The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Making without a bread mixer

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

Bread Making without a bread mixer

i do not have a kitchen-aid type bread mixer. however, i do have a bread machine that i really like and a have a food processor.


is there any way i can make the breads on this site using the bread machine &/or food processor.


i am unable to knead at this time due to a severe right wrist distal radius fracture that is less than 1 yr old.


i would appreciate any suggestions.


thanks, claudia

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

Search the site for "stretch and fold" and you'll find tons of info on how to develop your bread without kneading.

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

thanks. i'll do that.


 claudia

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

If your bread machine has a "dough only" cycle, you can use that to knead any bread that calls for kneading.  Even if it doesn't have a dough only cycle, you can simply remove the dough before the baking begins and turn off your machine. Some experts say it's the best of the mechanical kneading devices because it's gentle on the dough, but also very thorough. 


However, be mindful of your bread machine's capacity and don't exceed it.  Most bread machines that are 1 1/2 lb capacity can only manage about 3 cups of flour, 2lb capacity machines can take more.  This may mean that you have to cut the recipes down to use them.  I suggest you measure by weight and  learn about "Baker's Percentage" also called "Baker's Math" (search for these terms here on TFL)because it will make dividing recipes SO much easier. 


You can also make dough in the food processor, but you have to find a good set of instructions to help. The thing you must understand when using the food processor is that the friction it makes heats the dough, and you must compensate for the heat so you don't kill your yeast.  There is a whole book on making bread in the food processor I got once from the library, called The Best Bread Ever: Great Homemade Bread Using your Food Processor by Charles Van Over.  I didn't try it, however, since I only have a mini-food processor, over 20 years old and not up to making dough!


Stretch and fold, as mentioned above, might work well for you too and there's a lot of information here and elsewhere on the net (Mike Avery's Sourdough site has great videos) to help you learn that. 


And there are a few no knead techniques.  If you look here in TFL for NYT No Knead bread you'll find the directions.  Breadtopia.com has lots of good no knead recipes.  And Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a day does not require kneading, but you do still have to mix up the initial dough (a dough whisk makes this very easy on your hands) 

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

thanks for all the options. i'll try the dough cycle & also using the food processor


i use my bread machine weekly & also use the dough cycle for rolls, pizza, etc. the machine has 16 different cycles & makes 3 sizes of bread + qucik bread.


claudia

dosidough's picture
dosidough

Stretch and fold is the way to go for the most part, but with a lot of the breads you can use your bread machine on the dough only cycle. It won't work that well for ciabatta or bagette type breads, for that the stretch and fold gives you more control.


Some machine manuals give a break down of the exact function and it's duration. So if you're making a whole wheat bread you can use the whole wheat setting (it has a soak and longer knead) and calculate when to be there to shut it off just at the final rise if you want to pan it or do a shape of your desire. Some whole grain breads can bog down a bread machine if you use the dough only setting, withoiut the soaking period the dough is not hydrated enough and being very stiff it over works the machine. Check your manual for how it varies on the different settings.


 In the past I've had a wrist and elbow problem at the same time and I used my bread machine in this way quite a bit. Experiment with this a little but if you're not having a particularly bad day jump in on the stretch and fold. Some how we get to our bread.


Good luck and have fun with it. Every step is new techinique. Bake on...


Dosi

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

thanks for the options. i'll investigate the stretch & fold technique


claudia

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

My husband is the kind of guy who wouldn't know what to do with flour if it hit on his face but I converted him into a bread maker.  He was too intimidated by the Kitchen Center dough hooks so I introduced him to the bread machine.  He uses only the dough cycle to prepare the dough, shapes into a loaf pan then bakes in the oven.  Works for him every time. 


The stretch and fold method mentioned above is also very effective for people who cannot or choose not to knead their dough. 


When I fractured my left radius into a few pieces 10 years ago (before I got the Kitchen Center), I used only my right hand to knead because I would go crazy if I couldn't make bread.  But again, if I had fractured the right hand, it would be a different story.


cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

i'll use my dough cycle & also try the stretch & fold method. thanks for the many options


claudia

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I hate to be a curmudgeon but I haven't used a mixer for bread for several years. It is too easy, too fast, too simple, and too rewarding to me to simply do it by hand. There is no real time benefit from the mixer IMO. Just do it - by hand... and you will be happier for it in the end! Or at least I seriously believe that is the case!
Jay

jbaudo's picture
jbaudo

I am sure it is super rewarding to make bread completely by hand but many people (myself included) simply do not possess the physical ability to do this without causing pain and injury.  I have found great comfort in being able to use my kitchen aid mixer to aid me in making delicious homemade loaves for my family.  Without it we would be forced to buy store bread or to have none at all.  If I could do it completely by hand without being in pain for days maybe I would be happier in the end.  But thanks to this newfangled technology I can have my cake (and bread) and eat it too.  Using a machine doesn't make the bread baking process any less sweet or rewarding.

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I have nothing perticularly against mixers other than the lack of tactile contact with the dough which diminishes one's ability to recognize issues and compensate. They have the advantage of being much more consistent than most hand mixing (assuming the operator is consistent) and that is a nontrivial advantage. My response was particularly related to the opening question which was striving to move from a bread machine (which totally removes contact with the mixing - at least with the mixer you can see what is happening!). I was intending to encourage Claudia to try hand mixing rather than using a bread machine or food processor and before buying a mixer. I did not intend my comment to target people who use mixers. I appologize for not being more explicit.


Sorry!
Jay

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

I agree. I got a KA mixer when my arthritis got to the point that I couldn't keep kneading by hand.


And it only takes it 5 minutes to go from raw ingredients to fully kneaded dough.

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

jay


i appreciate your opinion & will try hand mixing once my wrist is stronger. for now, i will use my bread machine or food processor for mixing/kneading/rising. i can watch the process with either one. my bread machine has a window on top that allows me to monitor the bread progress. i'll use the dough cycle & then shape the bread for oven baking. i'm also going to try baking in our gas grill - i did that years ago during my 'earth mother' phase.


maybe santa (aka husband) will bring me a kitchen aid for xmas. it can be used for many things other than bread mixing.


thanks, claudia