Is there any special technique for using a dough whisk?
I went to the King Arthur travelling road show when it was in the neighborhood last year. It was great fun (and I won two bags of flour in the raffles!). She used that really-big clear plastic mixing bowl that they sell, and just stirred with the dough whisk with the same motion you'd use for a big mixing spoon. I use a dough whisk, too, but I start the mixing with a regular cook's wire whisk until the mixture gets too thick, and then I switch. I find the wire whisk does a better job of keeping the mixture smooth, and since I knead by hand, that's important to me. BTW, she used the dough whisk to determine when she had added enough flour to the dough. She said it was ready when you could lift all the dough out of the bowl with it forming a ball around the whisk. That only applies to bread dough, not coffeecake dough which is much softer. Also, she didn't clean her dough whisk with water, but just used flour hands to rub any dough residue off of it. I'm too neurotic to leave my whisk unwashed, so I clean it with a soapy sponge, rinse, and wipe dry. When the wood looks dry, I rub it with mineral oil.
I have found that the sooner you dump the dough out on the counter, the more effort you save. To have a big wad of dough on the super dooper whisk is the opposite of where I'm going. Sounds like show-time to me.
I think the classes were aimed at people who had never made bread before. Beginners often have trouble knowing how much flour to add (usually erring on the side of too much, I would guess). So this was a trick to give them some idea of when to stop adding flour. Actually, it's quite easy to remove the ball of dough, and, for me at least, the whisk results in a smooth dough that requires less kneading.
I recently saw a video where the KA whisk was used and it looked impressive; not a toy.
I'm usually not impressed by gadgets and gee-gaws, but the bread whisk is a really nice tool. It is perfect for mixing sponges and wet doughs, but as you get close to adding the final cup or so of flour to a stiffer dough, it poops out. Or maybe it's just my arm that poops out. Anyway, at that point I continue mixing with wet or floured hands.
I agree that it cannot mix the dough once incorporatred, but it's great to gather dry & wet together... and especially good on batters.
My sister has taught me that it's a good tool for meatballs and meatloaf mixtures!!! (whoda thunk?)
Similar to Merry Baker when I attended the KA Travelin' Show I won one bag of flour and a dough wisk. I've used it for about seven years, but of late--the last few weeks--I've been mixing doughs in a wide, 5-quart stainless steel bowl using a plastic bowl scraper (also from KA). I fold the wet and dry ingredients, similar to folding whipped egg whites into angel food batter. For stiff doughs when the dough begins to form a ball I mash and stretch the dough--similar to fraisage--until it's smooth enough to turn out and knead. With wet dough I continue the folding motion until I feel the gluten begin to form. Then I place the dough in the oiled proofing box where it rests and I Stretch and Fold it until the dough forms appropriate to the type of bread.
But, I haven't thrown away my dough wisk, or my stand mixer;-)