the DLX for about a year now and also found it a bit daunting at first, particularly if you are accustomed to the action of a Kitchen Aid style mixer. While by no means an expert, I am happy to pass along whatever I have learned. As many have already said, I have not found the dough hook to be helpful. I use the scraper and roller arm exclusively. Like Staff of Life, I also hold back adding all the flour at the beginnning of the mix, and gradually add the flour in increments, trying to mix in each batch of flour thoroughly, and also do an autolyse with wheat based breads. Like Zolablue, I keep the roller arm loose. I usually do the initial mixing at a slower speed, increasing the speed once the dough is fully mixed. Once the gluten is starting to develop, you will notice that the dough starts to form an open 'donut' around the bowl, while the fingers of the roller arm gently knead the dough. Since most recipes use the Kitchen Aid mixer for mixing guide times, I windowpane to see how the dough is developing. It took me a while to fully appreciate the DLX, but now I wouldn't be without it. It is much more gentle on the dough, can handle larger batches easily, and it doesn't overheat the dough like other mixers.

I hope this is helpful. Let us know if you have other questions we can help with.

Liz

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I'm also a new user, about 6 months or so, but I have the opposite reaction to most people.  I don't use the roller/scraper.  They never worked for me.  I just use the dough hook.  I let the tensioning arm have its full range of motion and it works well for me.

I've used it to make lots of poolish and autolyse at 100% hydration, and it does very well.  I usually just dump the liquids in and then all the flour at once and turn it on.  If i am making more than about 4,000 grams of poolish or autolyse, I add all the water and about 1/2 the flour and then add the rest a bit at at time so it won't overflow.

I've made breads at more normal hydrations from about 85% hydration whole wheats to 55% hydration bagels.  All with the dough hook.  And all with no problem.

The person I bought it from is a good friend and the owner of Mountain Tops Milling.  I teach baking classes for her from time to time.  She showed me a bit about the mixer.

If the batches are small enough (less than 4,000 grams or about 8 pounds), I add all the ingredients to the bowl and turn it on low speed.  If things don't start moving, I'll either move the dough hook a bit to encourage them into motion, and if that doesn't work, I'll prod the big lumps with a spatula.  Usually it's less than a minutes before all the ingredients are in motion and turning into dough.  If I am making a larger batch, I'll start with 1/2 to 3/4 of the flour and then add the rest once the first addition has turned to dough.  Giselse never used the roller or scraper while she was showing me how to use the mixer, so I didn't play with them for some time.  When I did, I just wasn't that impressed, even for smaller batches.

My feeling is that people want to SEE some action with the dough hook.  And it is a slower process than they are expecting.  Smaller batches just look like they are clinging to the dough hook and not doing anything.  However, they are.  They are being developed.

Patience seems to be the key... I do most of my micing and kneading at the lowest speed.  Sometimes I'll speed things up, but gluten is a fairly fragile protein, so gentleness helps.

Mike

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I think you have to experiment to see what works the best for you.  We all have our methods and there isn't one way that is the only way.

 

It is my understanding that the dough hook was designed later for American use as some people were uncomfortable with the roller but that the roller is what was exclusively used for decades in Europe.  I have only had my DLX since the very end of September but I have never used the dough hook and at this point I feel no need to.

 

I had the benefit of getting notes from a person on a cooking forum I used to frequent who not only was an exceptional bread baker and cook but she posted extensive notes about her use of the DLX.  I wish she could come here and post.  Because she lives near King Arthur she was able to go to their kitchens and test drive many different mixers to make her own comparisons and she ended up saying there was just no contest when it came to the use of the DLX.  She also uses the roller exclusively and feels it kneads dough more gently as in hand kneading.

 

When I make dough I add the water and flour all at once just like I did in my Kitchenaid mixer.  I have never had any problems with a large batch or a very small batch of dough doing it in this way.  Again, I simply make sure the arm of my mixer is loose so that I can guide the roller up against the far edge of the bowl or bring it in closer to the scraper and in between.  I also get that "donut" effect that Fleur was talking about.  My biggest problem so far is that it handles large quantities of dough so well and is so much fun to use I started mixing my doughs way too long.  That's another subject.

 

So you can see there are many methods but I have not found any difficult learning curve at all and I always dump all my ingredients in at once according to the recipe I'm using unless it specifies an autolyse before adding levain and salt.  If I do have a stiffer dough I am able to move the roller so that is kneads the dough and get it into the right position.  Hope that makes sense.

 

The first day I used my mixer I made a beautiful sourdough pagnotta.  It just mixed that dough like a dream.  I could absolutely not do the things in my KA that I am doing with my DLX and I love it.  I bought from a wonderful company called Pleasant Hill Grains right here in Nebraska and while I haven't needed to call them for tech support I know should I need anything at all they have an expert user ready to help with any problem or any any user question I may have and that is a big plus with an investment like this mixer.