The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dough in food processor vs stand mixer

katyajini's picture

dough in food processor vs stand mixer

I just made Jason's Ciabatta,  a very, very, wet goopy dough in  my tiny food processor.   It was very fast and seemed effortless. It actually worked quite well compared to all the other ways I have been trying to make it since I don't have a stand mixer.  I don't know how the dough finally feels when prepared with a stand mixer as instructed, whether the dough was over developed, underdeveloped in the food processor,....but dough and bread seemed pretty good.

(my only problem was that the FP is so small that even for such a small recipe I had to halve it and do  2 batches so it didn't save that much time..)

encouraged I tried two simple brioche recipes that I could never have attempted without a mixer of some kind and both actually worked quite well.

what are the problems with FP dough? why is it not more widely used since it seems to work so well?  is it because most FPs can handle only very small amounts of dough?  Or does a FP dough lack something that I am not sophisticated yet to notice?

if you have experience using a FP for dough preparation (specially if contrasted with a stand mixer or other device) please comment.

thank you so much!     

pongze's picture

Are you using the plastic dough blade that comes with a lot of food processors?  You can certainly use that to incorporate the ingredients together.  If I'm correct, then Jason's Ciabatta is 95% hydration, so that is super wet.  That would form gluten fairly rapidly just sitting there (the whole basis for no-knead breads).  The main thing / problem with using a food processor is the blades - on a lot of doughs, I imagine that you will be breaking gluten strands rather than developing them.

However, with your brioche doughs, did you do the windowpane test on them?  If you got a good windowpane, then I suppose there is nothing wrong with using your food processor to make your dough.

I would encourage you, however, to give a try to hand kneading dough a time or two.  Or maybe try Richard Bertinet's slap and fold kneading.  There is no substitute to getting to know the feel of the dough in your hands, as it develops.  Feeling the transition from a mess of flour and water to a well structured dough is remarkable.  When you know how that feels, then you will know if your dough made any other way is up to par or not.

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

Unlike stand mixers, food processors cannot handle a wide range of loads. The bigger the work bowl size, the more dough can be kneaded. Here is how I load my Cuisinart food processors:

  • 3 cup - 7.5 ounces of flour
  • 7 cup - 15 to 16 ounces of flour
  • 11 cup - 20 to 24 ounces of flour (equipped with metal dough blade and dough speed setting)
  • 14 cup - 30 ounces of flour

For best results, load the food processor to near full capacity, and use the dough blade (if supplied).

katyajini's picture

Thank you so much.  I have only done all doughs by hand and I agree that really is the best way to learn at least initially.  I am looking to streamline the process because I do have to economize on time greatly now.  That's why I am trying the FP.  It does work.  I just have to play with it a little more and get the hang of turning out good bread dough from it! I have a stand mixer now but I think the FP cant be beat for a small amount of dough.

dosco's picture

katyajini ... if you're making a high hydration dough, the KA is probably fine for smaller batches ... I made a sourdough loaf and only mixed up enough for 1 loaf. It was a high hydration dough and I mixed it at 8 on my KA and it worked like a champ.

Find my somewhat long blog post about SJSD made using high-speed mixing.

I baked a loaf this morning made with KAF bread flour - I'm going to make another loaf soon with a higher hydration and see what happens. I made use the high speed mixing again ... more later.