The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bosch Universal comment

clazar123's picture

Bosch Universal comment

I acquired a used Bosch Universal at a local thrift store for a ridiculously low price. It was a well used machine but worked. I was making my Whole wheat Breakfast bread and thought I'd use the Bosch to see how it worked. This is a Whole wheat loaf with fruit and nuts so I like to mix the dough very well before I add the fruit and nuts. I have been making it so long that I rarely use a recipe and sometimes have to adjust the dough as I go with either a little more water or a little more flour before the final mix/knead. What I learned is that this mixer has some idiosyncracies you have to pay attention to.

1. It really is designed for larger batches or stiffer dough (powerful motor!). My recipe has about 6 cups flour total. With that "small" amount of dough in the large plastic bowl, it tends to swirl rather than knead the dough. There is not enough volume to allow the dough to catch firmly enough on the sides of the slick plastic bowl to  tumble over itself. I wonder if the stainless steel bowl would have a different action?

2. If you add water to the already formed dough, it just slides around and around and around and  around......etc...etc.... I had to stop it and break up the dough clump so it would mix the added liquid into the dough. Perhaps if there was more dough in the bowl (10-12 cup flour) it would be less likely to perform this way?

3. I added the 2 cups fruit and nuts and it mixed in quickly and finally I seemed to have enough volume and friction that it caught on the bowl side and actually kneaded. The dough felt great when I put it to rise.

4. The bowl is harder to grip and handle when trying to remove the dough.Some of it is just not being used to the bowl and my hands are rather weak since surgery a few years ago. I can use a plastic rectangular dough scraper  and remove the dough with a single swipe while holding the handle of the SS kitchenaid bowl. The Bosch bowl has to be gripped by the rim while full of heavy dough or held in the crook of the elbow. Awkward for me and none of my scrapers matched the bowl contour so it was awkward to remove the dough.

I am used to using a K5A that is 30 yrs old and going strong.  The 2 machines really do handle dough differently. The K5A does not have as powerful a motor but it does a great job for me. I think for now I will keep the Bosch but I will use it for larger batches or if I ever travel into the bagel world.

Dreasbaking's picture

First off, congratulations on what sounds like a great find at the thrift store!  I'm always wishing for things like that to fine me!

What order did you add your ingredients?  With the Bosch, it works best by starting with the liquid in the bowl and then adding the flour last. You add the flour to the point that it starts to clean the sides of the bowl.  You shouldn't have a problem with that size of dough.  There are several youtube videos that show the method.  Here is one for starters:

If that link doesn't work, search for LequpUS on YouTube and a bunch of Bosch videos will pop up.

Some of your other comments may be related to the age of the machine.  The newer machines have several updates.

Happy baking!

clazar123's picture

My daughter had been given a Bosch (Grandma-in-laws) a few years ago, which is why I recognized it. My daughter wasn't around to ask about the ingredients sequence so I did watch a few YouTubes. The link you provided was almost identical in content to what I watched, so thank you. I did like his "swirl the oilthe last few turns of the dough" trick.

My small dough ball had a hard time to get to the stage of cleaning the sides-a ring of dough formed around the center post, twirling in the liquid that either hadn't incorporated yet or was added as I tweaked the dough. If the dough ball was larger, it would be big enough to catch on the side and mix more efficiently. Maybe an insert bowl for smaller batches or some speed bumps to catch the dough and tumble it.

I'm curious about mixing a higher hydration dough in the Bosch or even rye. How does a tacky dough behave? Are there dough scrapers (the plastic or nylon kind) that are contoured to the Bosch bowl? I haven't googled that yet.

It is a good machine and especially for large batches but I have to get used to its requirements and abilities.

I frequently find good buys at thrift stores-a KA (almost new) that had an easily fixed factory defect, a Bosch Compact-new but no box (just missing the blender jar) and now this. Keep looking-the items are out there but you can't walk away once you spot it. The KA did not even make it to the shelf-I asked the worker carrying it out if I could have it.

So how DOES the Bosch behave with large or high hydration doughs? I'm sure it has no trouble mixing but does it uniformly knead or is there a zone attached to the center post and a layer on the bowl side with a center zone getting mixed by the dough hook? Does the newer Bosch have a scraper for the bowl sides?

andychrist's picture

Okay, I have a stupid question: if you  had already scored a Bosch Compact, why didn't you just use that for your small batch, or do you not have that unit anymore?  Or did you just want to test out the Universal on it? Also, have you tried a dough divider with a small batch on the larger mixer? Have heard contradictory reports on the efficacy, but one YouTube video clearly demonstrated the difference in performance of the Universal with and without the divider. (The dough continually catches and works free from the little tabs on the gizmo, drawing the dough into the hooks — otherwise it would just spin along the perimeter of the bowl. Guessing though that its efficacy depends on the consistency of the dough involved, which would explain why users report varying degrees of success.)

Am curious because in the market for a new mixer and trying to fathom how well any of them will work on whole grain sourdoughs in variously sized batches. No easy answers!

Anyway thanks for your informative post. :)

Dreasbaking's picture

There is a hand scraper for the Universal.  It works nicely.  Pleasant Hill Grain carries it for $1.99.  

sounds like like it is just a matter of practice will make perfect with the dough.  I find my Universal really excels with whole grain doughs - the heavy doughs that are difficult to get kneaded well.  I just did a whole grain loaf with 3 cups of flour with no problems.  

The high hydration doughs in the Universal are defiantly possible, but do require a little practice to get right.  I still find I'm better off than when i was trying to mess around with my KA, but that is my own experience.

there is also a scraper attachment that works with the whisks and cookie paddles.  It won't work on the dough hook, though.  For a high hydration dough, I'll sometimes start mixing it with the cookie paddles (and scraper) and then switch to the dough hook when everything is incorporated.  I believe the scraper was designed so it will work with older models, also.  

i think I need to find your thrift shop!

clazar123's picture

Interesting concept and heading in the right direction! I reviewed a YouTube and it looks like it works a LITTLE better than not having it but it also looks like it needs a little more engineering to work better. The dough still seems to spin about the center pin more than it is kneaded. Does this fit on the older BOsch mixers? I will have to look in to that.

I wanted to try out the larger Bosch with a dough that I make almost every week to see how it handled it as the K5 does struggle a bit with that one. It was also the first run of the machine since I had bought and cleaned it up. Whoever owned it used it ALL the time-it had mileage on it! I wanted to make sure it still worked.  I will have to order a scraper for it. I make good use of my dough scrapers.

The Bosch Compact I acquired as a new,unused machine from the thrift store (THAT was a great find) and I have been using it for development of Gluten Free doughs. I have a work friend that was recently diagnosed as celiac and it was fortuitous that I acquired the Bosch Compact machine at that time.GF baking for celiac needs to be made on dedicated machine and it is actually doubtful she should eat anything made in my gluten contaminated kitchen even on dedicated machine with new utensils. I had also acquired a small, new-in-box, but older, grain mill. I decided to keep these as my GF machines so I could help her develop recipes-at least for a while.

andychrist's picture

Anyone would be lucky to have a friend like you!  So how does the Compact compare to your Universal, in ease of use and quality of finished loaf? (Yes I know you can't make an unqualified comparison because you are not processing any glutinous flours with the Compact.)

I've read where in the process of spinning around in the Universal, those small batches of dough do get stretched and folded, so perhaps just that small amount of kneading by the hooks is sufficient to develop the dough. Anyway, the Dough Divider is fairly inexpensive; I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I owned a Universal. Really the only negative comments about it came from those who hadn't had any trouble mixing small batches without it to begin with. Users who previously had not obtained good results without the divider did in fact report success when employing it in their Universals to mix small batches. Dunno whether it fits previous generations of that Bosch, but I'm sure Pleasant Hill Grain could tell you. And don't forget, you would also need to purchase the Dough Creep Gizmo along with it, if only to work as a spacer.  Breadtopia offers it for a couple of bucks.

Thanks again for all your valuable info!!!

clazar123's picture

Indeed, I did not use the Compact for any thick or gluten-containing doughs. All the GF bread and bakery are rather loose-anywhere from a cake batter to cookie batter consistency. GF was a road I wanted to go down and this was a good opportunity. The machine does seem to have a strong motor.

I love the inventiveness and simplicity of the Dough Creep Gizmo. It looks like it was made by someone who knows what dough creep is.

I don't know if the Dough Divider will work on this old a model. The center post needs to be unscrewed (4 or 5 screws) from the bottom in order to change the center post out. I believe the newer model has a quick twist kind of disconnect. I will have to look into that if I decide to do that.

The most annoying aspect of the Universal from my view, was that it was almost impossible to add extra water/liquid once the dough was mixed. If the dough was too tight, it was impossible to get the liquid mixed in without getting the hands in there and breaking the dough into clumps several times. But the machine may be ideal when I am making larger batches of brioche and French bread during holiday times or for special occasions. These are very well-tried, weighed out recipes. I usually don't need to add extra ingredients-just weigh and mix.

I do concur that even though it seemed the dough just rolled around a lot more than being kneaded, it seemed beautifully developed when it was finally done. That says a lot as this is an enriched (honey and oil), whole wheat/flax dough with raisins,craisins and walnuts. It can be a rather heavy dough to develop.

Good information.Thank you!

Catharine's picture

I have tried over a dozen times to make the no-knead, 18 hr bread based on the NYT recipe.  No matter how many ways it comes out nicely in other respects, it is always too wet/doughy in the middle, even when the crust is as hard as a brick! I don't have a lot of talent in the kitchen,  but daily, fresh bread is very important to our family. Can anyone out there advise me? Thank you in advance. 

Danni3ll3's picture

Are you waiting 20 minutes to an hour before cutting into the loaf? Bread continues to bake after you take it out of the oven and cutting into it too soon will give you a wet center. Just a thought as I read your post.