The Fresh Loaf

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how to get a good window pane with the DLX??

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Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

how to get a good window pane with the DLX??

Hi~ I have had my DLX mixer for about  two weeks and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get good gluten development using it, with either the roller/scraper or the  dough hook. I've made my regular sandwich loaves (4 batches) that I've always gotten great results in my Kitchen Aid Pro 600. I bought the DLX in the hopes of making larger batches, and since it gets such glowing reviews I thought I couldn't go wrong. Now I'm not so sure!!


Here's my recipe:


Honey wheat Bread


4 cups warm water


2/3 cup melted butter


2/3 c honey


2/3 cup vital wheat gluten


2 T instant yeast


4 t sea salt


10-12 cups freshly ground white-wheat flour


 


I mix the liquid ingredients first and whisk in the VWG so it doesn't lump, then add flour (managed to get not quite 10 cups before it was enough), salt and yeast and mix till it came together. I rested it for 20 minutes at this point, then proceeded to try kneading. I managed to get *some* kneading action, I could see the roller indentations on the dough (and good "donutism" as I heard someone call it), but after 12 min of this there was still pretty much NO gluten developement-the dough tore easily and there was no "sproinginess" like I normally get in my Kitchen Aid (2-loaf version) in much shorter times, 6-8 mins . At this point I tried the dough hook. My dough skewered itself on the end of the hook and spun around. Since I have read that newbies tend to think nothing is happening when it is, I decided to  "walk away" and let it do its thing. For 12 more minutes. I did check periodically, poking to see how it was developing, but 12 minutes later, I still wasn't impressed.


While it wasn' terrible, it wasn't springing back like it normally does, and it was not even close to passing a window pane test. I know that may not be the end-all of dough testing, but I could tell just by touching and it not really being springy at all that it wasn't ready. I did a triple rise (2 in the bowl and one in the pans) and it rose well in the bowl, with a so-so rise in the pans. Texture was decent, but a little denser than usual. I can make better dough in my KA or even my bread machine.


Is there something else I could do to increase the kneading action? I have heard others here say they have gotten a good window pane in 7-8 minutes in the DLX~how is that possible? I want to do that too! :o)


 


Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated. I am about ready to send this very expensive workhorse back!


Thanks!


Hilary

janij's picture
janij

2 questions


Did you add the flour all at once or gradually?


Where did you position the roller arm in the bowl?  On the side, in the middle?  Did you tighten it?


I have found that putting the water in first then 1/2 the flour and then mixing at a med speed first is a good idea.  Then gradually add the rest if the flour.  Whenever I just dump it all in at once it doesn't mix as well.  Also the arm position is important.  For the amount of flour you are using the arm should be almost in the middle of the bowl and pretty tight.


I have not made a 100% WW bread dough in mine.  I use Hamelman's WW multigrain that is 50% WW and it comes out well when I don't add all the flour at once.

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Thanks for responding! I added it fairly gradually, over 3-4 minutes? I'm not positive, but I poured cup by cup as the mixer turned. At about 8-9 cups it seemed stiff enough so I stopped adding, and rested the dough. I would say the roller was about an inch to an inch and a half from the rim (tightened). I thought more dough surface would be kneaded if the roller was closer to the edge; the dough was probably 3/4's up the roller.


 


How long do you mix before adding the second half of the flour? Does that help, do you end up with a well developed dough (and window pane)? Thanks again for your help!

janij's picture
janij

I never check window pane.  I don't know why.  I have just been making bread for so long I know how I want it to feel. 


I let the first half of the flour mix until it is nice and smooth.  Then mix in the rest.  With as much flour as you have you may want to move the roller arm closer to the middle once all the flour is in there.  Esp since you are making 100% WW.  It is denser than white.  I don't think keep it closer to the rim will help.  There is too much dough.  When you have it close to the rim does it swing really bad- the arm that is?  That is my clue to stop the machine and move the arm closer to the center.

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Hmm, it didn't seem like that much flour to me-should I only use the dough hook with that much flour do you think? At any rate, no, the arm wasn't swinging, it was just purring along, sounded fine. I *have* experienced the wacking arm on a bigger load, and I did adjust the arm-that helped, definitely.


 


Does your dough feel springy when you're done kneading? Mine normally does in the Kitchen Aid, but so far, no luck with that in the DLX. And I have to come clean, I don't actually do the window pane very often either, I just do it by feel too~ I just thought that was a more reliable way to tell, among more experienced bakers :o) Maybe I'm wrong, lol!

smaxson's picture
smaxson

I am also learning about using the DLX for bread baking, and although I cannot give you a hard and fast rule, I will repeat what I have heard from others on TFL: somewhere around 3 pounds of dough, you want to switch to the hook. I have used the roller for 1 to 2 smaller sandwich loaves and used the dough hook for anything larger and will say that this appears to be a pretty effective switching point. Without pressure, you will not knead, and with enough pressure to knead effectively you will almost certainly lose the "doughnut". You are probably across the threshhold of when you should switch to the dough hook--try it and see if it works better is the best advice I can give. You always have to learn when you make major changes, like mixers.

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Thanks, smaxson (and janij!) ~ I did switch after the first kneading session with the roller, but it didn't seem to help. It just spun around on the end of the hook, not really putting any pressure on the dough. I was using about medium-low speed, for twelve minutes with the hook as well.


On an earlier (larger) batch I also tried the hook, and it wound and unwound itself on the hook and kept tearing and trying to climbout of the bowl. I had to stand with it and keep pushing it back in with a spatula. It was still sticky, too, so I'm quite sure the dough was not too dry.


 


I'm really stumped as to how anyone can actually get good kneading with these mixers. I really hope someone can enlighten me, because I am just not getting it. Its really frustrating, because I want to experience all the great things i read about these mixers! At this point I just don't know what else to try. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sorry I'm late to the party on this. I use the DLX and haven't had the roller mounted in Months. I use the hook for all but the most slack dough. Yesterday I made a batch of Sicilian with durum and AP. it was 1000 grams of flours (7.5 Cups roughly) and 645 grams of water. I added 40 g of olive oil. Usual salt.


I think where you are having trouble is in the butter and honey. 3/4 Cup is a lot of butter. I don't think you are getting proper friction on the bottom.


My dough above came together well and I mixed it for 3 minutes on low, let it set for 20 minutes covered and then another 4 minutes on mid range. It still needed to be folded after 30 minutes but by then it was a perfect satin window pane dough.


You need to stop thinking that the machine will make this transformation in the dough. Time alone will allow the water to absorb and soften the flour making the gluten connect and form strands.


I suggest you try a 2# batch of straight dough to get the feel for it. Just flour, water, salt and yeast. Mix, wait, mix again wait 30-45 minutes and stretch & fold by hand. Let ferment until double, shape, proof and bake.


The DLX is a wonderful machine. It is NOT a big Kitchen Aid.


If you have questions please ask.


Eric

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

 


ETA: I found this recipe in my King Arthur 200th Anniv. cookbook


Hearth Bread


2 c water


1 Tb sugar


1 Tb ady (could I change this to 2 ts instant?)


6 cups unbl. AP flour (I'd use half white wheat)


1 Tb salt


 


Would this be a good recipe to try?


Thanks again!

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I've found, in general (not particular to DLX), it is best not to include items like honey and butter/oil in the beginning of the mixing/kneading process. These substances tend to coat the flour, inhibiting or slowing down water absorption, which is vital to gluten formation. In addition, as mentioned by others, mix flour and water and let it sit for 20-30 minutes and a lot of gluten will form while you just stare at it! This is called autolyse. Not necessary but it can help when you are having trouble, or like to use less machine action.


Furthermore, whole wheat doughs are notoriously harder to window pane due to a need for a slightly higher hydration and because of the fact that the sharp edges on the pieces of bran tend to cut already formed gluten strands. Reinhardt's expocy method essentially gives the flours a long soak for this reason. See my multi-grain oatmeal posting for a whole wheat bread that I make in the DLX routinely (with the epoxy method) and it actually window panes beautifully (although these days I almost never check).


I alsmost always use the roller in the DLX and have done large batches, but I agree that for largish batches you are probably better off switching to the hook after initial mixing. When you get the "roll around the hook" behavior, in my experience, you are starting to have good gluten development, but not enough friction with the bowl. This can happen due to additions such as butter and oil, or too small an amount for the hook.


So, try the same recipe, but mix water with three quarters of the flour, hold the butter and honey. Mix briefly and let sit for 20-30. Then mix on medium speed and start adding remaining flour gradually. When you are starting to see some good development, add butter/honey. With the large amount of butter, add it slowly, let it incorporate, and add some more (see my posting on Pannetone for some more on this). The oil will make your dough feel softer but does not change the hydration too much. If you need to, add some more flour after you are done with the butter.


 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I also just noticed that you used freshly milled flour. Flour that has not been aged generally has lesser capacity for gluten development. This puts higher demands on your technique. See my reply to ehanner.


Also check TFL for postings on freshly milled flour. This problem is discussed there as well.

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Thanks dolfs~you know your recipe for the Multi-Grain Oatmeal is one I've been wanting to try! They look beautiful and yummy :o)


 


Thanks for the tips on the order of ingredients-I hadn't thought of that. I will try both the butter free recipe and my regular loaves again. At the moment, I'm still trying to use up some KA White Wheat that I still have in my pantry.


I've no idea what the Epoxy Method is, so I'll look that up as well. Y'all have no idea how much I appreciate your help! I'm excited to try again!


Thanks everyone!


Hilary

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'm glad Dolfs jumped in on this. His points are right on and I hadn't thought about the fresh milled aspect of this issue. I actually go out of my way to whisk my olive oil into the liquid when I add it to the flours but I think Dolfs is on to something. I'm trying to make sure I get even distribution so I don't end up with color variations across the crumb. I tend to mix less and fold more, to keep oxidation at a minimum and maintain the creamy yellow color of the flour.


Eric

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

well, I made some pizza dough in it today (6 cups AP flour, 1&3/4 c water, 1/4 c oil, 2 tbs sugar, 1 tbs instant yeast and 1 tbs of salt). I did it in the order Dolfs recommended, and it kneaded well at first. After adding the oil and the last 25% of flour it had trouble coming together and I ended up adding a little water. Probably too much as it remained pretty sticky! It was a tried and true recipe that normally isn't really sticky-but that didn't stop it from being enjoyed as I write this! LOL.


It definitely had more bounce and springiness, though~so I feel like I'm finally making some progress. I will probably try a sandwich loaf recipe tonight (lower honey and butter though!).


Do you think if I held back half or two-thirds of the flour it would be enough? As I said, the dough seemed to have trouble absorbing the remaining flour and oil, so I thought maybe reducing the amount of flour in the initial mix might help.


 


Thanks everyone, you've been extremely helpful!


 


 


 


 


 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I dumped your pizza dough in my dough calculator's (see other posts) reverse spreadsheet. It tells me that, in bakers percent your dough is 100% flour, 55% water, 7.3% oil, 3.3% sugar, and 1.3% yeast, 2% salt.


 


I'd say two things about that:



  1. A very dry, stiff dough. Total hydration works out to 55%.

  2. Too much oil (see ehanner's comment above as well).


When you are making a dry stiff dough like this, I have to reverse some of my commentary earlier. Mixing the oil in at the very end is going to be very hard. If you insist on this amount of oil, mix the first half in before you are done with all the flour. Many pizza recipes I have call for oil between 0 and 5%, but a hydration of 65% and up. You'll find that with such dough's mixing in the oil at the end will work fine.


Your original recipe that started this post, on the other hand has a hydration level of 73% (if I assume 10 C of flour), or 62% for 12 C. Butter is at 11.8% resp. 9.9%. While hydration is reasonable, the fat level, again, is way high. Mu multi-grain oatmeal bread, for example, has 75% hydration and 3% butter.
ehanner's picture
ehanner

1/4 Cup of Oil in 6 cups of flour is a lot of oil. At least twice more than is usually called for from my experience.


Eric

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

:(


 


man, I just can't find a good recipe.


I find most of the recipes I try call for oil or butter, and honey in sandwich breads. How much oil is normal for a pizza recipe of that size, do you think?


i'll keep searching. Does this mean if I use a recipe with higher oil/butter/honey content I can't get good mixing in this mixer? I hate to think I'd be so limited if I want good results.


I didn't see your comment til just now, dolfs. I guess I am not working with good recipes, but I am only working with what I have. I don't have a lot of BM books, and none of the more serious ones. Maybe I should invest in one, to get better recipes? I am a novice at formulas (I've never tried-it looks complicated, but if it will help, I'm willing to learn!).


Any advice on a good beginners book?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I suggest that you take some of the advice that has been given and eliminate the oil. You don't need oil in pizza dough but many people add a Tablespoon for flavor. There is nothing wrong with the mixer.


A good and easy to understand that many of us have learned from in the early days is the BBA by Peter Reinhart. Here is a link to a review and a method to purchase it that will benifit our sponser.


Eric

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I add some oil on top just before baking, but I don't put any in the dough. The mixer will work fine for anything you throw at at, but you've got to know how to use it best.


 


Oil and butter in bread are used as tenderizers (soften the crumb) and will also stretch the lifespan of the bread. Exceptions are some high in butter breads like brioche where it is also an essential flavor component. So nothing wrong with trimming the oil on recipes you find.


Honey and the like are also not strictly necessary. Many whole wheat recipes add honey to cut through some of the taste of whole wheat that some don't like. Using white whole wheat though already removes that reason because it doesn't taste like that. So cutting back on honey will not only help make the dough, it is also healthier.


 


Vital wheat gluten is added in some recipes to offset the trouble of gluten formation with whole wheat flours that I described. I did that to in my early days of WW baking. Since then I have learned it isn't necessary at all, but you've got to make sure you provide the right hydration for the flour. Also you can mix less (doesn't allow the bran to tear the gluten strands) and use a couple of fold and stretch moves to compensate. Works great.


The epoxy method, described in Reinhart's book on whole grains works really well for whole whet type breads and is used in my Oatmeal bread. If you try that one, with the overnight soak, you will find yourself looking at a very nice dough forming in the DLX with very little mixing. No VWG at all.


 


Good luck.

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

dolfs, thanks so much for all your help.


I tried a different basic bread from the Fannie Farmer Baking book tonight, and it seemed to go better. It had 6 cups flour (half WW and half AP), 2c milk, 2tb butter and 2tb sugar (plus salt and yeast), the dough definitely kneaded better. It is formed in the pans and in the fridge ready for baking in the morning. 


I am certainly going to try your recipe-probably tomorrow. It would be great not to have to rely on the VWG (I always feel like I'm cheating when I use it, but it really has helped with my WW breads!).


 

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

I am taking the advice (I had aready started the pizza dough, and didn't realize just how much I should reduce the oil); and I never said the mixer was at fault-sorry if my comments were misconstrued.


 


I will look into the book you suggested, thanks.

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Well, I made some progress today~yah! I found a simple french bread recipe, with only flour, yeast, water and salt, and made a boule to go with supper. It came out very well, with a lovely and crisp crust with a chewy interior. It tasted great! Unfortunately we couldn't wait and cut it too soon so of course that was a bit gummy (but my DH said the bread was the best part of the meal :o) ).

The kneading did go *much* better with this recipe. I got a sort of doughnut on the roller, and between it and the scraper it really got some good kneading and I could see the gluten development happening (much more quickly than before). The dough was tacky but didn't stick to the bottom of the bowl, unlike with my previous attempts.

I ordered Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Baking book and I am looking forward to receiving it. Thanks for your help, dolfs and Eric, I am finally beginning to have some success with my DLX!

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Congrats! If you see the doughnut when working the DLX you are doing right. This is very characteristic during the initial-middle part of the mixing. Make sure the roller is not too close to the rim and the doughnut gets really thin.


With other recipes, if you do not add all the flour at once you should always be able to get the doughnut at first although with recipes that use the epoxy method, there is essentially no water to be added (at the end) so you will not see it there.


You are on track, keep going!


 


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jaxhil,


The DLX is so different from every other mixer that many people have trouble understanding the right way to get gluten development. Things that used to go well in a paddle and hook mixer sometimes don't in the DLX and people get frustrated. Sorry if I was a little blunt trying to get you to try a straight french dough. I know you will like the results after a few successful batches under your belt.


Dolfs is correct about the doughnut. There is more action in those flutes than seems possible. I watch the scraper for signs it is getting in the way and stop when it is catching the dough.


Whole Grain Breads is a revolutionary book in the way it teaches you to use whole grain flours and get great gluten structure along with full flavor. I'm sure you will enjoy it as I have.


Eric

toyman's picture
toyman

My process with the DLX is as follows:


I initially set it up with the roller & scraper


Put my wet ingredients in the mixing bowl (water and oil)


Add 75% of the flour a cup or so at a time until it comes together


Let that autolyze for at least 20 minutes


After autolize I switch to the dough hook, add the balance of my dry ingredients (salt last) and let it knead.  I will increase the speed to about 1/2 full. 


It's pretty amazing to watch it all come together and I can normally tell, visually, as well as by feel when the dough is done, but I normally set the timer for the full 14 minutes.  I will also check the dough temp with my laser therm to ensure it doesn't get much over 80*. 


I normally make 7-10# of dough (bread or pizza).  My recipes are pretty simple, but are very well received.


pizza - Flour (hi-gluten, Caputo, Bread or a mixture) 100%, water 65%, yeast .56%, salt 1.5%.  Minimum 12 hour fridge rise, normally 1-2 days.


bread - Flour 100%, water 63%, yeast .62%, evoo 1%, brown sugar 1%, salt 1%.  Same long rise. 


The DLX is an excellent mixer.  It's gentle so you don't have to worry much about overheating your dough.  It may not save you a lot of time as far as start to finish, but I know I can do 2-3 batches without breaking a sweat!


 

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

I had to take a few days break to eat up or give away all the bread I've been baking :p


Today I will make up dolfs' Multigrain Oatmeal bread-I started the biga and starter last night, and they should be ready to put together into the final dough in a couple of hours. I really like putting it together the night before; it's nice to break it down into steps~seems like less "work" (ie, less intimidating!). Also makes it easy to fit into my schedule.


I have to say you were right Eric, the french dough did come together much more easily! It was so good, I am making it again today for company tonight. This time we will wait a proper amount of time to cut into it (well we'll try anyway! lol).


I got the PR Whole Grain Breads book, and it looks really good-can't wait to try the recipes! But I'm reading through first. I also got Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads, Soups, & Stews. Lots of reading to do :D


I hope the Multigrain Oatmeal bread is successful, too~yours looks so good, dolfs!


Toyman, can you share your pizza and regular bread recipes? If it's not too much trouble, I'd be interested to try them, Thanks!


 

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

I just finished kneading the dough for the MGO bread, and my dough is quite wet-there's no window pane possible, it just sticks to me like crazy. I am sorry to keep bothering you! I carefully measured, using your volume amounts (cups/etc) as I don't have a digital scale yet).


The biga and starter seemed good when I put it together, but after 12 min in the DLX (doughnut and all) it still doesn't seem to be developing.


UPDATE: well, I just added maybe a TB or 2 of bread flour(at about the middle third of kneading), and went ahead and let it ferment. When I checked it an hour or so later it had more than doubled and lost a good bit of its stickiness. So I am just going to go ahead with the baking as instructed (the dough feels fantastic! :D).


 


Thanks for helping me so much, I really appreciate it!

toyman's picture
toyman

jaxhill, when I started with doughs, it was suggested that using a scale & bakers percentages was the best way to get repeatable results.  It is my understanding that different flours are denser than others and therefore using cups & teaspoons for ingredients doesn't always work out the way you want, plus a cup of sifted flour isn't the same weight as a cup of flour straight from the bag. It gave me the ability to make adjustments for different flours and also get my recipe working for me.  I got a 'escali' brand scale from Amazon for $25.  My recipes for my pizza and bread dough are part of my last post, they are just in bakers percentages. 

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Thanks Toyman~I had a feeling you would say that! I just have never made bread using percentages so I really wasn't sure.


I'll have to look it up because I have no idea how to make bread that way. Oh, and thanks for the suggestion of the scale~I'll look into that!