The Fresh Loaf

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Q.s about low-hydration vs high-hydration re. 2 popular mixers

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Theresse's picture
Theresse

Q.s about low-hydration vs high-hydration re. 2 popular mixers

Hello -

I'm new to the world of bread-making.  My b-day's right around the corner and I'm hoping that I can get my hubby to order me my first stand mixer while I get started on reading about bread-making, strange and premature as that might sound (I need a stand mixer anyway so might as well get on it before I no longer have the excuse of my b-day)!  The problem is that I - like so many - am trying to decide between the Bosch and the Ankarsrum/DLX and I can't order "the one" until I figure out the answer to a few questions.  For the sake of keeping this post RELATIVELY short, I'll stick to only the questions that pertain to this title!

Having read several reviews/comments, it seems that the Bosch is better for lower-hydration breads and the DLX is better for higher ones.  So here are my questions, if you don't mind my asking (I've done a some searches but just don't know if I'm understanding correctly):

- Is it true that lower-hydration breads would be denser breads like sandwich bread, and that higher-hydration breads might be more of the "artisan" types with holes in them and thicker crusts?

- Are the higher-hydration breads softer doughs (while they're doughs, at least), generally?  I think I read the DLX makes a softer dough (in addition to having read it makes higher-hydration breads, so if that's true, that would make sense).

- Or, does a true artisan bread really only come from hand-kneading?

- My main goal has been to be able to make sandwich bread for my family, to save money (since we like expensive sandwich bread, e.g. Dave's Killer Bread) and just cause it would be fun to know I made it and have the kids help, and have the house smell good, etc.  But I may get more into it over time and kick myself down the line if I don't get a mixer that's good for the higher-hydration breads.  Is it fair to say that many who start out just making sandwich bread eventually want to learn how to make higher-hydration breads? 

I hope I didn't just throw too many questions at you!  Thanks in advance for your help.  I'll start another thread with my remaining questions (about plastic vs. metal bowl and other misc. questions)!  

 

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Thought of another question:

What is easier: taking a dough that has come out of a mixer which is known for making lower-hydration doughs, and "hydrating" it somehow (if possible, under that circumstance - i.e. has it been kneaded to death?), or is it easier to take a dough that came from a higher-hydration mixer, and "dehydrating" it somehow, e.g. by kneading by hand for a few minutes?  Does that make sense?  I'm essentially trying to find out which mixer would allow me to have both types of dough, the easiest.

Thanks again!!

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I have a Bosch compact that I like a lot.

I use it for soft sandwich bread, rolls etc.

Most of the high hydration breads are made with no real kneading. Easy hand mix, long, slow fermentation with stretch and folds.

So I wouldn't worry about how the mixer does with high hydration dough.

wayne

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Ah - that does make sense.  In other words the whole point of needing the mixer is because it's hard on the body (well that and it saves time in allowing one to do other things at the same time as it's mixing) when we want breads that are lower-hydration therefor require more kneading.  And if we want the more artisan type breads with open crumb, that's often done by hand and isn't so hard on the body.  That helps a lot.

It seems that if a person were to do mainly high-hydration breads and then of course batters and creams, whips etc, the DLX would be a better bet (I read it's closer to a KA in terms of handling more gentle foods and does a better job on those), and if a person were to do mainly sandwich bread, pizzas, rolls and bagels (from what I understand) - as well as maybe larger quantities of the whips and butters - the Bosch would be better.  I'm also assuming it would be improved with the metal bowl, e.g. whipped cream does better in chilled metal bowl.  I saw a couple of sites sell it with the metal bowl in place of the plastic bowl or one of each for a discount.

Thank you!

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

What hydration you use affects the mixer only  from the standpoint that low hydration, stiff doughs are hard on most mixers. I use a DLX, and it has zero problems with either slack or stiff doughs. I've made 6# (2.7kg) batches of 55% hydration bagel dough without straining the mixer at all. On the other hand, I've used it for slack doughs, batters and cookie doughs, too. You wouldn't believe the creamy smooth mashed potatoes you can get with the roller/scraper combo or the new cookie whisks (a pair of single loop heavy duty whisks).

I don't know your sources, but whoever suggested the DLX was limited by hydration was simply wrong.

cheers,

gary

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Thank you Gary!  I have read this in several places online that the DLX does great with almost anything but that it is better with higher hydration doughs and vice-versa wrt the Bosch.  I've read it here, on the pizza forum and probably also youtube and/or amazon.  I'm questioning it though because it may be that it's KNOWN for being more gentle on dough (the dlx) but not necessarily that it can't handle tough dough.  If I were to get the DLX I'd want to know it could handle really tough dough with whole grains and lots of seeds etc, as well as very thick cookie dough with chips and nuts.  I know this is a no-brainer for the Bosch but I've gotten unclear comments re. this and the DLX.  I appreciate your saying this though!  If I can find those other comments, I'll link you to them!

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I can only surmise that people who were dissatisfied with the DLX's handling of stiff doughs simply didn't fully understand how the DLX works. Its abilities there are what convinced me to buy this mixer. As mentioned, I have no problems with bagel dough, the Nemesis of most consumer mixers. I have made cookies from doughs that varied from  a thick batter to stiff, almost dry oatmeal/raisin/nut dough; again with no issues. I have used both the roller/scraper and the cookie whisks for these. N.B. for cheesecake, the roller/scraper is preferred because you can cream and mix while incorporating less air than a whisk does.

If there is something specific you're worried about, let us know. I am sure someone here has experience making it in the DLX.

cheers,

gary

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Gary, I so appreciate that info, thank you.  Actually I've been reading and reading (ugh - get a life, self!!) and I'm now convinced it can handle stiff doughs.  I DO however have a different question for you, if you don't mind!  I read one person's comment about the machine not doing mashed potatoes or pie dough well.  I know most serious bread people probably have this machine primarily for bread, but I would like to know it does almost everything a standard mixer can do (plus the bread!).  I know it can whip cream well and cake batter well.  I just really want to be able to get creamy mashed potatoes out of it, and a good pie dough.  I'm in LOVE with the look of this machine and how sturdy and well-built it is - but alas that darned Bosch makes decent mashed potatoes (youtube) as well as pie dough (using the cookie paddles).  I like the idea of being able to walk away for a bit while the machine works on these foods and I'm in a rush, multi-tasking in the kitchen.  Have you tried either of these with yours??

Thank you!

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I tried mashing potatoes only once. Use the SS bowl with roller and scraper. Release the arm lock so the roller runs against the bowl's rim. Run at medium speed. The potatoes come out absolutely smooth. You won't be able to walk too far away; it works pretty fast. I only did it once. Perverse soul that I am, I prefer some lumpiness. My favored method is to drain the potatoes, return them to the pan with butter, salt and pepper, and a little milk/cream/sour cream. Then I use an old fashioned potato masher.

I have not tried pie dough, though it should work well with the cookie whisk. Again, I don't think you can walk away because of the importance of the size of the fat balls. It would be very easy to over-cut the fat, giving you a crumbly crust (think short bread cookie). I will definitely try this for my next pie. I don't make pies often, but do love apple pies and fried apricot pies. Can you tell I'm a southern boy? Lumpy mashed potatoes, not to mention lumpy skillet gravy and fried pies; mm-mm good.

cheers,

gary