Best Equipment for Small Batches of Dough?
Hi all, I'm new to these forums so please excuse me if this subject has already been beaten to death. But I just got back into baking with yeast and sourdoughs and am wondering what new equipment might best serve my modest needs. For fourteen years I had employed a Braun k-1000, a 600W "kitchen center" that came with just about everything, and included both a whisk and dough hook. The machine had a continuously variable speed control so along with the planetary gears inside those attachments was able to operate at appropriately slow speeds for kneading. By the time that Braun gave up its ghost, may moons ago, the company had discontinued its manufacture for the continental American market; the new model runs on 240V only so does not ship to these shores. The kitchen center they do market to the USA is much crappier, having only plastic paddles rather than a proper dough hook so doesn't interest me. The other thing is, since I'll be baking with sourdough starter that needs to be refreshed weekly, I won't ever be working up big batches of dough at one time: three or four cup flour recipes should suffice. I know that sourdoughs are fairly highly hydrated so the dough is softer and can readily be prepared without conventional kneading, but I am lazy. Also don't have a lot of room left on my kitchen counter either to stretch out dough or even set up a stand mixer (though I am tempted to cram one in anyway...) have an old hand crank kneader at my summer hovel upstate but don't know when next I'll have the opportunity to get up there and fetch it. Was wondering if something like the Kitchenaid 9-speed hand mixer would be a good tool for processing about a quart of dough, using the hooks provided. (Have an old Oster hand beater which I bought for cheap, in order to mix some plaster. Expected it would die in the attempt but it never so much as hiccoughed. Still works great and can even put some dough together with the beaters but the assembled mass quickly rides up to the machine —don't have hooks for it and can't find any for sale.) But am still looking to replace the Braun's food processor as well, perhaps there is something else on the market now as versatile as their old kitchen center? All the food processors I've seen lack continuously variable speed control and none have proper dough hooks either, just plastic blades. Don't think they would give great results unless the low speed were incredible slow. Any other devices I should be considering? Thanks for suggestions.
In the mean time, my new Danish Dough Hand Whisk is being held for me at the PO right now, along with a Medium Romertopf. Maybe that will be all I need, who knows.