The Fresh Loaf

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Electrolux Assistant - Determining Right Amount of Flour

Uncle Jim's picture
Uncle Jim

Electrolux Assistant - Determining Right Amount of Flour

I have a grain mill for grinding hard red wheat and then making bread with an Electrolux Assistant Mixer. I have been having problems with large batches in determining the right amount of flour to add to the 5 cups of water plus oil and other baking ingredients. Last batch was too wet and the dough fell when I baked it. Researching the causes and found YouTube video entitled "Assistant Original Mixer Demonstration" posted by Kitchen's Etc in Saskatoon SA Canada. He uses a dough hook instead of the roller that I have traditionally used and he does a "pinch test" to check the dampness of the dough as he adds flour while kneading. He leads me to believe he is looking for a dry dough when he pinches it.  I read elsewhere that when you pinch it that it should have a little tacky feeling between your fingers when you have added sufficient flour and kneaded it properly. 

Has anyone got any experience with this type of test? I know there is a window pane test, but that does not help you know how much flour to add. Does anyone have any suggestions?

barryvabeach's picture

Jim,  it all depends on the recipe.  I use my Assistent to make a 100 % whole wheat  ciabatta at 89% hydration using home ground hard red and it comes out fine.  I am no expert, but there are two types of dough falling.  The classic sign of too much water is an  concave surface ( assuming you are baking in a pan) where the edges retain their height, and the dough collapses in the middle)  When you slice it, you can see larger holes near the edges of the loaf.  The other fall is from overproofing, and usually it falls more uniformly than when the dough is too wet.  When I get a classic collapse in the middle,  I reduce the water a little and try the recipe again to see if that solves the problem.  I can't tell if a dough is too wet when it is in the mixer, unless I have made the recipe several times before.   I have seen his video before and it is pretty confusing because at some points he says he uses the pinch test to be determine if the dough is at the right moisture content, and a few times he says he uses the pinch test to see if there is enough gluten development. Also,  towards the very end he says it is done kneading, but you can clearly see raw flour on the surface of the dough.  Breadbecks also has a video on their method, but I tried it once, and it didn't work for me. I think you would want to shoot for a slightly tacky to pretty tacky dough, again depending on the recipe.  I note a number of posts suggest to only use the roller, I tried the hook once and didn't think it was doing anything, and switched out to the roller, and got some gluten development right away, so I put the dough hook in the attic and haven't used it since.

pongze's picture

As barryval mentions, Breadbecker's has a video. Unlike his experience, I've had good results with that method.

However, if you don't want to do that, then I suggest that you either use baker's percentages with a trusted recipe, or, when creating your own recipe, just decide what hydration you would like your dough to be and adjust the amount of flour accordingly