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KA Pro 600 Speed and length Q for bread

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Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

KA Pro 600 Speed and length Q for bread

I got the KA Pro 600 for christmas.  It's a big deal.  I have been holding off getting a mixer because I want one for bread, specifically.  And, we couldn't afford one especially since I wanted the DLX.  But, I guess I have the Pro 600 now.  I hope it will be fine. And who really knows when I could afford a better machine...

I made all my breads by hand before.  I stopped for a while because I just didn't have the time.  Since I didn't have a mixer, I never paid any attention to the questions, details.  I am confused about speed and lenght of mixing.  KA says that I should only use the dough hook on speed 2 for 3-4 mins.  But, when I've read some recipes on TFL, I see all kinds of variations- start slow, once mixed, increase speed and mix for 8 mins, etc.  In the standmixer world, is it all relative to the machine you have?  So, even though others are mixing for 5-8 mins, I would stop around 3?  It's been almost a year since I made bread so I guess I'll try to go by feel, but I'm starting with less traditional- using herbs and oils because I feel it's an easier way to get back into things, especially when I wasn't so great at it to begin with.  But, I made mostly traditional stuff with no added oils so I"m not sure if the oil affects the kneeding? 

I guess I'll find out as my preferment is waiting for my attention.  Just wondering if anyone can comment.

Thanks.

 

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

I use an older KitchenAid (model K5A, lift type). I've also used a Bosch Universal Plus and a Bosch Compact. The thing I like best about my KA mixer is that it handles small dough batches well, so I can mix up a beautiful little one-pound artisan loaf anytime I want. Neither the KA mixer nor any other home mixer I've used handles low hydration dough well. I knead  stiff bagel doughs, under 54% hydration, by hand.

As to mixing times, I find that most formula mixing times match closely to what I need to use in the KA, where given. More often formulas will describe the level of development needed. A deli rye formula I use instructs kneading to a medium level of development, until the dough "just clears" the sides of the bowl. At low speed it takes about five minutes in the KA mixer. Lately I've been making enriched sandwich buns for which I want very soft crust with an airy, fluffy crumb. I mix these in two stages, first for under two minutes with only the levain, water and flour. After a one-hour rest, I add other ingredients in stages, then knead on speed two. I start checking for full windowpane development after 12 minutes but I don't know exactly how much longer it takes. Maybe a minute or two or three? I judge by how the dough feels and stretches for me.

The main thing is to listen to the mixer and feel the dough. If the motor struggles or whines or grinds, I turn mine off and finish by hand, or else divide the dough volume and finish kneading by machine in batches. If the dough isn't at windowpane yet and I want windowpane it has to be kneaded longer no matter what the clock says. I have been known to pack the motor housing in bags of ice and continue kneading for over 30 minutes when needed, but I doubt the machine would tolerate this level of abuse very many times. My KA mixer does seem to prefer dough hydrations above 65% and formulas with total flour of 450 to a maximum of 600 grams. 

Hope this helps,

Sam

 

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

Well, my first batch won't turn out right- definately did not get windowpane.  I was worried about the KA warning that says you shouldn't mix for more than 5 mins.  I mixed for 4 while the "recipe" calls for 8.  I did mix 1000g of flour (including preferment) but the bread also calls for oil so I'm sure I should have mixed longer- got a little nervous about ruining my expensive-for-me KA. I may try to add an extra fold to see if that will help.  If not, it will at least be a learning experience.  I'm assuming your KA says to only use the dough hook on speed 2 for a max of 5 mins also?  My Hammelman book also says that a standmixer should only mix for 2.5-3 mins.  That's why I'm so confused.  It's good to know that I can finish kneading by hand if I feel I'm over working the KA. 

I have yet to understand baking percentages.  I tried learning them a few years ago but have forgotten everything.  I guess I should refresh before attempting another bread so I don't ruin the KA.  I think I had 68% hydration on this round. 

Here is the recipe I'm trying http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11892/rosemary-olive-oil-bread  

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Cleaning out a closet last month, I came across the manual for this old mixer and tossed it in the trash. I have no idea what it said about how to mix bread dough but I can assure you, having bought this thing in 1993, it's been beaten nearly to death more than once. Somehow it just keeps chugging away.

I don't know about the Hamelman reference but I find different breads want different mixing/kneading processes. A bright white, soft, airy crumb with many, many small holes will usually come from a long vigorous mix of a not-too-wet dough. A creamy colored crumb and a nutty, wheaty, hearty wholesome whole grain flavored bread will usually want minimal or even almost no mixing and a very wet dough. It's what I'm after that matters to me, and then matching my work style to that. 

I'm totally with you on the confusion of bakers' percentages. It took forever for my brain to stop rebelling against the (sorry bakers!) wrongness of it. Eventually I settled into it. It does save time. Rather than using a pencil or calculator to tweak a new formula I sometime use an online calculator like this one at pizzamaking.com.

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

Home Baker- that's a great resource to help me understand percentages and preferments.  Silly question, I have yet to make hearty breads and really want to add different wheats and nuts to get a little healthier, do you still look for the windowpane when mixing?  I've used some recipes from TFL, but from my perspective, most are written for those who know what to do.  Maybe I'm jumping ahead and have to work my way through some beginner recipes.

Are you still using your KA?  Hope so.  I've heard so many negative things about the brand on this site.

Thanks!

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

I use the KA mixer to get the dough only to about a medium level of dough development, about maybe five minutes, when I mix what I call an artisan style loaf — only water, flour and salt w/ natural levain — or any loaf with a lot of whole grains. Since these doughs need a long bulk ferment and another long final rise after shaping a lot more gluten will develop on its own so not as much machine work is needed. 

Luckily I saw enough warnings on this web site about danger sounds from KA mixers being overworked that I started being more careful with mine. It still works but it can no longer handle quite the volume of dough or the high operating temperatures that Doc.Dough suggests below

Hope you have fun with yours!

Sam

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I would pay close attention to the instructions and limitations stated in your KA manual and I would not exceed what they say to do or not do.

Jeff

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The caution to "only use the dough hook on speed 2 for 3-4 mins" is (IMHO) a thermal limit due to poor cooling and motor inefficiency at low speeds so you can actually run it until it gets hot, and running it at higher speeds is better than running it at speed 2. But that said, there are limits with low hydration doughs as noted by Home Baker above.  I have a 40 yr old K45 (Hobart), a KA600, and an Assistent N28 (DLX or other name). The KA600 gets used only for Liege waffles and if it broke or caught on fire I would not care (except for the collateral damage).  It is so noisy I have to wear my shooting muffs while operating it.  The Assistent is my everyday machine and the K45 is the loaner for new bread enthusiasts. For first time buyers I recommend one of the smaller Kitchen Aid mixers if they can't afford an Assistent or other competent machine.

If you want to try an experiment, mix up a 1500g batch of 75% hydration ciabatta using high gluten flour.  Mix for 30 sec at speed 3 with the paddle and autolyse for 20 min.  Add the salt and mix again with the paddle for 5 min at speed 4 - it should clean the bowl at around 4 min.  The case will be warm but not hot.  If you mix this formula with the dough hook at speed 2 it will take at least 20 min to reach the same stage of development (perhaps 30). As the hydration goes down, there is a point where you must use the dough hook or run the risk of breaking the transmission, and as the hydration goes down even further (to 50% or 45%) you run the risk even with the dough hook. Let noise guide you with respect to stress level and case temperature guide you on thermal limits.  The machine will still run at a temperature you cannot tolerate continuously when you put your hand on the motor case.  It will also smell like a hot motor and it may activate the thermal cutout (which will reset in 30 minutes or so on its own). If you do that once, try not to go there again.

 

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

I would never have considered using the paddle but I will try it now.  I the highest hydration ciabata recipe I have found is 73%.  Another is 72% and 3% olive oil.  Is olive oil calculated in the hydration factor?  If I try the 73% hydration recipe, do I shorten mixing times? 

Why did I think a mixer would be easier on the breadmaking process????  I really appreciate your suggestion and will try it next week.

Thanks!

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

Last Christmas Santa brought me a KA 600 too. I hadn't paid attention to comments here, nor did I think to look them up! My head was turned by its label "Professional" which I thought meant Industrial Strength, and the bright cheery and oh so up to date bright color. So yes, it has its limits and is probably only superior to my old KA only in the capacity of the bowl. That said, it has worked in all but the stiffest doughs and then as others have said, you either rest the motor, divide the dough or take it out to finish it by hand kneading.

When I started baking breads from Nancy Silverton's "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" I used my new mixer and I don't think I had any trouble with it at all. Many of the recipes in "Inside the Jewish Bakery" require long periods of mixing/kneading, and the mixer performed well on those. I enjoy the quiet process of hand kneading but bought the new mixer because I was finding that the thought of the long period of standing and working the dough meant that I would put off making bread. I don't think it is really much different in time from hand kneading, especially if you factor in the time cleaning the mixer, bowl. and paddle or dough hook.

Many recipes say the dough should be at 78 degrees F after kneading. With the KA600 I find that happens within minutes at speeds 2-4 (depending on the amount of dough I'm working on). Don't know if that is an appropriate way of doing things but so far it has worked well and greatly improved the quality of bread. I finish, as Silverton recommends, with a few minutes of hand kneading.

Good luck with your adventure, this is a great place to get information and new ideas-

Barbra

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I personally include any liquid oil in the hydration calculation, but it is only a guide. My ciabatta has no oil in it (472g 100% hydration starter; 378g water; 16g salt; 582g high gluten flour). When mixing you need to become aware of gauging the gluten development by looking at the dough in the mixer. Before it is fully developed there are still some little lumps in the dough; when it is fully developed it becomes silky smooth on the surface (for a little while) after which it begins to break down and get gooey. A better flour will allow more over-mixing before starting to break down. With the amounts above (developed for the smaller K45 mixer) the dough will pull off the sides and the bottom about when it is ready to proceed to bulk fermentation (around 4:15 plus or minus at speed 4 and using the paddle). I generally do a stretch and fold after 3 hrs of bulk fermentation at a room temp of around 71°F. It is ready to divide at about 5 hrs from initial wetting of the flour.  This dough is too wet to shape, but you can heavily flour a surface, roll the dough out, cover the top with flour and after a few minutes stretch it gently into a square. Then just cut it with a dough knife into 3 loaves or 16 ciabattini.  Bench proof for a bit if it is still underdeveloped.

You will have to experiment with your oven to get a good crust and a good crumb.  I bake in a combi oven with a starting temp of 525°F, but the fan is on high for only the first minute to get steam injection to work well and get the initial crust formation started.  It then goes to 450°F, 100% humidity, intermitent fan and low fan speed (6 sec on, 54 sec off) f0r 5 min, then 450°F, 40% humidity, for 7 min; then 350°F/20% humidity for 10 min (it takes about 7 min for the oven to cool down to 350°F).

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

Doc Dough- thank you for your ciabatta recipe- I have been looking for one using a starter.  I stopped receiving emails on my post and didn't realize others were still responding- thank you.  So, I started a Hammelman ciabatta recipe using instant yeast and THEN checked this post.  So, because I didn't use you're recipe, I wonder if the mixing times didn't work for me?  The dough is 73% haydration.  I used a poolish.  I mixed as you said but the dough never pulled away from the sides of the bowl.  For me, speed 4 using the paddle seemed quite violent.  But, I have always hand mixed and am not sure how much dough can handle, however, at 7 mins the dough still did not pull away from the sides.  I'm giving it a 15 min rest before trying again. 

Since the dough is so wet, and I'm not used to ciabatta, I don't know if I've overmixed it.  I guess I'll keep mixing to see if the dough does finally pull away from the sides.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I returned 2 Pro's to KA before the current one - it seems to have been made on a Wednesday - it shows no signs that the others did before the smell of burning insulation indicated that "something be amiss here".

The initial mix of a 63% hydration dough is 6 minutes at speed 2 followed by a hydration rest of 30 minutes.

Gluten development is accomplished by futher 6 minute intervals with 15 minute rests to relax the dough.

Starter and salt are added at the beginning of the third and final interval. If after the third kneading the dough fails to pass the window pane test a fourth interval may be required.

Again, the above is accomplished using the spiral dough hook and a speed setting of 2.

The rest periods between kneadings does a better job at developing gluten than would a straight 18 minute kneading by the machine [overheating limit is a tad beyond 12 minutes]. The rest periods allow the machine to cool down.

Wild-Yeast

 

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

Wild-Yeast, I thought the standmixer would help shave some time off the breadmaking process...  I will try this too and compare.  I am confused by the whole standmixer thing and wish it was more straightforward.  How long of a bulk ferment do you use with this process?  Did you find any guidance/recipe on TFL or is this something you developed?

Thanks for your advice.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Leslie,

After smoking two machines I concluded that KA had made changes to the Pro's drive train [on the last one I received] and, two, allowing the dough to relax in between mix/kneading periods yielded a well developed, extensible dough. Six minute "mix periods" may be overdoing it a little - experiments show that the KA Pro completely mixes a dough in around 3 minutes with the spiral dough hook [experiment performed by a member of TFL]. I am not sure how this translates into mechanical kneading and gluten development - for the time being I'm leaving it at six minutes. So, as a direct reply to your original question, the technique was developed over a period of years with some of the better cues coming from TFL members.   

Bulk ferment is accomplished after interval 3 [or 4 if need be]. The length varies depending on a number of factors such as temperature and leavening ability of the starter. At the end of mixing and gluten development the loaves are shaped and placed into rice floured bannetons for proofing. The bannetons are then placed into plastic bags to maintain moisture. 

I had been "forcing" the bulk fermentation through the use of a 90 dF proof. I've moved away from the elevated proofing and now proof at 77 dF and below. This usually takes around 5 to 6 hours before the dough is placed under refrigeration for 12 hours [cold retard]. I've found that the cooler ferments have a preferred effect on the taste of the finished bread - a very pleasent sour taste recognized after the bread has been eaten. 

The bake is on an oven stone [5/8" thick] at 500 dF. I use durham [semolina] flour sprinkled on the bottom of the loaves just after the dough has been placed into the banneton to keep the dough from sticking to the stone [rice flour also works well]. I still use baking parchment though it's not really required with the use of semolina flour.  

The dough is slipped onto the oven stone and covered with an inverted deep stainless steel steam try pan that has had the inside spritzed with a water sprayer. Cover the oven window with a folded towel to prevent any spilled water from cracking the glass. The inverted pan reduces the volume in which the bread first bakes and provides the high moisture atmosphere necessary for the crust to slowly and elastically form during the oven spring expansion of the dough. The "cloche" pan is removed after 10-12 minutes [remove the parchment if used too]. The rest of the bake remains at 500 dF for 14 [or so] additional minutes...,

Good Luck and Happy Baking!

Wild-Yeast