The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poor gluten development with KitchenAid mixer

badmajon's picture

Poor gluten development with KitchenAid mixer

Hi, I have the KitchenAid artisan, it's a small home kitchen sized stand mixer. I usually knead by hand with stretch and fold, but I would like to start using this machine to save time.

I have tried to use it several times with the dough hook, but it just doesn't seem to mix right (I was making a 70% hydration lean french dough each time). I do not get gluten development, it looks like what I'd have with 1-2 minutes of hand kneading even after 3,5,10 minutes. It's just not doing the trick, and I'm totally clueless as to what I am doing wrong. I'm mixing it on the slowest speed.

When I watch it, it's almost like the top of the dough ball is just turning around and the bottom is stuck, I don't see much stretching or pulling in the mixing action.

dabrownman's picture

When I use the KA for one loaf of bread at 800 g or so, I usually hook it at 2 minutes on 2.  Scape it down and do another 4 minutes on 3.  Then rest about 10 minutes and still do half the S&F's I normally would in half the time because the KA is not so good at making bread and developing gluten so no decent holes.

BettyR's picture

I have a 15 year old KitchenAid mixer that I couldn't live without but I have never had any luck kneading bread in it. I used to knead my dough by hand also but as I got older my elbows began giving me trouble. I now use a large bread machine that has two paddles and I only use the dough cycle. It kneads and rises my dough then I take it out of the machine and shape it, rise it again and bake it. It works great and saves me a lot of time and wear and tear on my old joints.

cranbo's picture

I think it works OK. 

I use a KA Artisan to knead low and hi hydration successfully, with good gluten development.

Some tips:

  • Don't overload the mixer. With any more than about 1kg of dough, the dough may climb the hook and not knead well.
  • Use higher speed settings. For smooth sofy silky dough texture, you need to run it at speed #4 (3rd "click") for 10+ minutes, especially if you don't autolyse. If you do autolyse, time can be somewhat reduced. 

You may want to read txfarmer's posts about windowpane. Once I read that and ran my own tests, I learned that if you want good gluten development in a KA, you need to run it at fairly high speed for a much longer time that you'd expect. 

Doc.Dough's picture

For a 75% hydration ciabatta in the small (4.5 qt) KA my standard batch was 1400g mixed at speed #4 for 5 min 15 sec (this will vary depending on your flour - I was using high gluten).

With the hook there isn't enough dough contact to create the shear you need.  A larger batch size helps a little but their guidance to not exceed 5 min on speed #2 with the hook is nonsense.  And the little mixer can handle the heat better than the 600 does.  Higher speed also means more efficient motor operation and better cooling because the fan moves air in proportion to the square of the shaft speed.

The paddle gets involved with the dough better and at high hydration levels the dough is still liquid enough to behave well.  At 70% you might want to switch back to the hook at some point after the dough has pulled off the side of the bowl, but run it at a speed that picks the dough up.  Too slow and it will do exactly as you describe.


badmajon's picture

Thanks for all the replies, I will try to start out with the paddle and then use the hook at higher speeds. I can test gluten development by just mixing water and flour together right? I need to play with it without using real dough.

cranbo's picture

Yes, mostly, although salt definitely has an effect on gluten development, so I wouldn't skip the salt.

to be honest, you might as well just make some "real dough" :) all you're missing is a tiny bit of yeast. 

wizarddrummer's picture

I stumbled on a Pizza dough recipe that's high hydration that uses a Food Processor.

I put the flour, IDY (or whichever yeast you prefer) a tiny bit o sugar in the processor. I mix that for about 20 seconds to mix the yeast, flour and sugar.

Then I slowly add the water until everything is a the desired wetness. I let that sit for 20 minutes. I add salt (optional oil and other ingredients) and mix on high for about 2 - 3 minutes.

Sometimes I let that sit for another 5 - 10 min and beat it on high for another 1.5 minutes.

I was amazed at how smooth the dough was.

If your in a hurry you can skip the modified autolyse (usually autolyse is only flour and water and not yeast) and other wait times.

Mix on high for 1.5 minutes. rest a few then mix for a couple more minutes. You can see how the dough is coming together. I don't time things I just approximate it and go by look and feel.

I do love the consistency of the dough. Very smooth, almost velvety.

I never use a stand mixer to mix dough anymore.

badmajon's picture

Hello everyone, I wanted to resurrect this thread and ask you all if the KA artisan is a good bread mixer or not. How many of you use the KA successfully to get good gluten development? Am I not doing it right?

I'm considering planning to buy a new mixer in the 500-1000 dollar range at some point in the next year or so, and before I spend that money, I'd like to know that it is the tool's fault (the KA mixer) and not the user's. If I'm just not using it right, then I don't want to spend money on a new one and have the same problem!


cranbo's picture

I use my KA Artisan all the time and get very good gluten development. The key is running it for a long time (around 10 min at speed #4), or at speed #2, probably 2x as long. 

Just don't overload it (either too much normal dough, or too much stiff or sticky dough) and it works well. 

For larger capacity and your price range, I would also consider the Assistent or Bosch Universal. 

Doc.Dough's picture

While it has its limits, the smaller KA is (IMHO) a far better machine than the larger 600Pro (and I have both, though I use my Assistent N28 for almost everything).

ratatouille's picture

How long should I run a hobart n50 for, and in speed 1 or 2?  considering speed 2 is like 4 or 5 on a kitchenaid, and 1 is like, well, i assume speed 1 on a ka.   I think i am struggling with gluten development in this thing as well when compared to when i do by hand.

cranbo's picture

Hamelman says in "Bread" that for a planetary style mixer, 3 min on speed 1 and 6.5-7.5 min on speed 2 should achieve moderate dough development. "Moderate" here means that you follow up with a few stretch and folds to finish development to the desired level, so that it damages your dough less. 

I say start at 3 min on speed 1, then 3 min on speed 2. Then check the dough, see if it was good enough. Let it go at speed 2 for 30-60 seconds, then check again. Repeat until you have the dough development you want. Keep careful track of the time, so you'll know for the future. (and so you can share with us here! :)

If you really overknead, supposedly your dough will break down and become watery again. Although as this thread indicates, overkneading in a stand mixer may be practically very difficult to do

barryvabeach's picture

I have read that f you completely over knead a dough, it will fall apart, but I have never had that happen to me.  It does getter stickier the more you knead it.  Also, it rises in temperature the more it is knead which will make if feel stickier even if the hydration hasn't changed . If it gets too warm and begins to look more like batter, you can put it into the refrig for a short time, and go back to kneading it in the mixer and it should do better.

breadster's picture

I've long had trouble getting good gluten in my Accolade (similar to the Artisan) until recently... these were the two biggest breakthroughs:

1) Allow the dough to autolyse for 20 minutes before mixing (just mix flour/water until combined - do not fully knead yet and add yeast/salt after)
2) Mix bread dough on Speed 3 (not 2) for about 8-10 minutes.

So, for a basic 2 lb  loaf, the recipe is:

- 20 oz flour
- 13 oz water
(mix together until just combined, rest 20-30 min)

- 2.5 tsp year
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp honey (optional)
- 2-3 tbsp butter (optional)
(add above, mix on speed 3 for 8-10 minutes, rise 1 hour, shape and rise in pan for 1 hour, bake at 350 F for 35 minutes)