The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Paddle attachment with higher hydration Doughs?

doublelift08's picture

Paddle attachment with higher hydration Doughs?

I saw this recently and thought to myself...why havent i ever tried this before and thought id share/ask for feedback...


notice in this video that the ciabatta dough being made is mixed with the paddle attachment on the mixer:

notice also how the dough attachment in this very large commercial mixer is essentially acting as a paddle turned on its side


ok so heres my thought. Whenever i mix higher hydration doughs, or very soft ones as in brioche, it seems the dough hook leaves them a sticky mess for a long time because it doesnt efficiently mix the dough {its so fluid its just sliding out of the way of the hook and not kneading per se; you've all seen it; dont lie :) ]

So ive since tried using the paddle for foccacia, ciabatta, pizza dough (mine is quite slack) and said brioche and the dough clears the bowl much much faster, windows can be pulled, and general hapiness abounds where before only pain and suffering existed.


I ask now for your there a detriment to this technique that ive just not encountered yet, and if so what is it? this is especially important to me cuz i bake professionally for a caterer/restaurant and i would hate to fail with 4kg of someone elses product in the mixer ya know?  Has anyone else done this and how were your results..i looked and can find no mention of it in all my usual sources.


all commentary on this is welcome and apprciated.

later breadheads

ananda's picture


I usually make ciabatta between 75 and 85% hydration.   I would use a paddle, as it takes too long for the hook to mix effectively in the college machines.   Paddle does a good job.

But at lower hydration, for standard doughs there is an obvious risk of over-mixing.   The hook is designed to get right to the middle of the dough and do the best job of developing gluten in that type of machine for standard dough types.

If the paddle works for you, fine.   But I only like to use it when the dough is wet.   I would also use it for all rye paste as well.

Good question.

Best wishes


dmsnyder's picture

What an interesting idea! Thanks!

Daniel Leader in "Local Breads" recommends mixing some slack doughs for long times at high speeds. This works, but it's contrary to the mixer manufacturer's recommendations, and I worry about oxidizing the dough and compromising flavor. I wonder if mixing with the paddle would develop the dough faster and more gently.

I must try this! Hmmm ... Genzano? Or Polish Cottage Rye?

Gentleman, activate your starters! Ladies too! (I mean, "Ladies, activate your starters!" not "Gentlemen, activate your ladies!")


DonD's picture

The only concern I have with mixing with the paddle is that the gluten strands will  stretch and wrap around the closed tines of the paddle and you will have to break the strands to remove the dough whereas with a dough hook you can just slide them off without breaking. For a wet dough or to incorporate the residual water after a long cold autolyse, I compromise and use the paddle just to incorporate the water in the dough but not to fully develop the gluten and then switch to the dough hook.


odinraider's picture

Bernard Clayton, in "The Complete Book of Breads," instructs many breads to be mixed with a paddle. He starts them in a batter form with a paddle, then switches to a dough hook as the dough becomes more cohesive.

I've done this with some breads, and the only drawback as far as I can see is the nominal extra work of having the wife wash two utensils instead of one!

For high hydration or batter breads, the paddle does the job better and faster than the hook. Just be careful, as Andy intimated and Don stated, to stop and switch to the hook (or hand) before the gluten fully develops. I tend to favor a longer autolyze period to avoid overworking the dough.


EvaB's picture

in my house the rule is you use it you wash it! :))

This is interesting and will have to give it a try. I don't have a lot of bread baking books, but so far haven't had too bad a success. A couple spectacular failures and am trying again hopefully today!


mrfrost's picture

Popular 95% hydration ciabatta(Jasons Quick) starts with paddle, finishes with hook.

008cats's picture

I have read an article on "Double Flour Additions" which employs the whisk attachment in making Pain au Levain, and then finishes the dough with a hook. This caught my eye but other than saving the recipe, I have never made the bread and cannot attest to its providence or whether it is to be pooh-poohed. In the spirit of sharing I thought I would mention it here since it fit into the discussion, albeit as a bit of an oddity.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I've tried a couple of his double flour addition recipes.  The wisk is used when the starter and some flour are added to the liquid until a batter is formed.  His idea is to whip air into the dough to form nucleation sites.  Using a dough hook, the rest of the ingredients are added and kneaded.

Jason's ciabatta method is a terrific one and sounds like the method used by a pizza maker in Dan Leader's book Local Breads.  I've had success using only the paddle and mixing until the dough clears the bowl and surrounds the paddle.  But, as mentioned above, this is a 95% hydration dough (pretty much a batter).


008cats's picture

That technique is very interesting; it looks as tho - between the hydration and gluten development - the batter spends little time winding around the paddle spokes and most of the time being wrapped around the paddle's outside or stretched out to the inside of the bowl. I will have to try and to push my hydration capability by using this method sometime soon...