The Fresh Loaf

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How long to mix with a stand mixer?

Boulanger D'anvers's picture
Boulanger D'anvers

How long to mix with a stand mixer?

Hi all,

I have recently bought a Kenwood stand mixer, not just for mixing my bread doughs but also for other kitchen tasks. I am quite chuffed with my purchase but I am having some trouble with the timing of the mixing of bread doughs and am looking for some advice.

For my last three bakes I have used the stand mixer but the final breads have not turned out well. Last night I made some mini boules but the crumb has turned out quite dense with little air bubbles. Now I am not seeking large holes in these rolls but these were so tiny and dense that I wouldn't call them succesfull. The taste was quite alright but the overall feel when eating them wasn't what I was expecting.

The instructions that came with the machine state not to mix above setting 1, which is a moderate speed. As I have hand kneaded my doughs and have used stretch-and-folds I am having some trouble with the timing. I have tried to go by the generic instructions from Peter Reinhart's BBA of machine kneading for about 6 minutes but at 6 minutes the dough's consistancy doesn't seem right. Now I know that a dense crumb can be the result of a lot of things but can anyone please advise whether underkneading is one of them?

This morning I have put together a quick dough and initially mixed for 5 minutes and let it rest for a couple of minutes. The dough definitely hadn't come together yet, so I mixed for another 5 minutes. I repeated a couple of times and ended up with a total mix time of about 25 minutes. This seems extremely long compared to the times mentioned in the BBA. The only comparison I have when it comes to mixing times is an old bread baking machine I have used in the past. The machine would initially mix for 20-25 minutes depending on the weight of the dough. As the dough paddle in the BBM doesn't compare to the dough hook in my stand mixer I am unsure how to the mixing times compare.

To make a long story short I am looking for anyone who could give some advise or guideline on mixing time. Any input is much appreciated.

Thanks,

Peter

Onceuponamac's picture
Onceuponamac

I use the same method as dhass. I use a spiral mixer and depending on the dough also mix for about 5 minutes, until i get good dough cohesion and it balls around the dough hook and begins to climb it.  When i make brioche or other higher hydration doughs, I mix longer and typically use the double hydration method because otherwise, my mixer doesn't seem to be able to get the dough to a similar cohesion level.

jcking's picture
jcking

I use my mixer, Cuisinart, to develope the dough to about 80% and finish with some hand kneading followed by stretch & fold. Try using the paddle for one to two minutes to bring the dough together. Let the dough rest, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes (autolyse) then using the hook mix 3 to 4 mins on speed 3 or 4. Remove dough from bowl and finish by hand. The wetter doughs need a minute or two more in the mixer.

Hope this helps,

Jim

Chuck's picture
Chuck

It's much much easier with a mixer than by hand to fully (or maybe even over) develop the gluten, which usually results in a very tight crumb. For lean breads with really big holes, by using an autolyse and several stretch&folds you can eliminate kneading (and mixing:-) altogether. From what I can see, folks that produce the very largest holes often don't even fully develop the gluten, i.e.their finished dough probably wouldn't pass the semi-sacred "windowpane" test. As I remember it, dmsnyder expressed this as something like "develop but don't organize the gluten"; that's something mixers aren't especially good at. If you want to continue to use the mixer but get large holes, some things to try are:

  • lower gluten flour
  • steveb's "double flour addition" technique
  • keep cutting back the mixer kneading time (i.e. use it to "mix" but not to "knead" much)
dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Peter.

I have never used your mixer, but, regardless of the mixing method, I would encourage you to use the condition of the dough, rather than the duration of the mix, to judge when mixing has been adequate.

One cannot generalize about the precise length of mixing, because this is going to depend on the ingredients used, including the type of flour, and the hydration level of the dough.

David

flournwater's picture
flournwater

dmsnyder's suggestion is, as usual (IMO), sound advice.  There are too many variables in the development of a bread formula to focus on one element in the process.  I might only add that some types of bread are better following a delayed fermentation.  Next batch of dough, process half of it as your normally do and let the other half rest a day or two in the refrigerator.   Perhaps with a stretch and fold sequence or two during that time.  You'll have a better idea if that can help after an experiment like that.

Boulanger D'anvers's picture
Boulanger D'anvers

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your input. I have tried to go by the condition of the dough but at 20+ minutes it didn't feel like it was properly developed yet. I will try the 4-5 minute machine mix/knead and continue with stretch and folds. I have done stretch and folds before and it usually worked just fine for the types of bread I tried to make.

It still leaves me somewhat disappointed with the results of a stand mixer. Though it shouldn't be a complete surprise that a machine doesn't give the same result as hand kneading. I guess I should use it as an addition to my current bread baking process rather than a replacement.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I can't agree that a stand mixer "doesn't give the same result as hand kneading."  My stand mixer (KA) kneads dough perfectly.  Better, IMO, than I usually do when I knead by hand.  Without a wide range of exprience with different types/styles of stand mixers I can't speak to how the differences in design affect the kneading process but I am sure that, with some experiementation, you'll find a method that works quite well with your machine and it's accessories.

Boulanger D'anvers's picture
Boulanger D'anvers

I guess it was a bit of a bold claim saying that a stand mixer doesn't give the same result. I still find though that mine doesn't yet seem to replace the hand knead and stretch and folds I used to do.

Yesterday, though, I did a machine mix for about 4-5 minutes followed by 2 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals. I tried a third stretch and fold but the dough wouldn't give much figuring it was already well developed. To my surprise I fould that my dough's behavior during ferment was much more like or even better than I am used to. I shaped the dough into rolls (pictures will follow) and baked for about 25 minutes. The result was very nice and I am happy with both the crust and crumb.

Thanks again for your input, everyone.

 

Update: Photo's

flournwater's picture
flournwater

With that result I probably wouldn't change a thing.  Nice looking bread.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I have tried using the dough blade of the Magimix food processor to knead my dough but ended up having most of the dough stuck to the bowl and parts of it overflowing into the spindle of machine body.  I only had about 100 grms of flour in the mixing bowl to test the function of the dough blade and it created a huge mess.  It took me a long time to wash the sticky dough off the bowl and  crevices of the blade chamber.  Since then,  I too have been  seriously thinking of getting a Kenwood stand mixer in the hope that it would help to improve the condition of my dough (I can't seem to be able to get my dough to the perfect  windowpane effect)  but after reading this post, I think I shall put this idea on hold for a little longer and continue to knead by hand with a little help from the bread machine when adding the butter.  I've never worked with a stand mixer before and I'm a little worried that it will be another piece of  expesive kitchen equipment that will be sitting unused on my counter top. 

Judy