The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Got a new SP5 Spiral Mixer - Any tips or best practices?

dantortorici's picture

Got a new SP5 Spiral Mixer - Any tips or best practices?

Just got a SP5 Spiral Mixer from TMB. Will try it out this weekend.

Was wondering if other SP5 owners have some tips or best practices for using it. What advice would you give?

What is the biggest size batch of dough you have made in this?

What is your method for cleaning it?



Wood-fired oven baker

Yippee's picture

I keep a water bottle handy and spray it between batches to keep the scraps from drying.  Scrape with a firm, sturdy spatula, and wipe clean with paper towels.

The MINIMUM final dough weight I've tried was around 1000g at 68% hydration. For wetter dough, apply double hydration method.  Maybe other users can direct you to the maximum capacity of this machine.


CanuckJim's picture

The maximum flour (not dough) capacity is stated as eight pounds.  In practice, however, I find that weight to be way too messy at start up.  I keep it to around six pounds.  Or, if using metric, I can make enough dough for twenty-four 210 gram 65 per cent pizza balls in one go.

This machine is a horse, doesn't blink at dry bagel dough.  You're gonna like it.

If you're using Hamelman's final dough temp method from Bread, I've found over time that the friction factor is 26.


nancy58's picture

I am very interested in your new mixer. Could you please let me know what TMB stands for (I'm assuming that it is the Co. you purchased it from). If you have a link to their site it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

mrfrost's picture
dantortorici's picture

I did 8 lbs of Greenstein's Rye with it this weekend and it performed like a champ. Looks like I could do 10lbs as it didn't fill the bowl. The machine didnt even break a sweat - no hopping around like my Kitchenaid.

Thanks Yippee for the tip about keeping the bowl wet till you clean it.

This recipe calls for mixing till it climbs the beater but with this type of mixer it doesn't do that. Not sure what to look for with this dough otherwise.

CJ - thanks for the info on friction factor and your experience with big batches.

Will do a 10lb batch of Semolina bread next week.

dantortorici's picture

So having used the SP5 a few times it seems that there are a few things that are more difficult, primarily due to the non-removable bowl.

Poolish, for example, is a challenge to get out of the bowl. 

Although I am getting better, it seems that even getting a good fully developed dough out of the bowl is challenging.

Another challenge is knowing when enough is enough as the dough will not 'climb the beater'. I guess windowpane is the best way to test.

Any other suggestions out there?




teteaupain's picture

I've been using an SP5 for quite a few years now.  Here are a few things I've learned.  

It works best with a least 1100 grams of flour in the mix.  

It doesn't do a very good job of developing wet doughs

It struggles with the standard poolish baguette dough (a third of the total flour and half the total water in the preferment)

By "not working well" and "struggling" I mean that the dough either takes a long time to reach the point where cohesion exceeds adhesion or never does.  (that point is when the dough no longer sticks to the bowl, but comes together into it's own mass).

I suspect the problem with the poolish-based baguette dough has to do with the extra extensibility that the poolish gives the dough, as a straight dough or one with biga, even when made at the same hydration level and with the same flour, works fine.  I just don't use poolish as a preferment if I plan on mixing the dough in the SP5.  Non-preferment (straight dough), low yeast, long fermentation doughs make pretty delicious baguettes.

The actual % hydration varies with flour absorption, but I've found the SP5 works best with 66-68% hydration (assuming white flour).  Now I make a lot of breads that have considerably more water than that.  To work with this issue (which is probably related to the fact that there is no break bar in the SP5) I have simply adopted the practice of using the "double hydration" method, in which, after developing the dough at, say, 68% hydration, I add the rest of  the water -- up to a total of 82% for ciabatta.  It only takes a couple of minutes for the water to be absorbed and for the dough to come back together.  

As to getting actual poolish out of the bowl -- why not just mix the poolish by hand in a regular mixing bowl?

I haven't experienced any trouble getting developed doughs out of the mixer.


In short, here's the key to getting the most out of your SP5:  mix the dough a little dry (we're not talking about bagel dough dry!) and add the rest of your water after the dough reaches the point of cohesion.  Or just forego the mixer altogether and rely on time and folds!






matteo's picture

When using the double hydration method, will the finished dough eventually come back together as a single mass.  I am planning on doing an 80% dough this weekend.  Any recommendations by anyone who has the same mixer would be greatly appreciated.


rek's picture

In his Bread book (page 11), Jeffrey Hamelman states that "moderate gluten development can be accomplished by mixing to about 900 to 1,000 revolutions"

Using a stopwatch I calculated that the spiral on my SP5 Micro Spiral from TMB Baking rotates at approximately 160 revolutions per minute.

900 revolutions at 160 rpm = 5.6 minutes
1,000 revolutions at 160 rpm = 6.25 minutes

For what it's worth, the bowl rotates at approximately 23 revolutions per minute.

From what I've been able to find, most of the Hobart planetary mixers run at 100 rpm on first speed and 200 rpm on second speed. It is typical in Jeff's recipes to mix at speed one for three minutes, then speed two for three minutes. The 160 rpm of the Micro Spiral seems equal to this in time and in the number of revolutions. I've used the SP5 a half-dozen times in the month that I've had it, and 6 minutes seems to be about right for the whole grain straight doughs and levain breads that I've made.

Largest batch I've made so far is four loaves. Had no problem getting whole wheat dough out of the bowl in one piece, but sticky rye dough came out in several pieces - but still no problem.

To clean I pour about a quarter cup of water in the bowl and wipe around with a soft plastic scraper and a paper towel, soaking up the water in the paper towel and wringing it out in the sink when finished, repeating until all the water is gone. I put the paper towel in the bowl and let the towel run underneath the spiral a few revolutions to clean out where the spiral contacts the bowl. Run the machine a half-turn of the bowl from time to time while wiping to reach all parts of the bowl and spiral. Final wipe with a fresh dry paper towel. Usually takes no more than five minutes.

The mixer is heavy (60 to 70 pounds seems about right). I store it in the back corner of my kitchen counter, but easily slide it forward when I need to use it, then push it back when done. It's not so heavy that you can't easily move it around on the countertop.

dantortorici's picture

Thanks for the insight. I will be looking more closely at the dough between 5 and 6 minutes now.

I made about 12 lbs of dough in it last weekend of a Pugliese. That seems to be the bowls limit. Am getting better at the cleaning aspect of this machine so I guess like everything else its practice!

Thanks for the great tips - keep 'em coming!