The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Are there doughs that planetary mixers CAN'T do?

nicodvb's picture

Are there doughs that planetary mixers CAN'T do?


recently I contacted a tech representative of a mill that sold me a flour that was badly misbehaving (to me it seems to be extremely weak while it was supposed to have 13% proteins and an above average strength).

The man told me that planetary mixers are absolutely unfit at developing gluten, that they are good only for making cakes and stirring. Uhmmm, so -I asked- what am I doing when I make bread almost every day and panettone every week using your strongest flour by means of my planetary mixer? He replied confirming that in order to get a sufficient level of gluten development a spiral or fork mixer is absolutely mandatory, that what I did was not panettone (without even seeing a picture).

Obviously I don't buy all that he said, but I wonder if it's true that planetary mixers can't do certain things, if they can't develop all the necessary gluten or if maybe it's only a matter of time an energy.


wally's picture


Most Hobart mixers are planetary, so you can definitely mix bread doughs in them.  We use a spiral mixer for our large mixes, but will use the Hobart for small mixes - say 10-20# of dough.

However, as Hamelman points out in his section on mixing times with various mixer types, whereas the second speed mix on a spiral mixer is usually 3 -3.5 minutes, on a planetary mixer mixing time is doubled on speed 2.

So, it could well be that you are simply not mixing long enough on speed 2 to get the required gluten formation.

Best of luck,


dabrownman's picture

can't make bread without breaking if I try to do more than 1,600 g at one time with high hydration dough or if the hydration is too low you can't use it at all at any weight.  Otherwise it works fine.  Sounds like you got a real bad batch of flour and a very bad rep on the phone who has never made much bread.  

nicodvb's picture

I worked with that flour a little more and I found a method that works: using first the paddle at higher speed until the dough comes together, then reverting to the hook makes the trick.

Evidently -as you stated above- I wasn't providing enough energy. The paddle causes more friction against the sides of the bowl, thus more energy to the dough.

acrosley's picture

Planetary mixers like the Hobart can certainly handle yeasted doughs, (breads, pizza, bagels, etc..).  What the tech should have told you was that Spiral Mixers are more efficient at handling these types of products.  Planetary mixers tend to produce more friction and provide more electrical resistance resulting in the use of more energy.  Spiral mixers, (like the ones sold by Empire Bakery Equipment), feature a rotating bowl and breaker arm that work together to help lower the friction factor and electrical resistance.  This energy savings may be negligible if your working in smaller batches or if your need to make other types of products in the same mixer out weighs the energy saving considerations.  If artisan breads or bagels is all you do - especially in larger volume - then the energy savings you would experience with a Spiral Mixer could be quite significant.

There's an article on the topic here on the Bakery Network as well: