The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bosch Universal not kneading well

DanS7's picture
DanS7

Bosch Universal not kneading well

Just recently got my Universal after breaking gears on two KitchenAide's.  I typically make about 3 loaves.  Problem I have is that the dough spends most of its time just spinning around the bowl, not getting kneaded at all.  It seems the bowl side is too slippery and so the dough would rather slide on the plastic bowl than stick to it and get kneaded by the blade.  I've tried strating dry and adding water, and going the other way as well.  Same result.  I use about 1/4 cup of oil for the three loaves (about 8 cups of flour, 50/50 white and WW).  Any tricks I'm missing?  Do I need to take sandpaper and rough up the inside of the bowl?  I never had this problem with the KA and its spiral dough hook.  Thanks

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

That can happen with the Bosch depending on the hydration level and some other factors.  Typically I add the flour to the bowl, salt, yeast, then any liquids.

I wouldn't use sandpaper to scuff up the bowl.

Jean6's picture
Jean6

I have been using my Bosch Universal for about three years now. The bread I make most often uses about the same quantity of flour you state and starts with a poolish of sorts. Since I use home ground whole wheat flour, I soak it overnight in the full amount of liquid the recipe calls for. I put the poolish and the other liquids (oil, honey, etc.) into the workbowl and run it on the first speed for about 30 seconds. Then I pour the entire amount of dry ingredients on top, put on the cover and turn it to speed 1 until it is starting to mix. After a couple of minutes, I up the speed to 2 and let it go for 10 minutes. Sometimes I have noticed that it seems to not be mixing well at first, but if I just let it go and walk away for a couple of minutes; it starts to come together nicely.

One time, I did not lock the gear shaft onto the bottom of the bowl and it did not knead properly. So make sure the gear shaft is locked in place.

You described the problem as "the dough would rather slide on the plastic bowl than stick to it."  The dough is not supposed to "stick to the bowl." If you go read the instruction book, you will find that the dough is supposed to "clean the side of the bowl." If it is sticking, then it is not being kneaded properly.

Have you tried letting it process for 10 minutes to see what it is like after that?

denisebyers's picture
denisebyers

I brought a bosch mixer a little over a year ago, and I have the same problem.  It doesn't knead properly, and I am really not satisfied with this mixer at all.  I wish I had chosen the kitchen aid instead.  No matter how much flour I put in, the dough just sticks to the sides and bottom.  It seems as though the dough hook does not do anything at all, but spin around and around.  Also, water and dough get through the opening where the dough hook is placed, and there is always water after I finish at the bottom of the shaft.  This is the worst bread mixer in my opinion.  I wish I could somehow bring this back.  With the amount of money I paid, I could of bought a kitchen aid, and still had money left over from what I spent on this bosch mixer that doesn't work properly.  It only mixes, it doesn't work for kneading.  

teancum144's picture
teancum144

Denise, I have both a Bosch Universal Mixer and a Kitchen Aid mixer. When it comes to Kneading dough, although not perfect, the Bosch is superior to the Kitchen Aid. The Bosch has way more power (and a superior dough hook) than the Kitchen Aid. There are two stages of dough making: 1) mixing, and 2) kneading. It sounds like your using the dough hook for mixing. In the early stages of mixing the ingredients you should use the whisk attachment (not the dough hook). Personally, I do the mixing by hand with a whisk or spoon. When the dough gets too thick for the whisk attachement (or hand mixing), then you use the dough hook. Here is an excellent video to help you unserstand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7pqyKNLTVI

Respectfully, your complaint sounds like operator error (not the Bosch's fault). 

denisebyers's picture
denisebyers

Thanks for the information.  I have watched you tube videos, but I haven't seen one yet that used the whisk attachment, then the dough hook.  I was just using the dough hook.  I will take a look at the video, and try using this method this week when I make bread again.   On the water getting into the shaft, I had problems with dough getting in there as well, and I called Bosch up (the number in back of the manual), and they sent me a little piece of plastic called a tadpole to help this problem.   They told me alot of people have this problem, and that's why they have this tadpole to help with this.  And it does help.  As with the water getting in there, all I can think of is when the yeast rises.  There is NO other way I can improperly use this simple mixer, as stated by someone else.    Thank you for being respectful, tactful,  and kind.  

dwfender's picture
dwfender

I hate to say it but that video makes me never want to by a Bosch mixer. It looks shoddy, inefficient and too much work. 

johnr55's picture
johnr55

No reason to hate to say it.  We all have our own preferences and opinions.  Unfortunately, you didn't state what isn't "shoddy, inefficient and too much work."  Are you hand kneading, or what?

dwfender's picture
dwfender

I have a kitchen aid pro (i think) 5 qt model with the little stock pirate hook. I only use it to need doughs that are between 65 and 70% hydration. I feel like anything with more water doesn't work well and anything with less causes the motor to work too hard. 

Because I dont have any other unit, if I'm outside the realm of those numbers, than yeah, I hand knead. It takes a little more effort, generally around the same time, less clean up and more consistent results. 

I was on this page researching mixers because I haven't been able to find what isn't shoddy, efficient and not too much work. The spiral dough hook for the kitchenaid 6 qts and above work surprisingly well. So far they knead better than anything I have been able to work with but I'm still not impressed with the KA motors. They burn out too easily, especially under the strain of a spiral hook. I've heard the new KA commercial model has some upgraded hardware and is supposed to be pretty substantial, but also racks in around 650 bucks. Thats a lot of bread to bake to earn back those savings. At nearly a dollar a loaf savings doing it at home, you can do the math. Not too mention the return on investment versus doing by hand. Thats the business guy in me I guess. 

If I have patience and the time to hang around for a several hours, nothing seems to replace stretch and fold. The crumb is phenominal, the work is minimal and the gluten development is great. Still looking for a good mixer...

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

It's funny, I started baking bread with a Kitchenaid Artisan 8 years ago, graduated to the KA Pro 600 2 years ago, and replaced it with a Bosch 1 year ago.  I made the recipe you posted last night in my Bosch.  The lower hydration recipe just spun around the bowl in one big clump.  Knowing how to use the mixer allowed me to finesse it and mix it properly.

The handy man blames the tools rather than himself.  I think this saying can be universally applied with any profession/hobby.

dwfender's picture
dwfender

what technique did you use to get it to knead properly? 

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

Adjust hydration slightly, adjust speed slightly for a few seconds.

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

I have to agree that the video isn't very complementary. The part that gets me (other than dry ingredients flying through the air) is the machine getting ready to take off from the countertop once it's up to kneading speed. The cameraman has to help steady it. And yet, despite all that, the end product is good.

It looks to me like the Bosch being used is two models older (at least) than the current model. The Universal Plus has never walked off my countertop, dry ingredients seldom go airborne, and I've never had to use the whisks to incorporate anything while making bread. This actually looks like a bit of methodology from the school of KitchenAid cooking (flat beater until the dough hook is needed). If some folks like this method, however, there is no harm in it (unless one overtaxes the whisks.)

I do hope you have had more success since first posting. Please let us know! 

johnr55's picture
johnr55

When I read this posting it was obvious the owner doesn't know how to operate the machine.  In 30+ years of using Bosch I've never had an occasion where water somehow went down the dough shaft.  Also, though it "seems as though the dough hook does not do anything at all", it is indeed working, and with each fourth pass that is counted as a complete hand knead motion.  We could say the same thing about spiral mixers-they just don't seem to do anything but twist around and around.  The mistake in this thinking is in assuming that kneading has to mimic human motion, which it doesn't.  Unless this poster is determined to go Chinese with KA, she should go to YouTube; there are many excellent bread making Bosch videos on there.

johnr55's picture
johnr55

The bowl on the Universal is Makrolon, a miracle of space age plastic.  I can tell you now it's more expensive than the crappy KA stainless steel Chinese bowl you had before.  I've been baking bread kneaded in a Bosch in Makrolon since the 70's, so I know the bowls well.  I also have the stainless steel dough bowl and the stainless steel substitute bowl with the shaft.  You need to go to YouTube and watch how to make dough in your Universal.  It ain't supposed to stick to the side of the bowl; in fact, it releasing from the side of the bowl is the cue that the bread mixture is ready to knead.  Don't confuse the Bosch kneading action with the KA action; they're very different.  I will say that thirty years ago when I last did KA bread with the hook, though, I used the same indication of the proper mixture--when the dough released off the side of the bowl  Don't sand your bowl, that'd be stupid.  My oldest Makrolon bowl is over 30 years old and still works perfectly. 

DanS7's picture
DanS7

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  What I was trying to convey with "doesn't stick" is based on the idea that there has to be some friction between the bowl and the dough or there is no way for the dough hook to knead the dough.  Imagine what happens if you have your nicely kneading dough and pour in some oil; it just spins around without being worked.  So, I understand that it needs to "clean" the bowl rather than smear all over it.  My basic problem is that of the 10 minutes that I knead it for, most of the time the dough ball just spins around stuck to the dough hook, without actually beaing kneaded, i.e. stretched and folded.  I will try looking at some YouTube videos as you suggest.

teancum144's picture
teancum144

I have the Universal Mixer Classic and the stock kneading hook is made partly of stainless steel and partly of aluminum. The aluminum part has started to tarnish so that it is coated with a gray powder that comes off easily. I try to scrub it off, but it continues to tarnish. Others have had this problem also:

http://www.fixya.com/support/t372003-bosch_aluminum_dough_hook_black_coating

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/26430/bosch-universal-grease-thingie

I don't want aluminum in my bread. So, I'm trying to find an all stainless steel dough hook for my Bosch. I don't want to spend the money on a whole new mixer. I found the following stainless steel dough hook, but I can't tell if it will fit my model:

http://www.cooksquarters.com/bosch-concept-us-dough-hook-stainless-steel.htm

I see that you recommend the stainless steel dough bowl, but I can't seem to find that part. 

What do you recommend? Links are much appreciated. 

johnr55's picture
johnr55

I went to the 'fixya' link.  The person who is having trouble with their dough hook didn't bother to read their owner's manual, where it is stated that the dough hook and the aluminum holder for the whisks should not be washed in the dishwasher.  My oldest Bosch dough hook was manufactured in 1977 or 1978 and, like my two others, has never flaked, never put off any funny gray stuff.  The newbie who's doing the breadtopia site is talking about the Bosch dough glides.  They're little nylon inserts that fit between the dough hook and the center post.  They cost $1 each at PHG and are reusable tons of times.  Your problem will be losing them, not wearing them out! 

I have had my Universal dough bowl for around 7-8 years.  They are still available.  I know Pleasant Hill Grain sells it.  I'm looking at mine now and I think the dough hook is stainless, not aluminum.  Frankly, I've never given it any thought.  I'm sure PHG could tell you whether the hook is stainless or not.  It's a really neat bowl for kneading because there's no center post to clean, and it has that scraper that sweeps around the sides.  The only limitation is that it's just for kneading, or I'll use it at times to mix a huge bunch of cookie dough for church functions.  Also, the hook that's in the bottom of the bowl comes detached very easily for cleaning.  I love mine, but it ain't cheap.  I can't state whether it does a better kneading job than the regular dough hook because I don't do weird bread doughs.  Certainly for the routine w.w. and white and Anadama bread that we love at my house, dozens if not thousands of loaves over the past 30+ years have proven it for us.  If you look at a Bosch UM-3 owner's manual from the 70's you'll see that this bowl with the hook in the bottom was considered the 'deluxe' model with a separate whisk bowl, quite different from the Makrolon setup that I bought.

I have no idea whether the Concept hook would work.  For my money, I'd pay more and get the s.s. dough bowl than buy a defunct mixer's parts.  Just my two cents, though.  But DON'T put the aluminum parts in the dishwasher; they will absolutely react to the chemicals in the detergent.  Remember, that Cascade stuff is just shy of being Drano!

teancum144's picture
teancum144

Here is some related information from L'Equip's FAQ #3:

The oxidation of the ‘hub’ of the Dough Hook is what causes the discoloration. As the hook spins thousands of times while in contact with the Spur Gear (the top of the Center Column) the oxidation combines with moisture/water/oil to create what you see. 
A good answer to this problem is to use a ‘Dough Hook Glide’. This is a little circle of plastic that sits atop the Center Column and prevents the Dough Hook from touching the column. 
We also recommend that the dough hook be hand washed, avoiding the caustic detergents used in most dishwashers.

Source: http://www.lequip.com/product.php?prod_id=9&title=BOSCH%20Universal%20Plus#FAQ

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

In my (very) humble opinion, the dough hook glide is an essential for any Universal owner. We were not only getting grey oxidation, but black powder coming down from the dough hook hub, and the glide completely stopped that. (I think Bosch/L'Equip ought to include a few of them with every new mixer sold.) BTW, they were fantastic about taking care of the problem -- above and beyond the call of duty. What folks say about great customer service is true.

jhadfield's picture
jhadfield

Hand knead