The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question about Kitchenaid dough hook speed warning

bizzylizzy's picture

Question about Kitchenaid dough hook speed warning

Just getting ready to use my new refurbished mixer (5 qt pro with pigtail dough hook) and it states multiple places not to exceed speed 2- In the recipe I want to try from the Bread Bible it says to start on speed 2 and increas to 4?????  Should I be worried???

suave's picture

It depends on the dough and its amount.  If you have 2 pounds of soft slack dough 4 would be just fine, with something stiff or large loads I wouldn't go above 2.  I was also very worried about these warnings, but I have since learned to listen to the sounds of the machine and know when it struggles.

flournwater's picture

Overworking the KA stand mixer by exceeding the speed recommendations tends to overheat the motor.  That will, over time, reduce the life expectancy of the motor.  Additionally, oveheating the motor causes the food safe lubricants in the machine to liquify and leak from the turret.  The leakage is more of a nuisance than anything else (it doesn't pour out but some degree of leakage can be detected at various points, especially after running and allow to rest a while) but it can can get to be a real pain.

KA's recommendation for kneading at #2 is really enough to get just about any kneading job done.  By watching the development of the dough it's easy enough to determine whether it may require a longer kneading time at #2, but I haven't had any difficulty making those decisions using my KA stand mixer. 

Heavier doughs or large amounts of dough can also generate unwelcome heat in the motor assembly and allowing the dough to climb the dough hook is another potential problem  You can reduce the tendancy for the dough to climb the dough hook by spraying the underside of the dough hooks wide top plate and the top portion of the dough hook iteself with a bit of non-stick spray or coating it with olive/vegetable oil.

Yerffej's picture

Also be aware that at higher speeds with a dough hook the mixer can walk off the counter.  I would not take my eyes off off the mixer if you go to a higher speed.


Rosalie's picture

A lot of people complain about how their KitchenAid broke down.  I wonder how many of them ignored that warning.  Suave may be right, but I hate tempting fate.


Janknitz's picture

On her website that she recommends the higher speeds because most of her formulas are for just one loaf at a time and therefore have less flour and offer less resistance in the mixer.  She believes the dough will not get adeuquately mixed and kneaded at the slower speed because of low volume.

BUT, I have had my KA for 20+ years now (wedding gift), and hope it will last 20 more, at least (though sometimes I lust over  a pretty color or a bigger workbowl).  I've never worked bread dough at higher speeds.  1st speed to mix, 2nd speed to knead.  It works fine for me.  I'm not willing to wear down my motor by going against the manufacturer's recommendations when it works just fine as the manufacturer recommends.

For lower volume doughs in particular I do use the paddle to mix the dough on speed 1 before changing to the dough hook--that seems to help.  And the coating on my paddle is wearing out, so I'm thinking I might be able to justify getting one of the new paddles with the rubber edges to do all the bowl scraping for me.  But it might take 5 or 10 years before I really need a new paddle. 

KA's are good machines (I credit my KA with teaching me how to make bread dough--by following the instructions that came with the mixer) and deserve a little TLC.  Personally, I wouldn't push it. 

LindyD's picture

Well, I imagine Kitchen Aid wrote those warnings for a reason - and that reason could be you might burn out the motor or gears.

It's your mixer, your money, and your call.  If you are going to chance it, just be certain to never leave the side of that mixer and to keep your hand on top of it so you can feel the heat - and shut it down if necessary.  Be sure to listen closely to the mixer, as well.

If it does break down, please don't post about the lousy products Kitchen Aid makes because it really is unfair to blame a manufacturer when the operator has ignored the operating instructions. 

tananaBrian's picture

Being the proud owner of a 17 year old KA Pro, I know what the author meant when she thought maybe the dough wouldn't get worked enough on low speed when kneading low volumes of dough.  From my experience, I'd say that that is a false fear ...that it may look like it's not getting worked enough, but it is.  Ignore the fear and stick to 2 for kneading.  In fact, I usually mix on 'Stir' and knead on a setting of 1, rarely using 2.  As the years have passed, I've realized that the higher speed just isn't necessary.  Neither are the knead times that are stated in many cook books.  I tend to knead less than they say by about 1/3rd and just use french folds (or the 'slap and fold' technique for soft doughs) during bulk ferment and prior to preshaping.  I swear that much of the gluten development occurs on its own simply by letting the bread rise.


Oh yeah, nearly forgot.  If you've had your machine for awhile, it could be that the bowl height needs to be adjusted.  My bowl's height tends to lower gradually and needs to be tuned in every 2 or 4 years.  Raise the bowl until the flat blade makes contact on the empty bowl, then lower it a tad.  Double check that the dough hook and whisk attachments don't strike the bowl.  That's all I do ...and I'm never happy with how close the whisk runs to the bowl.  At least with my model year, trying to make merangue or whipped cream with the KA is ineffective.  I use a hand-held KA mixer for that.




Scottyj's picture

I am new to baking and I have just read this thread. WOW thank you all for all this wonderful information about the KA. My wife (AKA The Boss) bought a KA stand mixer about 7 years ago from the local Goodwill store for about $8.00 US. I have no idea how old it is. The very first loaf of bread I made I thought that I needed to take it to a higher speed and pushed it to about 4. I could hear the motor start to strain so I dropped it back down to 3, and then back to 2. So yes 2 is the correct speed so far as I am concerned. I am so glad for this and many other threads here on the fourms.

You all are fantastic and so fourthcomming with any and all information and help.

Thank you all for being here.


Tri-City Oregon


hmn's picture

Do not go past #2.

We had an old KA mixer for more than 25 years, then we "upgraded" to a newer model. We had to replace it within 3 months. They are very good about it - it seems they are set up to do it quite often. The big difference is the older models were made by Hobart whereas the newer ones are built by Whirlpool.

So watch your dough. If it starts to bind, turn it off and finish by hand.

Scottyj's picture

You have as there are two of the. Mine cane with the number 1 hook. If you have the number two hook you may need to let it knead for a bit longer. I have no idea why but that is what the book says.

jeromethegiraffe's picture

Personally, I found the Kitchenaid to be unsuitable for anything but very small batches of yeasted doughs. It's fine for light duty mixing and other uses, but I stopped using it and started kneading by hand and haven't turned back since. I should credit it for getting me interested in baking to begin with though.

tananaBrian's picture

Which KA did you buy?  How many watts?



bizzylizzy's picture

I actually bought a refurbished 5 qt pro from the KA site (steal for $219) I wanted the pigtail dough hook which it came with- I'm new to baking but so far the speed 2 has been fine- now I just need a recipe for yummy sandwhich bread that doesn't have 9 TBS of butter- but that's another thread....

This site it the best!!!

Dragonbones's picture

Hi bizzylizzy,

Mine's the same as yours, refurbished 5 qt KA. My experience is just what suave says -- higher speed is ok with a slacker dough, but with something stiffer stay on low. Also, the autolyse technique (mixing less, giving it a rest, then a little more mixing) is better than a lengthy, continuous mix, which may overheat the machine (of course, it's usually 90 degrees F in my kitchen, too).

Have fun with it!

Kent in Taibei