The Fresh Loaf

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Mixing dough question

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Norman's picture
Norman

Mixing dough question

I've been looking over many posts in this site about mixing dough with a mixer.  I have a Kitchen Aid (classic) and I trying to find out the right speed to mix the dough, for bread, pizza...etc.  It seems  that many said not to go over speed #2, but using a high hydration dough (65% to 75%) it is impossible to form a smooth dough ball at those speeds.  I have been doing mine on really high speed, some times, all the way to #10 and have to mix it for a good amount of time until it pulls of the bowl and forms a ball.  I noticed that the machine gets quite warm and I wonder if the motor will over heat by using it in this way.  Now, am I doing it wrong?.  I seen some post where they mixed the dough on really high speed, specially with high hydration.


The second question that I have is: I make the sponge or preferment, usually I used equal amounts of flour and water.  But when I mixed it with my final dough, if I used a 70% hydration on my final dough, I have to add some flour later on because it will never pull of the bowl and form a dough ball when I mixing it. I wonder if you have to add the hydration of the sponge together with the hydration of the final dough to average the total hydration.  Like I said before, if I don't mix it at the highest speed, it will never form a dough ball. Sometimes I mixed he dough for about 20 minutes or a little more.   Anyway, if anybody can help me out, I'll be very grateful. Thank you in advance!


Norman.

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Can't help with the kitchen aid questions, but if you are shooting for 70% hydration with a 100% hydration preferment you need to account for the total flour as 100% and the total water(liquid) as .7 times that total.


For example, say flour is 100 grams in preferment plus 400 grams added to make final dough. Then water in preferment is 100 grams and total water for 70% is (100 + 400) * .7 = 350 grams and since 100 is already in  preferment then 250 is needed to add to final dough.


(500 * .7) - 100 = 250.


If you are not doing this then your hydration will be much higher depending on how much of the flour is prefermented.


wayne

Norman's picture
Norman

Wayne.  I see your point, I'll keep that in mind when I do the calculations. 


Norman.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Are you mixing with the paddle or the dough hook?  If I understand your dilema, you're using the dough hook with your KA mixer on #2 on the speed control and you can't convince the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl while it still clings, slightly, to the bottom.  If that's what's happening I wonder if you're kneading long enough.


Using high speeds will burn out your motor in short order.  When the control head gets hot you also run the risk of overheating the edible lubricants inside the housing.  That can lead to lubricant leakage which, while it is easily cleaned up, eventually leaves your mixer's mechanism unlubricated and subject to failure.


If you received an instruction booklet with your mixer it might be a good idea to review it.  If you don't have a manual, you can download a pdf version for your machine here:


http://shared.whirlpoolcorp.com/product_literature/search_results.jsp?searchTerm=K45&siteCd=KAD&userType=Consumer

Norman's picture
Norman

I use the hook from the beginning. On hydration's of 65% or more, it seems that at speed #2 will not be able to form the ball. Maybe, I had a much higher hydration than that. But, I had mixed the dough for over 20 minutes and finally at high speed it will pull away from the bowl.  I guess if I use a high hydration dough, I'll have to finish knead it by hand.  Thank you for responding.


Norman.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2984/jasons-quick-coccodrillo-ciabatta-bread


There are lots of both success stories and horror stories rampant on TFL about KA mixers. The referenced post precribes "beating the hell" out of the dough for as much as 30 minutes! It also claims it "won't hurt your KA mixer". Additionally, I've made brioche dough using intensive mixing for up to twenty minutes with my 20 year old KA. The motor case gets hot--uncomfortable to my hand--but I've not had a failure. Nonetheless, I understand the newer models have plastic or nylon gear trains, and are subject to failure under similar use.


If you know (and trust) the age and condition of your mixer, you can probably risk the longer runs.


I would suggest, however, that 65% to 68% hydration doughs behave considerably differently than 72% to 75% doughs. The lower hydrations (65-68 range) tend to develop strength quickly. I mix these hydrations by hand, and use Stretch and Fold to develop their strengh. I rely on the mixer--starting slow, finishing fast--to develop doughs in the higher range (72 and upward). Some bakers also use a "dual hydration" approach for high hydration doughs (Use the search engine to learn more).Furthermore, these rules-of-thumb apply only to predominately wheat flour doughs. Rye, Whole-wheat, and multi-grain doughs each have their own behaviors relative to hydration percent and dough strength development; sweet doughs and high fat-laden doughs are yet other worlds.


As to final hydration you can't just add the hydrations and average them; as Wayne described you must take the weights of all the flour (preferment(s) +soaker(s) + final dough) and the weight of all the water (preferment(s) + soaker(s) + final dough) to correctly calculate the dough's final hydration.


 


 

Norman's picture
Norman

The mixer I think it may be a 10 year old mixer.  I use it mostly doing dough for bread or pizza.  I do notice the mixer gets hot when I mixing the dough for long time and at high speed. But to get the dough smooth and to get the window, I have to knead the dough for a good while.  I'll try do it at speed#2, and I'll check my hydration to make sure that is right. But I doubt that I can finish the mixing in the mixer at speed#2. Thank you for all the responses.


Norman.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Norman, I'm not certain what you're looking for when you use the word "ball" with respect to the results of processing your dough.  The dough should come together but, depending on the style of dough hook and level of hydration, it doesn't always form a nicely shaped "ball".  It will pull away from the sides of the bowl but it often clings somewhat to the dough hook.  When I make pizza dough in my KA mixer (I use a fairly highly hydrated formula) it never truly forms a ball and the window pane is weak in the beginning but strengthens as the dough rests (usually overnight) in the refrigerator.

Norman's picture
Norman

I did not express my self correctly.  What I meant, is to pull away from the side of the bowl and stick around the hook. When you do your dough, do you mix it for a long time? I'm learning all this and I know I don't have the knowledge yet to be sure that I'm doing the things right.  Thank you for all the help.


Norman.

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

Norman,


I too have a Kitchen Aid mixer and make lots of different breads of different hydrations. 


First, I got my mixer with a "C-shaped" dough hook, but last year invested in the newer "Spiral" hook which is what I use exclusively now.  Both work, but the spiral keeps the dough working a bit better.  I mix exclusively with the dough hook.  When I started making breads I often started with the paddle then switched to the hook, but I've become lazy and learned that starting with the paddle really doesn't make any difference in the bread.


Second, for the vast majority of my breads (55% hydration through 70% hydration) I start mixing on the lowest speed.  As the dough comes together I increase the speed to the next level (second lowest speed).  This speed ("speed 2") is what I usually use.


For very high hydration breads I will turn the mixer to a much higher speed.  For example I make a Cibatta that is 83% hydration.  For this dough I start on low speed and as the dough comes together a bit I increase the speed to medium (about 6 on my KA speed scale).  I have learned with my Ciabatta that if I can get the dough to clear the sides of the bowl while still sticking just a bit on the bottom under the dough hook, that's the perfect texture I'm looking for.  If it's clearing the bottom, I need to add a bit more water.


Speed 6 is the HIGHEST I mix my doughs at, and it's a rare loaf indeed.  The vast majority are mixed on the lowest or 2nd lowest speed.


As to burning out the motor ... I've found that with my KA mixer it tends to heat up when I'm running it fast, or when I'm mixing a stiffer dough.  The other factor that influences this is the amount (mass) of dough I'm mixing.  My mixer rarely gets hot or balks in mixing a single loaf (1-1.5 lbs of dough), but often heats up and struggles when I mix enough dough for 2 standard loaves of a 60% hydration wheat bread.  I've been making at least 2 loaves a week (and lots of that wheat bread) for the past 5-10 years and about 3 months ago I did strip the gear in the mixer.  I was able to replace the gear myself for a total cost of about $10.  Moral of the story, if you use and abuse your KA mixer you can burn out the motor or strip the gears, however you kind of have to work at it and your mixer will probably stand up to more abuse than you think. 


Final point, if you're making a 100% hydration preferment and you're looking for a 70% hydration final dough, make sure you include the water (and the flour) in the preferment in your calculations for the final dough.  If you add some portion of a 100% preferment to a combination of dough that has 400g flour and 280g water (a 70% mixture), the overall hydration will be more than 70% because the preferment was at 100%.  I'm sure you're already doing this, but I thought I'd point it out.


- Greg

Norman's picture
Norman

Greg for all the info.  I'll do what you said, my machine gets up to speed#10.  I'll make sure if it gets too hot, I'll stop and let it cool off a bit. I to understand better about the hydration now.  With the help of people here I think I got the understanding about hydration of the dough.  Thank you again for the input.


Norman.

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

I have the same mixer as you, however, I always mix the dough with the paddle and knead the dough with the dough hook. It is very simple and easy to do. The dough hook really does not mix the ingredients like the paddle and you also are not supposed to go over speed 2 when kneading. I have not had any problem with this approach and it certainly saves "beating it to death".


Hope this helps, Jean P. (VA)

Norman's picture
Norman

I see a lot of people starting to mix the ingredients with the paddle and then switching to the hook to knead the dough. I'm going to start doing that.  So far the breads that I've cooked came out good, but I don't get big holes inside, even though the hydration of the dough is about 70%.  I guess it may be when I shaping the bread, but I'm very gentle when I do it.  I cooked my last bread in a dutch oven and it came out very nice, just the holes in the bread were not to big.  I'll see how I do in the next one.  Thanks again for all the helpful responses.


Norman.

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Norman, Another thing you might want to try is, as many on this site have said before, get one recipe and perfect it, then you may be able to figure out some answers to questions that arise.


I'd like to suggest if you haven't already tried it, a very good recipe for sourdough bread from TFL. It is called Basic White Sourdough and it is wonderful in my opinion, especially as sort of a beginning bread. I've made it many times and it always turns out excellent. It does say it makes 4 loaves or 2, I find that 3 actually suits me much better. I don't use a stone, just spray the inside of the oven (careful of the light and door glass) a few times in the beginning and the crust is always a good color, crusty and the inside is so tasty!


If you made the same thing a few times, (maybe that's what you are already doing) then you could experiment to get the holes. My starter is one from Peter Reinharts older method. (not the juice one)


Keep up the good work and let us know if you were able to solve your problems with all the suggestions you generated.


Regards, Jean P. (VA)

Norman's picture
Norman

First of all, is so nice to see how many people have responded and helped me. I'm really grateful for all the input, I'll be baking and trying until I'll get it right. Also, I'll comment in all my baking and I'll put pictures of the good ones, not so good ones and anything in between.  I really enjoy this site and I have seen that the vast majority are incredible bakers. Thank you to all of you and I wish you all  a great 2011.


Norman.