The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Raymond Calvel's "Improved mix"

petercook's picture

Raymond Calvel's "Improved mix"

I have been reading up on Prof. Raymond Calvel's Improved mix. My books tell me that he invented this method in order to regain the flavor lost in an Intensive mix. It sems that he uses 2 stages of machine mix dough. On 1st stage he says (when making baguette dough) use the 1st speed for 3-5 min, followed by a 20 autolyse, add salt and knead on 2nd speed for 3-4 min. BUT, my problem is figuring out how fast is 1st speed (using a kitchen Aid) and how fast is 2nd speed? Also it is critical that I preserve the flavor built up in the Poolish. As most of you folks know the faster and the longer the knead, the more the dough oxidizes and good bye flavor. I have been using #2 speed for the first knead, and #4 speed  for the 2nd knead and I know for sure that I lose flavor this way when compared to hand kneading. And, boy, do I hate hand kneading a 68% hydration (big pile of glue). Please share your thoughs on kneading a lean baguette dough with a Kitchen Aid.  ie that balancing act between developing gluten and losing flavor. Thank You.

Doc.Dough's picture


How do you feel about doing repeated S&Fs to get the gluten development after a short mix at Speed 4 to incorporate the salt?

The autolyse should be there just to allow the flour to fully hydrate and the delayed salt addition allows the yeast to get a faster start while reducing the motor load during the initial mixing.

As you know, the effectiveness of Speed 4 depends on which dough hook you have and how big the batch is.

Calvel may be fighting a slightly different battle.  The high intensitiy mixing processes generally add a reducing agent (e.g., L-cysteine) to reduce dough viscosity along with a slow oxidizer (ascorbic acid) to recover dough strength after the mix is done.  If you are not using the chemical additives you may be just fine with S&Fs to get where you want to go.



cranbo's picture

Check this thread, much more detail:

Hamelman says about 900-1000 total revolutions for dough in your mixer for moderate gluten development of typical lean wheat doughs. 

I was just kneading a 69% hydration, 88% white dough for 8 minutes at KA speed #4. Even though by 8 minutes it clears bottom of bowl, it's still sticky without some light flour for initial handling. 

Without a preferment, I often mix for 10 or more minutes at speed #4, but that's for really high gluten development. 


petercook's picture

So sorry it took so long to get back to the new posts. Yes, I think those speeds are about right. #2 for 3-4 minutes followed by a 20 min autolyse, then add salt and knead on #4 for 4 min. I didn't really appreciate what a challenge I took on when I decided to make a truly great loaf of French bread in my home. I am from New Orleans and those of you who have been there probably know what I'm talking about: a very light weight loaf with a super thin, very brittle crust, a wildly open crumb and a faintly nut like flavor. No matter what I try, I can get some of the above but not all. I think I'm leaving out something. Perhaps I need to sacrifice a chicken and lay prostrate before the "Bread God".