The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hand mixer

codruta's picture
codruta

hand mixer

Please don't laugh. What you see in the picture is my hand mixer (I feel like I'm showing you an old model of motorola, when all of you have iPhones).

In his book, hamelman explains how a stand mixer should be used, comparative with spiral, planetary or oblique mixers. But he doesn't even mention hand mixers, so I guess that is for diletantti and amateurs? Can I have good result with this one, does the time of mixing must be increased, and if yes, how much? Is mixing by hand better then mixing with hand mixer?

I usualy mix the dough with this mixer, but I'm always uncertain "did I mixed too much?, or the contrary, did I mixed enough?"

 

Do you have some advises, beside the obvious "buy yourself a KA"?

thanx, codruta

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I would think the motor in that hand-held would not be long for this world, unless you are making incredibly small batches of dough...

tuneighty's picture
tuneighty

I could see that being better than a stand mixer in some instances. Like the whole cumbersome factor. Its gonna be EASY to whip that out and clean up !  I am still quite the novice but I think a real slack dough would be fine.  Nothing left to do but Try, try, try ...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mine is only a half step up as it came with a stand so that it can be mounted or dismounted. (Look mom, no hands!)  I have no fancy smancy mixers and am too frugal to buy one until my old one dies.   One - no place to stand a big one.  I think the big ones look ugly and take up too much counter space!  Second, anytime my dough is too thick or firm for the hooks of my hand mixer, I can't wait to dig into it with my fingers.  (I'm beginning to get attached to its weeknesses.)  I even have poolish recipes pasted on my mixer with equal weights of flour and water and a recipe that has 80% -- 400g water & 500g flour (50g is rye) and I haven't managed to kill the little beast yet! :)  I do recommend it for high hydration wheat doughs.  I also use the hooks for cookies and other stuff and it worked just fine for all the baking when we were testing Stan & Norm's cookbook recipes.  I do know others who have killed mixers with one batch of dough.  I don't think there is too much danger of over-mixing because when the motor sounds like it is over worked and smoking, you will stop and hand mix.  If you want to preserve your mixer, use it in the beginning when everything is sloshy and work the last half of the flour in with a spatula or if your health requires that you use a mixer, then it's time to get a heavy duty one.  Me?  I must be too lazy to hold a hand mixer for any length of time.  I autolyse my dough; just let it sit there after all the flour is wet for about 30 minutes or so.  Works wonders!  

Mini

copyu's picture
copyu

Mine is called a "Hand-Stand Mixer" in 'Japanese-English' but it hasn't done any 'circus acts' yet...It hops around a bit when the flour protein goes over 13.5%, though. It's got the "Electrolux" label on it, so it must be really good, eh?

I've only had mine since Christmas 2010 and it handles any bread doughs OK...I never mix more than 500g bread flour at a time and I never crank it up past the 2nd speed and I never let it run more than about 5-6 minutes. (It has an 'active duty cycle' of about 10 minutes.) It gets warm, but not hot. It has dough hooks, which sort-of 'hints' that it's more than just a 'cake-mixer'. I'm happy as can be, so far! A nice feature is that it has 2 motors...a 6-speed motor for the beaters/dough-hooks and a 2-speed motor for the bowl...I don't play with those controls much, because it does the job very well for home-baking at the lowest settings.

One day, maybe I'll give it a try at whipped cream and really have some high-speed fun!

Best wishes, as always,

copyu 

 

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

than for the bread, codruta.  None of the hand mixers I have owned (which looked a lot like yours) were strong enough to withstand the rigors of mixing bread dough.  That is probably why you don't see them mentioned in any of the bread books.  Also remember that the authors are usually translating what they have learned in a commercial bakery to the home kitchen.  In most bakeries, a KitchenAide would be the "small" mixer used for fillings, glazes, etc.  I've never understood why manufacturers would even include dough hooks for light-duty machines like hand mixers.  Unless, of course, they want you to destroy it and buy another!  ;-)

Unless your mixer is different than others in that category, you will probably find that it does not develop the dough as you would prefer.  You might even damage or destroy the mixer. 

You are in Europe, right?  If so, it may be easier for you to find a mixer built by Electrolux or Bosch that has the strength required to mix the dough thoroughly than to find a KitchenAide.  And you might get a sturdier machine, too.  If such a purchase doesn't fit your household budget, and if you don't have physical limitations (such as arthritis) that interfere with your ability to handle the dough, then you may wish to mix and knead by hand.  Most of the breads that you will want to make will turn out just as well, perhaps better, with manual mixing and kneading as they will with mechanical mixing.  You can also use the autolyze method to greatly reduce the need for mixing.

It is very unlikely that mixing by hand or by hand mixer will work the dough too much.  A larger stand mixer might but you would have to leave it running for a long, long time. 

I would recommend that you reserve your hand mixer for cake batters, whipped cream, meringue, or other substances that don't strain it.  If you do want to mix or knead doughs mechanically, look for machines that were designed for that kind of use.

Paul

copyu's picture
copyu

I sent you a PM

Best,

copyu

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Interesting configuration. And it clearly won't handle stiff doughs very well (though with those beaters, small batches might work better than one would expect). I agree that you should be able to mix a high hydration (75% and up) dough well enough that you could then rely on stretch and fold operations to develop the gluten adequately. For a stiffer dough, you can mix in enough flour to treat it like a high hydration dough, mix that much with the hand mixer, then continue mixing/kneading by hand to incorporate the remaining flour.

Syd's picture
Syd

I have one exactly like yours, Codruta, but I have never used it for making doughs.  I use it for cakes only.  I don't think the motor will last.  I tried it once on a high hydration (what I refer to as a batter bread) 85% dough and even then it struggled and started to slow down.  It is definitely not ideal for stiff doughs. It is not a question of whether it will break, but rather just a question of when it will break. 

I think stand mixers can be very handy and if I had the space in my tiny little kitchen, I might consider buying one, but I don't, and I get by fine without one.  There isn't a bread I have made that absolutely demands to be mixed by a stand mixer.  Just about everything can be made by hand (even Jason's Quick Cocrodilla Ciabatta)!

Best,

Syd

codruta's picture
codruta

thank you all for taking the time and patience to answer. My concern was not for the mixer, it is quite reliable, I've being usin it for more than a year, and it hasn't broke, yet. My concern was if I can have a good gluten developement, using this type of mixer, and your answers helped. I have to ask one more thing: the spirals must be facing one another, or must be parallel (like they are in the picture)? this detail is important, or not?

I used this mixer when I made these breads, posted on my TFL blog, but sometimes, I have the feeling that the manual kneading has better results.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I don't have an answer to the correct way to position the hooks, other than to say, if it mattered to the manufacturer, they are then usually 'keyed' to only go in that way. I'm sure you could find the manual for it online if you have lost yours.

As to the second question, I'd say anything that reduces manual labor is good, so in saying that, I'd use the machine to a certain point, then dig in with my hands to knead the rest of the way. I rely heavily on the feel for whatever dough I'm working with, so just 'mix x amount of minutes' wouldn't work for me anyways. Judging by the looks of that hand mixer, it would probably be really hard to over-work any bread dough with it.

- Keith

Syd's picture
Syd

Generally speaking, on hand mixers like these the dough hooks can only be in one position.  They are not interchangeable and should look different.  Compare these two hooks.  Note the one on the right has a rim about an inch up the base where it attaches to the mixer.  This hook will only fit in the hole that is slightly recessed.  This is to prevent them from being incorrectly attached and the dough crawling up into the works. 

Quite frankly, unless you have a really powerful motor, these kinds of mixers are not suitable for most doughs and I think you will be much better off hand kneading.

Syd

MyBirdJoey's picture
MyBirdJoey

Dear Hand mixer -  I just bought Hamelmans book and had the same question as you did. I have both a regular KitchenAid (really old with a C hook) and a Kitchen Aid 9 speed portable mixer with dough hooks just like on your machine. I have used the portable to make sourdough bread for maybe the last 12 months. For me, it handles sourdough recipes with 12-16 ounces of flour really well. I think much better the full-size Kitchen-aid. The dough after kneading seems to be more like hand kneaded dough and the oven spring is greater for me with the portable than with the full size mixer. The holes are better, too. I mix on Speed 2 (of 9) and knead on Speed 4. My reasoning is that on Speed 1 I can mix chocolate chips into a cookie recipe using the portable with no breakage of the chips, while Speed 2 breaks them somewhat. On the full-sized Kitchen Aid, Speed 1 (of 10) breaks the chocolate chips when you add them to the recipe. So I figure  that the portable at any speed is half that of the full size stand mixer (?). After reading Chapter 2 of Hamelman's book I think I'll try Speed 3 of the portable to knead and see if that helps or hinders.

Hope this helps. All the best.