The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hand or machine mix

lil yeast's picture
lil yeast

Hand or machine mix

Just want to see how many people prefer to hand mix their breads vs. machine mix. I prefer to hand mix all my doughs.

dabrownman's picture

a high hydration, enriched dough - panettone comes to mind.  Some low hydration dough like bagels will kill your KA mixer and they need to be mixed by hand.  The rest of the time I prefer to develop the gluten with slap and folds so you can get the feel of the dough and know when it is just right.  Plus no clean up.   Some recipes I prefer stretch and folds only.  So it depends on the dough at hand.

MichaelLily's picture

I prefer to machine mix and hand knead.  It takes me about a half hour to hand mix 24 kg of dough by hand in 3 separate loads, whereas it takes a big mixer about 4 or 5 minutes.  Unfortunately I don't have such a large mixer, so I do it all by hand.

Antilope's picture

Either the Kitchenaid mixer or the bread machine Dough cycle. I think the bread machine does a better job of kneading the dough. I usually use the bread machine to knead since I'm usually only making one loaf or about 500g of dry flour at a time.

PetraR's picture

I very much prefer to knead / french kneading by hand.

I never really have very wet doughs and if I have I use 2 dough Scrapers to help me kneading.

Brioche Dough though or Pannetone I would do in my Kenwood Chef Premier Stand Mixer.

hanseata's picture

I work either with pre-doughs plus brief machine mix, or with brief machine mix and stretch and fold.

All methods work, but on what you settle in the end has something to do with your schedule and your temperament.

I'm definitely neither kneading my dough for a sustained time by hand, nor slapping it on the counter for half an hour. Been there, done that. Autolyse and overnight bulk fermentation are my helpers, I don't need a long upper body workout.


PetraR's picture

I do like the french kneading method of kneading though I only do like 5 french kneading and let the dough rest for 10 minutes and repeat that about 5 times and while I wait for the next french kneading I can wash up the bowls and stuff used:)

I never had a more smooth and elastic dough before I did the resting. 

Between the 4th and the 5th french kneading I wait about 20 minutes.

I wonder if slap and fold is the same as the french kneading. 

I certainly slap the Dough down the counter and fold.

So easy, so simple and so effective.


hanseata's picture

Petra, you should look at a video of Bertinet slapping his dough. He slaps it forcefully, folding it over in the process, continuously, without a break, for 30 minutes. I tried that, it works, but it is very tedious, and you have a big mess of dough leftovers on the counter to clean. Definitely not my method - and probably more of a guy thing, anyway ;)


PetraR's picture

I have his book * Crust * which came with a CD but I must say, it is to much hard work for me.

The french kneading Video that I saw on youtube does the same so she grabs the dough from the side and turns it , slaps and kind of lets go for the dough to fold over.

I do that but in my own way with the rest in between, I use my dough scaper to get the rest dough and puts it under the * slapped * dough while it is resting.

I only did it this way because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and this way is the only way right now I can work dough.

Not a big fan of Stand Mixer.

hanseata's picture

I have a dry skin condition on my hands, sometimes better, sometimes worse, and that's one reason I don't care for hand kneading.

Do try the Bauernbrötchen, they are great and I make them often.

PetraR's picture

Oh I sure will, they looks so good and I can imagine how wonderful they are with some ham and cheese on them.

I also saw your Senfbrot recipe and since my hubby has to work in Duesseldorf next week he can bring me Mustard.

What is the name of the Mustard?

hanseata's picture

It was actually Düsseldorfer Senf we got from the commissary - my husband is a veteran, and they carry some German goods (the only place where you can get rouladen cut beef). But I have made it with our Maine Raye's Mustard, too.

I wouldn't choose a coarse Dijon or sweet mustard, though.


PetraR's picture

I was thinking that * Löwensenf * would do the trick, that is my fav. German Senf.

Oh Rouladen, I have not had them in years.

My Butcher said it is not a problem to cut them for me, so that is good to know.

I just looked up where you live and it is BEAUTIFUL!!!

I think I now retire to bed , it is 4.31 am here and we have so much to do still before we move house on the 30.8.

My greatest worry is: how will my bread turn out using the new oven. eeeek

thegrindre's picture

I have no room in my tiny kitchen with no counter space for doing anything with. I bought a cheap bread machine and use its Dough Cycle to mix and rise all my recipes. When it's done, I remove the dough then shape it for baking using a cutting board across the sink.

Sometimes you have to make do... :-)

pmccool's picture

I will continue to hand mix most of my doughs.  There are some exceptions, as mentioned by earlier posters, where machine mixing just makes more sense.  Still, I've managed some pretty good ciabatta by hand and that is one of the breads that sends most people scurrying for their mixers. 

A large part of my motivation is that I find the tactile sensations of mixing and kneading the dough to be so satisfying.  It's worth putting up with somtimes-gloppy hands to get to the finished dough.

If I were in a commercial bakery, then a mixer would be a very important tool.  However, since I bake at home, the dough quantities that I usually handle make the mixer an option instead of a necessity.


PetraR's picture

I totally agree with you Paul.

I love the feel of the dough and how it changes while kneading, it is wonderful and makes me happy:)

Happy Petra = Happy bread:)

If I had a Bakery I agree, I would use a Mixer for those large amounts of dough, but since I only bake for family and friends I am kneading by hand for aslong as I am able to do so.