The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Personality clash with the Bosch Universal

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pmiker's picture
pmiker

Personality clash with the Bosch Universal

I had high hopes for the Bosch Universal when I purchased it.  It will handle large batches of whole wheat without a strain and it does seem indestructible.  That being said, I wish it was easier to clean.  That middle column with the fluted top catches everything.  I finally found a video on how to take it apart.  That is not in the manual.  I tend to use solid butter and it gets smeared and caught in the lid latches every time.  The dough hook, while working great, is trouble to get out of the dough and also has little nooks and crannies for stuff to hide in.

So today I had to make bread.  We were out and I've been too busy working and running errands to get it done earlier.  So my wife said, "Just make it by hand."  Thankfully she did not see the look I gave her.  So, I made four loaves of light whole wheat by hand and yes, I kneaded in solid butter at the end.  Now I know why the Bosch slings it around.  I'll use oil the next time I do it by hand.

Here's what the hand made loaves looked like.  Very good oven rise.  Looks just like the mixer kneaded loaves.  I'll know more when they cool and I slice into them.    So should I continue by hand?  Try to make up with the Bosch?  Or rob a bank to get an Ankarsrum? (I've already stripped out a 6 qt KA).

hand kneaded light whole wheat

pmiker's picture
pmiker

It is extremely soft bread.  I have to be careful holding and slicing it.  It is at least as soft as bread I've made in the mixer.

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

My new Bosch Universal is packed up and ready to return. It's about 2 1/2 weeks old. Some other forum participants suggested, as you have, that it's a personality clash. Maybe! But it's going back, even though the folks at Pleasant Hill Grain say that all the customer service people and the chef on premises prefer it to the Ankarsarum. I just can't get a feel for it, especially with wet doughs. I was so afraid of overkneading -- a problem discussed on bread-baking forums -- that I couldn't pull a window pane and kept taking the bread out of the bowl and putting it back. Quite a sloppy gloppy mess, to be sure. It worked okay for my bagels and sourdough rye, but Craig Ponsford's amazing ciabatta with about 90% hydration was a batter, not a dough and I added handfuls of flour on the countertop before it began to hold together.  Using gobs of extra flour to get a mixer to work just wasn't what I was after. 

Hubby, who eats but doesn't make the bread, keeps pointing out that the KA is designated "best" on website after website, But I'm not buying it, particularly after reading posts like yours. So the return is going in exchange for the Ankarsarum. Sounds like this discussion is to be continued...

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I have been able to make wetter doughs using the Bosch but I have not made ciabatta.  When I have made wet doughs, it was a mess getting them out of the bowl and into a dough bucket.  Once done, however, I folded the dough every so often to give it strength.

As to over kneading.  I do not believe I ever over kneaded in the Bosch.  I've made good bread with the Bosch and without.  I tend to knead, feel the dough, knead, feel, knead, autolyse, knead.  With the stops for feeling I guess I avoid the over kneading.  Besides KA taught me to knead no longer than two minutes so I go cautiously with the mixer kneading.  The Bosch could probably knead for half an hour and not overheat. 

While the KA worked, I loved it.  Easy to use and clean.  But they are serious about their 2 minutes of mixing time and reduced volumes of flour when using whole wheat.  There is a gear that will crumble apart when it encounters too much stress.  Once I started milling my own flour and using more whole wheat I over stressed it.  I rebuilt mine and then took it easy until I sold it.  I put in all new parts and fresh grease so it was as good as new.

Since I find the clean up much easier without using the mixer I may just do that for awhile.  BTW, I do not have a dishwasher so everything gets washed in the sink.  I do not know if having a dishwasher would help or not.

Right now my lower back is complaining.  I tend to carry things too heavy for me at work and the kneading seems to have caused it to start warning me to take it easy. So I guess I should use a mixer or learn to take it easier at work.

I need to be able to convince myself that the Ankarsrum is a necessity and not just a want.  After all, while I'm getting more frustrated with it, the Bosch is a very strong and capable machine.  Both it and the Ankarsrum will knead circles around anything KA makes.  Of course, KA may well excel at things other then bread dough.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I would try to make up with the BUP  ( I have suggested to others to return the BUP for a DLX, though it was in the return period for their BUP )   I have used the original Bosch Universal and the Concept , and many have used the BUP to make great bread.  I suggest you try modifying your recipes to work with the BUP.  I am working on a recipe to send to my sister, she has the Compact  ( I have one as well, yes I have an addiction, though I bought most of the mixers used ). and I am trying to adapt the recipe from the DLX to the Compact.  One old trick, and Hamelman mentions it in his book Bread, is to reduce the hydration slightly, then once it is fully kneaded, add the reserved water.  The original recipe works fine in the DLX, but in the Compact is just pushed the dough to the outside of the bowl and didn't knead it at all ( In the BUP it would have wrapped around the center column) On my next attempt I just held back a little water, and it kneaded fine in the Compact, and once it was fully kneaded, I added the reserved water.   So I suggest you play around with your recipes, the order you add them to the mixer, the temp of the ingredients ( especially the butter ) to see how they work since  the BUP is an excellent machine. 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

When I first got the Bosch I modified my mixing process.  I did not want to chance stripping the gears like I did on the KA Pro 6 qt.  I put in the water, some flour, the yeast, some flour, the salt and more flour.  I do mix it up during these additions.  Then I add flour to get to the consistency I desire.  If I use pre-ferments, these tend to go in after the water.  I've used several variations.  I've probably made about 250 loaves in the last year using the Bosch.  One advantage touted for the Bosch is that you can use more water/less flour.  Yes, but it sticks to the bowl, the dough hook, the fluted center post and it gets down the shaft and into the crevices in the lid.

I've made some very nice bread in the Bosch and then spent almost as much time scrubbing the thing clean.

I saw a video today of the Ankarsrum.  The baker made a mess.  Lot's of sticky dough all over the bowl.  So I guess some folks handle messes better than others.  I tend to favor neatness.  With the Bosch, since I wash by hand, I wash items during slack times such as when dough is rising.  I have to wipe all excess butter off (not good for the septic) and get the sponge and various other scrubbers to scrub off all the bits of dough that have clung to the nooks and crannies in the bowl, the center shaft, the dough hook and the two lids.

I believe the center column is at the root of my displeasure.  There's just too many ways for dough to get stuck.  With a regular bowl, I can use a scraper to get the dough out easily.  The two part lid is also a bit annoying.

I've toyed with the idea of a dishwasher but neither I nor my wife can see the need since it's just the two of us.  We also noticed that dishwashers tend to be hard on the dishes but this was many years ago.

BTW, I floated a FOR SALE sign on Craigslist.  If I sell the Bosch, I just may get the Ankarsrum.  I have to think on that.  I don't want to rush in and end up in another bad relationship.

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Bosch sells a number of accessories, including a ring to keep the dough from crawling up the shaft. 

And while I agree it is awkward getting the dough out of the bowl, it usually comes out in one big clump anyway.  At first I worried about tearing but I don't anymore.  As for cleaning, I don't let any dough bowls or tools sit around.  I'm old enough to remember when we made glue for school out of flour and water :)

Anyway good luck whatever you decide!

pmiker's picture
pmiker

When I make bread the dough tends to be just a bit sticky.  Enough to make it want to stick to the plastic bowl.  Enough that it also sticks to the dough hook and I have to really scrape it and the bowl.  Yes, I could add a bit more flour for a less sticky dough.  But during kneading it cleans the side of the bowl and it feels tacky.  I really don't want to add more flour.

BTW, I use less flour with the Bosch.  I can add all the water, most of the flour, all the rest and when I add the final flour, it never needs the whole amount.  The bread turns out nice but there should probably be a note to adjust a recipe.  I have seen several videos that mention using less flour.

I could add more water but I'd be guessing.  Since I mill just what the recipe calls for, if I need more flour I'd have to let the dough sit a bit while I milled more.  The small amount of extra flour I now get goes to the starters for feeding.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Bosch also sells a bowl without a center column, used it goes for around $100, when you can find it.  I don't know how well it cleans up, but some say it is much better at kneading dough because the dough hooks are at the bottom.

johnr55's picture
johnr55

I have been using Bosch since I bought a Magic Mixer 35 years ago in college, now use the Universal (but the MM still works fine!).  I have had my DLX since 1992, bought through a Magic Mill dealer.  When I do more than a small batch of dough in the Bosch, I use the s.s. bowl with the dough hook in the bottom.  Why?  For one thing, it holds more dough.  For another, it's much easier to clean; the hook comes out of the bottom, and the drive pin pops out, leaving a very, very easy smooth bowl to clean.  I will use the mini hook that came out for the clear slicer/shredder when I do little 1-loaf recipes.  The DLX is fine; I've made at least hundreds of loaves with it, but I also bake a lot of cakes and cookies and it requires more 'minding' than the Bosch.  I might add that I also have the s.s. bowl for the Bosch with the center post, but basically never use it, it's no real advantage over the superb Makrolon bowl. 

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

I've been using an old Hobart KA for about a decade of bread-baking, and it had 20 years on regular kitchen duty before I turned it to bread. Though,  it sounds now like it's giving up the ghost, it never balked during wet ciabattas, stiff bagels or pate a choux.  I'm having a tough time understanding why a formula that delivers good bread needs to be grossly adjusted to accommodate a new machine. I can understand changing up the order of combining the ingredients, but adding 20-30% more flour to a high-hydration dough just so that it mixes. Nuh-uh. In the videos, the action of the Ankarsarum's roller just seems more like kneading that the Bosch's hook which seems to pick up the dough only now and again.  Am I just being inflexible?

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

think you gave it much of a chance. 2 1/2 weeks in not really long enough to test. How much bread did you bake?  Ponsford's 90% is almost batter with any mixer. I mixed it in the Bosch and followed with 3 folding sessions with great results after reading your complaint on yahoo mixers forum. Sometimes patience is more important than the equipment.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Nikki,  I don't suggest that the overall formula be changed, just how you add it -  so if the total recipe calls for 500 grams of flour and 470 grams of water, you might start with 440 grams of water and knead until it has reached windowpane, then add the rest of the water.  When the manufacturer is designing a mixer, it can't be perfect at everything, so they have to make compromises -  there is a vast difference between whipping one egg, making a cake batter, kneading ciabatta, and kneading bagel dough, and large versus small amounts of dough.  Some machines come with different bowls for different tasks and different shaped hooks to handle those tasks. For example, the DLX has a dough hook, and a roller scraper, and a separate bowl for egg whites. My point is that sometimes you have to work with the machine  to optimize its performance.   

Antilope's picture
Antilope

Vollrath mixer video (in Spanish)
This may be the 7-qt model?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52heKwcI_0k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st3O8dkv4ig

pmiker's picture
pmiker

In watching the videos I was reminded of my old KA.  The Vollrath has more capacity, seems quieter and is most likely more durable.  It's definitely something to think about.  So is the metal bowl option that is also being proposed.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I don't know anything about Volrath but it does look nice.

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

with the bottom hook in the stainless bowl is the only way to fly. I have both and prefer the Bosch but went through the same angst till the additional bowl was added. Good Luck.

PS I have never overkneaded in the Bosch and frankly don't understand the concept or conversation regarding it.

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

fotomat1, I hear what you're saying. Generally speaking, patience is not my long suit. And it could be that in time, with some adjustment (in terms of formula and additional equipment??), I'd learn to love the Bosch. I tried to put it through its paces with a variety of different tasks and I just wasn't liking the way the Bosch and I interacted. It seemed like a lot of plastic pieces needed to be assembled, disassembled, washed and re-assembled every time I used it. Even with 2+ kilos of sourdough, the hook seemed to swirl the dough around, only catching it occasionally. Plus it's loud. I'd been fretting about this purchase for a long time and I really wanted to be happier! 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

but keep in mind the Assistent absolutely has a learning curve. I went through the same exact experience as the both of you. I had a Hobart for years and it started acting up with bagels and rye. I switched to the Bosch and was unhappy, almost to the point of thinking I had purchased the wrong model. Until I found the stainless bowl with the bottom mounted dough hook I was convinced it was a piece of junk. Once found it has performed flawlessly with every bread thrown at it. I never use the plastic bowl or whisks since I still use the Hobart for cakes and cookies. I happened upon a DLX for a good price and find it to be quite nice for looser and more hydrated products. They all have good and bad aspects about them and all require adjusting mentally and sometimes formulary. Good luck and happy baking!!

pmiker's picture
pmiker

Yeah, not my long suit either.  But I haven't grabbed the Vollrath yet.  (I did go measure counter space.  It will just fit on the counter under the cabinet where the Bosch currently is.

I typically make 5 lbs or more of dough at a time and I typically do this once a week.  Once in awhile I do additional bakes for sourdoughs or other special bakes.  I use fresh milled flour in all my breads and that ranges from about 40% to 100% whole wheat.  5 lbs of whole wheat dough kneads fine in the Bosch and would kill a lesser machine.  Ankarsrum, Bosch and the spiral mixers, mini or otherwise, seem to be my choices.  That or do it by hand and while I can hand knead 5+ lbs of dough, my back complains.   Someone around the house says I'm getting older but I don't believe it.

The mini spirals seem to be really nice machines but they are pricey.  Both the SP5 and the Haussler Alpha are sweet machines.

Ankarsrum is also pricey.

The spirals are pricey but their cost seem to drop by a higher percentage than the above mentioned mixers.  A machine like the Vollrath is 10 quarts in capacity and costs less than the Ankarsrum or the mini spirals.  It seems easier to find used commercial spiral mixers.  The trick is finding a small one.  Ten quarts is large to me but the Bosch is supposed to be 6.5 quarts.  I do get near the top of the bowl sometimes.

So, I'm thinking and being patient. ... and looking for Vollrath mixer reviews.

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

johnr55's picture
johnr55

ATK tested the Vollrath with other stand mixers and found the industrial OSHA safeguards were just plain irritating for home use.  No surprise there; more than one N-50 user has discovered to their disappointment that the speeds can't be changed on the fly.  What works for commercial kitchens isn't necessarily the same for the home kitchen.  Think of the number of people who have been disappointed, also, with commercial ovens that are completely unnecessary for the home kitchen.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I thought the stainless bowl used top mounted attachments like the plastic one.  In which case there would not be much difference.  We are both talking about the 800W current version of the Universal Plus aren't we?  There site refers to your picture as the older model bowl and that I would need to add support to my mixer for it.

Here's a clipping from the ad at Pleasant Hill Grain for the current steel bowl:

Stainless Steel Bowl (MUZ6ER2) for the Bosch Universal Plus mixer has a polypropylene center drive shaft column, enabling the Universal's standard wire whisks and BreadMaster dough hook (as well as the accessory cookie paddles) to be used in it. Capacity is 6.5 quarts (approx. 15 lbs. of dough.) This bowl is sold without dough hook, whip drive or whisks, because those pieces from the Universal Plus mixer's standard plastic bowl fit onto this bowl.

Here is the ad for the old bowl:

This Original-Style Stainless Steel Bowl uses a special dough hook that drives from the bottom of the bowl. This bowl comes with its own dough hook, which does an outstanding job of kneading. The bottom-drive design provides a little extra dough capacity because there is no center column as in the standard bowl. This stainless bowl also includes splash ring and center cover, not shown. Fits on the Bosch Universal Mixer's low speed drive (the same place the standard plastic bowl mounts.) Whips, whisks and cookie paddles cannot be used with this bowl because it's built without the center drive column.

Note: To use this bowl on the new Universal Plus, you'll need to use some small rubber bumpers to prevent wobble (see here.)

 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

Universal Plus. The rubber bumpers are the same as you would use on your cabinet doors.They really just serve to prevent wobble much like a matchbook under a table leg. Installed once years ago. Night and Day as far as mixer performance and cleanup.  Well worth the money and can be found used on ebay on occasion.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

I found these videos interesting. They mix 9 whole wheat loaves of bread - 17 lbs total whole wheat dough in a Bosch mixer:

9 Loaves of Bread in the Bosch Mixer - Short Version
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sNtZrB2Bfo

9 Loaves of Bread in the Bosch Mixer - PART 1 of 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjI8hKO74J4

9 Loaves of Bread in the Bosch Mixer - PART 2 of 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHOkUY-ZWNQ

9 Loaves of Bread in the Bosch Mixer - PART 3 of 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3MPPNcH1Vk

pmiker's picture
pmiker

Yes, I've seen the videos. I watched them before I got the Bosch.  It is a workhorse machine.  Like I said, I doubt I can wear it out. 

I'll be making bread (4 loaves) after I mow.  I'll decide how to do the bread (with or without the mixer) when I get there.  I may just be tired enough to use the mixer and face it's cleanup.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I made the loaves by hand again.  I'm getting used to it.  It's about 5.25 lbs of dough.  About 1/2 fresh milled whole wheat.  Due to a special request I added a bit more honey.  I also melted the butter to make mixing/kneading easier.  So far the oven spring is really good.  Cleanup was a lot easier.

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

pmiker,

From your posts it sounds like you are a serious home baker.  Seems that you consistently whip up five or more pounds of dough and do it often.

My suggestion would be to figure either daily, weekly, or monthly, how much dough each batch is and "bite the bullet",,,, get a serious machine that will handle twice that amount.  It will be easier to clean, allow room for growth, make a statement of your commitment, and last forever.  Look at professional restaurant supply retailers, see what some smaller Pizza places use daily. 

Hey, they are expensive, but aren't you worth it???

The machines frequently talked about here are very good and will do larger weights occagionally, but not every day.  Kinda like me,,, there are things that I could do everyday, but now any of them would wear me out……..

Go for it and have fun!

 

 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I make four loaves at one time.  I have a strange work schedule and even on my days off I have to take my wife to work until her eyes are fixed.  So my times are limited.  In addition to the weekly bread, I'll make the occasional sourdough or specialty bread.  In August I have to whip up a few loaves of cinnamon raisin bread for co-workers and a visiting doctor.

So I make five to ten pounds a week.  Usually five.  The Bosch can handle the load.  Almost twice, I believe.  It's not easier to clean.  I hesitate on the planetary mixers and the spiral mixers are SO expensive.  I do not know how the mixing style of the Ankarsrum compares to either a spiral (i.e. SP5, Haussler) or a planetary (Hobart, Vollrath, KA,..)

 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

pmiker,

I have the 5qt Hobart with a spiral hook.  It's been with me for years and has always given good service.  Plus easy to clean.  But, man-o-man, if I ever do it again I'd good for the Haussler!!   It is most-def "mixer-porn".

Chain drive, gas strut lift, touch pad, powder coated steel, stainless bowl, stowaway cord, low power consumption, heavy…… indeed!

johnr55's picture
johnr55

I've seen a demo of the Haussler and it ain't for me.  All that thing can do is knead.  I own 7 mixers so I like gadgets as much as the next guy, but I also remember that our forefathers happily kneaded bread by hand for thousands of years without a $2200 kneading machine.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

on 60% or 65% hydration dough? It's a lot easier on you than hand kneading. I've made a couple of light wheat loaves (50% white / 50% whole wheat) and they came out as fluffy and nice as if I had made them in my Kitchenaid. Three stretch and folds, each 45 minutes apart, did the trick.

Here's the video series where I learned that dryer doughs can also benefit from stretch and fold:

No Knead, Stretch and Fold Panama Bread - works on any kneadable bread dough
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxqmWxWBDSQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLuMfEJnNW0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy52miUA6XE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z1S7l12XWo

Light Wheat bread (60% or 65% hydration dough) made with stretch and fold technique

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I'm a fan of Mike's.  He's actually from this area but my schedule prohibits me from attending one of his classes.  Perhaps I should take a day of vacation sometime so I can.

mixinator's picture
mixinator

I have a Bosch Universal with a small bowl. If cleaning's your problem, here's what I do: immerse it completely in a sink full of soapy water and soak it for a good long time, then use a stiff dish brush to get the flour off.

That said, I know of one TFL'er who is absolutely in love with his Haussler, but $2,000 is a lot of money.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

Tonight I used the BUP again.  I milled about 52 ounces of red/white wheat and sifted about 27 ounces using a handheld Onieda sifter.  I used 47.7 ounces of flour and 32 ounces of water.  Actually the flour was about 45 ounces or a bit less.  I let the Bosch knead for about 6 minutes with two quick interruptions to check on the dough.  At six minutes it passed a windowpane test without a problem.  The dough rose nicely, good oven rise and it's cooling now.  I used olive oil instead of butter in the bread so cleanup was a bit easier.  This is a sugar free bread since the last two times I added honey I could not taste it.

If the bread tastes as good as it looks, I may go ahead and get the L'equip sifter for the BUP.  I hand sifted this and used the sifted flour as a substitute for bread flour that I normally use.  I'm going to try making a smoothie and use some of the bran in the smoothie.  No one is responding to my craigslist ad so it looks like I'll be keeping the Bosch.

In other words, just experimenting.  At least the BUP and I aren't cussing at each other.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Glad to see you reconciled, at least for now.  Every mixer has its sweet spot, and imo, you usually have to arrange your process to suit the machine. Once you do that for the Bosch, it works well for most jobs.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I'm still tempted to get the old SS Bowl for the Bosch. But I bought the blender attachment and the flour sifter.  I use the blender, the sifter is getting second thoughts.  But I most likely use it more in the future.  I'm keeping my eyes open for attachments I can use.  Some I can buy refurbished and reduce costs!