The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixing method

sadears's picture
sadears

Mixing method

What is the easiest way to mix my ingredients?  I'm missing a part for my mixer, so that's not an option.  I tried a spoon and my hands (oh so sticky in the beginning).

 

Steph

sphealey's picture
sphealey

For initial mixing I use two metal spoons, one larger and one smaller. This will be either a soup spoon and teaspoon or mixing spoon and teaspoon from our standard Target-issue silverware set.

 

I use the large spoon to stir and mix, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and to turn/fold the blobby mass of pre-dough; and the small spoon to scrape the dough off the large spoon from time to time.

 

After the first mixing I usually let the pre-dough autolyese for 10-20 minutes, then continue mixing/kneading either with hands or hand and plastic dough scraper. Sometimes I end up kneading the really wet doughs in the mixing bowl with the dough scraper; otherwise I turn it out onto my countertop for kneading.

 

I have also been testing my King Arthur dough whisk. This is not to be confused with an eggwhite whisk; the dough wisk is a substantial loop of stainless steel on a heavy maple handle. It looks odd and I suspect the first one was made by a metalworker who left a stainless rod in the flame too long, but they do seem to work for mixing the pre-dough and are easy to clean.

 

sPh

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng


So when do you add the salt and leaven/yeast? Or do you just mean rest for 10 - 20 minutes. According to the French Baking school the autolyse should come after the mixing (frossage) stage and last for 30 mins to an hour. Then you add the salt and leaven or yeast.
Jim

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> So when do you add the salt and leaven/yeast?

 

There are as many different methods of autolyse as there are cookbooks ;-). The various methods and particuarly the salt issue have been the subject of several good threads here so you might want to try searching those out.

 

Generally I mix the dry ingrediants less the salt, add the preferment and other liquids, mix until shaggy, then let sit for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes I add the salt as I knead/fold/process the dough.

 


But I am not totally satisfied with this method as the dough never seems to incorporate the salt properly, leading to more and less salty zones in the finished bread. The infamous "NYT no-knead" method shows that the whole issue of salt is poorly understood (somewhat confirmed by _Bread Science_ if I understand Chapter 2 correctly - a big if). So I oscillate back and forth between adding the salt to the dry ingredients and adding it during the first knead.

 

sPh

sadears's picture
sadears

Is there a technique for using a dough whisk?

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

There's not really a technique. It's just really handy for mixing up all the ingredients into a dough, and it cleans up well thanks to its design.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

The instructor at KA dipped thumb and forefinger in flour and used them to push the dough off the wisk. Worked very well.

 

As far as technique: hold firmly. Rotate around edge of bowl. Keep flat face of whisk perpendicular to direction of travel (as with spoon) ;-)

 

sPh

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... you had me laughing out loud. :-)

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

I just use awooden spoon. I do mine all by hand (dont own a mixer)

Its sticky at first but after a while its fine. I also knead my stuff in the bowl.......saves cleaning up afterwards.

 

 

HogieWan's picture
HogieWan

I also do my kneading in the mixing bowl. It does save cleanup, but for me it is necessary - I have tile counters and the spaces between tiles make it messy and difficult to knead on the counter itself.

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

I thought I'd help make mixers redundent. No? : -)
Jim

jbaez13's picture
jbaez13

I am a purist when it comes to mixing- all hands(clean ones). =P

sadears's picture
sadears

I found the other part of my mixer, it was the second kneading thingy.  I'm going to try that when I make my wheat sourdough.  Don't know if I'll knead the dough with it, but I may be able to just mix the dough to get the desired consistancy with the flour.  Need to look at the instruction booklet.  Mmmm.

 

Steph

FloridaChad's picture
FloridaChad

My mixing method(s) vary depending on the bread I'm making. For "country" style white loaves I usually use the KitchenAid dough hook to get all the flour and ingreadients incorporated...then turn it out on the counter and work the dough by hand until it "feels" right. All followup work is done by "hand".

 

For my favorite baguettes I mix by hand and then work the really loose dough with a bench scraper and fold, fold, fold, fold, fold...you get the picture...until it FINALLY comes together. I haven't made this particular recipe in years, but will probably break it out next weekend.

 

I became comfortable using the mixer when baking in a cafeteria for a couple of years...we didn't do a lot of hand work...it was definately not an artisan bakery!! But, we did do some really nice white and wheat rolls and made our own whole wheat mini-loaves and large rustic "white" bread that we used mostly for croutons and grilled toast.

 

I do really enjoy the feeling of the dough coming together. 

 

David Little, Clearwater, FL