The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Ankarsrum Problem

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

My Ankarsrum Problem

I've been trying to get used to the Ankarsrum mixer for about a month now. I run into problems when I attempt to mix the initial ingredients (less salt) to Autolyse. Here is what I need to learn.

It seems that when I follow the recipe there is never enough water to hydrate the initial mass in order to Autolyse. I end up adding a little more water and mixing by hand inside the bowl before Autolyse. 

I have spoken with Ashley @ AnkarsrumUSA and she tells me that the Ankarsrum will use less flour on any given recipe. Her many YouTube videos point this out. BUT, I believe that any good recipe will have the proper hydration and no matter what mixer you use to knead, the ingredients should remain extremely close to the instructions.

I can't tell you how much I'd appreciate any help that would solve this problem for me. I am an Ankarsrum believer, but so far I missing something.

UPDATE; 12-14-2017  This mixer is great. If you need help, by all means ask.

Check out this video for an example of how much abuse this machine can handle. In the video the lady says she in mixing 16 cups of flour. Try that in a KitchenAid! It's a great lesson on what NOT to do. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JWMxxKed30

pmccool's picture
pmccool

in an autolyse that typically isn't cooperative?  Then, what kind of flour are you using?  And, which do you put in the Ankarsrum first: the water or the flour?

If you would provide a formula and some pictures, it would help a lot with figuring out what might be causing the problem.

Paul

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Paul, I'm making Hamelman's Five Grain with Levain bread and following the directions with no changes.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

DanAyo,  first, while the amount of water needed will likely vary based on the flour and how much moisture is already in it,  I have trouble understanding how the type of machine will have much impact on that.  Turning to your question, exactly what problem are you having getting the dough to mix together?  Are you putting in the dry ingredients first, then adding the water, and mixing with the roller and scraper on a low setting?  Also,  how big is your batch?  When I use my DLX, if the batch is not very large, and depending on hydration,  I sometimes manually pull the roller to the middle of the bowl, while it is running, a few times to make sure everything gets incorporated.  Once I have done that a few times, it mixes very well. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barryvabeach, I must be doing something wrong. You appear to have no problems. I've spent hours watch YouTube videos and I am familiar with the methods you describe. I know the solution is simple, but I've yet to figure it out.

I don't think the recipe is a problem because it happens with every one I've tried, except extremely high hydration ciabatta dough. I am aware of the need to vary the water because of flour, humidity, and other such variances. But I think the mix is way too dry in all cases exception high hydration ( 85 - 90% ).  I've baked a lot of bread over the years using a Kitchenaid and have not experienced this problem with identical recipes.

I put the liquids in first and then slowly add the dry ingredients less the salt and yeast if used. My goal is to mix to a shaggy consistency and autolyse.

Wished I would have taken a picture this morning when the problem occurred. I'll try to take one in the future. But I think I can describe it fairly well. Using a slow speed, I gradually add the dry ingredients (flour) into the liquids and all goes well until the very end. The last of the flour (estimate 3/4 cup on a 2 loaf recipe) does not incorporate into the mix. And I'm left with a shaggy mix with dry flour on the bottom. I do swing the arm in an attempt to incorporate. This happened this morning and I ended up adding more water and mixing in the bowl by hand. This worked by I did slightly raise the hydration of the mix.

I've been tempted to try the dough hook. But according to most information the roller and scraper is best.

I'm excited about the Ankarsrum and looking forward to properly using it. I'm tired of replacing gears on my KA.

 

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

By chance are you holding back a preferment from the autolyse? Some of my preferments contain a large percentage of the total water so I add them into the autolyse. I'd have a dry mess on my hands otherwise.

 

Jim

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Great question Jim. No, I add the preferment to the liquids before adding any dry ingredients.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

I took a little time and reviewed the Hamelman formula. If the formula I found on the web is the same one you are using the total weight of the dough during the final mix is about 2.3 kg. or a little over 4.6 lbs. This is also a pretty dense bread with the addition of the seed soaker and WW flour.

DanAyo, the dough hook is your friend. I use an Ankarsrum every day and I do not hesitate to use the hook, unless I am working with under 800 grams of dough.

You will likely have a bit of a learning curve with the hook so be prepared. Initially I'd start with the hook and scraper, add the liquids and stir them around a bit, then dump the rest of the ingredients in the bowl, sans the salt. Start on a low speed and let the ingredients incorporate to shaggy. Pull the hook and scraper, sprinkle the salt on top, and put the bowl cover on while the autolyse takes place - maybe 20 to 30 minutes.

When the autolyse time is up replace the hook and scraper, then start the final mix on a slow speed again. Be prepared for the dough to climb up the hook, all the way to the top arm, so have a firm spatula on hand. Scrape the dough off the hook and the mass should fold around a time or two before it climbs back up again. Repeat often.

Once things come together the scraper may no long be needed, and may become an impediment to the kneading process. Pull it out and see if you really need it. You will likely need to raise the speed to keep the kneading progressing and you may need to move the hook assembly to the middle or left side of the bowl. It is always different for me and even different with the same types of dough, over and over again.

I will be curious to hear about your experiences once you convert to the hook.

 

Jim

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I'll try the hook.

But I really liked the roller/scraper method because I thought it would be more gentle and also create less friction. Thus cooler dough.

I have seen videos using the hook. And the dough ball looked very smooth and supple, though.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

I too thought that all that friction would really run havoc on the dough temperature but my measurements have not supported it.

I now mostly use a dull kitchen knife to release the dough from the top of the hook. A spatula will push the dough down but the knife actually slices the dough and makes for a better release.

Having tried both the roller and the hook, I see no discernible difference in the end result. The hook method looks more violent (so to speak) but once the mixer stops and I get the dough into a bowl or tub, the dough performs the same either way. For me the hook works better for larger batches and the Ankarsrum instruction manual supports this method.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Reading the replies above, I may have a solution if I can't figure out how to mix initially to shaggy mixture.

I'm thinking I might be able to mix initially with the dough hook on slow speed until mixture is shaggy. Then after the autolyse I could switch to the roller/scraper to finish out the kneading. That way I could get the gentle action of the roller/scraper when most needed.

Any thoughts? Pros or Cons?

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

I use the dough hook for especially large batches of dough, or for a heavy dough.  I've had very good results using the roller/scraper for challah...I can knead an 8-loaf batch in the Ankarsrum with few problems.

Regarding your issues, I think you need to add more (most?) of the flour at the beginning.  Don't hold back much, if any, from the initial mix.  I watched some of the mfgr's videos, as well as the US distributors' videos.  I think you need to figure out the process that works for you.  Generally speaking, when I'm mixing to shaggy for an autolyse, I put the ingredients into the mixer bowl and do a simple manual stir w/a Danish dough whisk.  My arm isn't taxed by it, my eye & hand are more efficient than the mixer, and it takes a few seconds less than mixing the autolyse w/the mixer.  Post autolyse, I'll use my hands to add any other preferments or ingredients, then use the mixer to do a final knead.

Frankly, I don't use the mixer at all when making higher hydration doughs w/a preferment.  I prefer the texture/results achieved by a stretch & fold.  But boy does the Ankarsrum shine for heavy, enriched doughs.  I make a 100% whole wheat w/honey loaf containing a fair amount of dry milk solids....it's a PITA to knead by hand.  The dough hook takes care of it in a trice, and the resulting loaves are loftier than the hand-kneaded ones.  Don't be afraid to combine hands and mixer to get what you want.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

CelesteU; You may be onto something. " I think you need to add more (most?) of the flour at the beginning.  Don't hold back much, if any, from the initial mix. "

Update (12/05/17): For months I've practiced adding all of the flour at once into the liquid mix. Since using this method I have never had anymore mixing problems. Before taking CelesteU's advice I had a terrible time getting the flours mixed to a shaggy mass. I had to manually mix by hand. ---------------------

Since I have no experience with the Ankarsrum, I've been following the videos very close. I have been slowly adding the flour to the liquids as indicated in the videos. Maybe if I dump all of the flour in at once it will hydrate better.

The mfgr's videos state that the Ankarsrum uses less flour than most recipes call for. Maybe they short the flour because the initial mix is too dry. And that may be because they add is very slowly. But I've maintained that adding less flour to any recipe will affect the hydration no matter which method of mixing is used.

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

The videos I watched weren't so helpful b/c they demonstrated recipes not remotely related to the formulas I typically use.  Most were whole grain, freshly ground flour, and often included supplemental wheat gluten....obviously very, very different than a high-hydration loaf made w/a preferment.

It took me at least four batches of challah to dial in the technique....I had to directly observe the mixer's action and try a few diff things along the way.  I finally figured out that I needed to 1)mix all the wet ingredients first; 2)add half (1kg) of the flour, mix til hydrated, & give it a brief rest, then 2)add the other 1 kg of flour & let the mixer run for 2-3 minutes at low speed, then 4 minutes at about 3 o'clock speed using the roller & scraper.  I still have small problems with dough creeping up the roller & hitting the underside of the swing-arm, but that's mostly b/c I'm pushing the capacity limits.

When I do the honey whole wheat, I add all of the flour at once, mix to shaggy texture, & let it rest for 5-10 minutes before switching to the dough hook & kneading for 6 minutes or less at a mediium/low speed....this works reallly well.

My own personal Ankarsrum problem is related to heavy Tollhouse style or biscotti doughs.  Soft butter & sugar cream just fine w/roller/scraper, but the mixer does not quickly/efficiently stir add-ins into the dough w/roller/scraper.  I guess I could be using the wire cookie whips, but I feel like chocolate chunks or coarsely chopped nuts (esp almonds) are gonna shred the little wire whips and plastic rotating assembly.  

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

That's something I haven't run across with the Ankarsrum. I've been using mine for a few weeks now; you can see some of the 'testing process' on my blog about it if you haven't already. I do as you describe - put the water and levain in first, then add the flour as the machine is running. I let the roller run against the side to get the water and levain mixed, then adjust it so it's about 1 inch from the rim as the mixture gets thicker with the added flour. I assume you're using the scraper too? I've done this with doughs of all different hydrations (less than 50% to over 75%) and not had a problem. I do like the dough hook but I'm getting more used to the roller and how it works. That said, most of my learning curve has been during the dough development / kneading stage, not the initial mixing.

I encourage you to try the hook. I quite like it, even though others say to always use the roller unless you're making a large batch or very low hydration. I've used it for several different kinds of dough.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks for the input. I'll give the hook a try. 

Lazy Loafer; Your video really makes the hook look good    https://youtu.be/4eS0ztlgI3Y

Do you ever find the roller/scraper having an advantage?

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

As I've mentioned in other posts, I seldom find the hook to be superior to the roller. I use the hook only for stiff doughs (e.g. 3 lbs or more of bagel, 55% hydration, dough) or for large batches (7-8 lbs or more of 62.5% or higher hydration).

If your dough is not mixing well, let it go a bit longer. Generally, instructions are to mix until well distributed, so let it mix until it is. Another issue may be poor measurements. I am wary of any problems where the talk is of volumes. The actual amounts of flour vary wildly among scoop and level, spoon and level and sift and level. If you're not weighing your dry ingredients, expect problems.

gary

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks Gary, but I weigh everything.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I don't think I've tried out enough different things to have a preference yet (hook vs. roller). The video of the cheese bread on my blog post shows that the dough developed quite nicely (before adding in the cheese & onions) with the roller. I was quite happy with it then. That said, I subsequently did a batch of a higher-hydration unenriched dough and wasn't as happy with the roller. They are very easy to swap, so try both even during one batch and see the difference yourself. I'm sure experience will vary depending on the recipe and room conditions - most things do with bread!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Having a hard time adapting. But I will prevail...

I think my main problem is that I am so accustomed to KitchenAid. And my prior knowledge gives me no way to compare. The dough hook is much closer to the KA's kneading.

Today, I making Hamelman's Pain Au Levain and it is 65% hydration. I'm used of very wet dough so to me this is considered dry. I switched from roller to hook and things went much better. I am really trying to use the roller and scraper because most available information online tells me this is the way to go. But I think I'm finding that a lot of online information may not work in all cases.

I also took Celeste and emmsf suggestion to add most or all dry ingredients at one time as opposed to adding it gradually as shown in numerous online videos. I added all. That seemed to make initial shaggy mix work much better. I got a shaggy mix, but ended up using the hook after autolyse. The roller didn't look right to me. The hook kneaded well and the dough temperature didn't rise much. I tried following Hamelman's instruction to keep the kneading time down, but I felt the need to knead longer than his recommended 3 minutes or so for the final kneading.

I want to thank everyone for there time and expertise attempting to get me past learning curve. I'm glad I went with Ankarsrum ( mainly because of gear problems with KA) but for me the learning curve is considerable.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

DanAyo,  I think you are getting some good feedback above.  If you are still having a problem, post the recipe, and I will try it in mine.  I will probably scale it down just to avoid wasting a lot of flour, but the hydration shouldn't change.  Like Gary, I don't ever use the hook, but mostly I am using high hydration whole wheat.  BTW,  if you are talking about the Bread beckers Youtube video,  I watched them originally, but don't really follow the process they describe.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

That's kind of you. But before I put you to that much trouble I plan to try the suggestions above.

Thanks Barry.

Aren't our neighbors the lucky ones. We get a new mixer and they get a lot of practice bread. You just can't eat all of it...

emmsf's picture
emmsf

 I use the roller/scraper frequently. I find it's important to add almost all of the flour pretty quickly. Also, even though I know you're not kneading the dough and you're just trying to get a shaggy mass for autolyse, you do need to let it run longer than a traditional mixer  since it's a great deal more gentle. 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I have some gripes with the Ankarsrum (like the lip that makes scraping out the dough rather awkward), but never had that kind of problem. I, also, add the liquids first, and move the roller around a bit during the first minute of the mixing. If the dough seems too dry, I adjust with more water, but I can't say that I see any difference to the Cuisinart or KA regarding the hydration.

Karin

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Last evening I built a final mix for an overnight bulk fermentation. The final dough weight was 2 kg. at 65% hydration, and consisted of a levain, poolish, and the remaining AP flour, water, salt, yeast and diastatic malt.

I started by combining the levain, poolish and water in the bowl of the mixer, then installed the scraper and dough hook. After running this at a medium speed for about a minute (long enough to incorporate the ingredients) I simply added all the remaining ingredients in one lump sum as the bowl was spinning.

After about a minute all of the ingredients were fully incorporated and the dough began to form around the hook. At that point I removed the scraper and ran the machine speed around 3-o'clock. The dough consistently formed, rolled, and reformed for about 5 minutes at which point I felt that it was of my desired consistency.

Using a scraper I gathered all of the dough and lifted it out of the bowl, instead of trying to pour and scrape. This helps keep the dough from gathering under the lip at the top of the bowl which can be hard to clean completely. The dough went into my chiller and the bowl went into the sink.

Next Friday evening I will double the formula, which I have done many times before, and the results will be the same.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Deleted because the post was published twice.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I've started to get better at initially mixing to shaggy consistency with the roller and scraper. I learned from online videos to add the liquids first the then slowly add the dry ingredients. With this method the video says that you'll use less flour. And that is true, but the hydration will be higher than the recipe. I tried adding all of the dry ingredients into the wet at one time (keeping the desired hydration) and this has solved the shaggy consistency problem for me.

I'm used of seeing the dough being actively worked with my KitchenAid, but the roller and scraper doesn't appear to be doing much. I haven't proved this out yet but I think I need to have faith in the roller and scraper and trust that the kneading actually is taking place. I'm going to try kneading by faith and not by sight. But it's not going to be easy.

 

Lastly, I like the way the hook works in the Ankarsrum. I can see things happening and it satisfies my visual expectations of what kneading should look like. But the consensus of many experienced Ankarsrum users seems to be heavily weighted to the roller and scraper. So I plan to continue trying the roller with the scraper. I'm going to practice faith in the Swedish way that been in use since 1940. 

I really like the mixer. Especially the way it works on small or large batches of dough without ever straining the motor or stripping gears. Also the dough doesn't tend to heat up much.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I wouldn't be without my Ankarsrum. It took me awhile to get the mixer figured out. I was very used to my KitchenAid. After learning to knead with the Ank, I realized that trying to compare the kneading process of the Ankarsrum to past knowledge of the KA will only serve to confuse you. I now mix the wet ingredients and then dump all of the flour in at once. It works for me like that. I've also found that moving the bowl scraper in and out works well to mix thoroughly.

Most users write the the scraper and roller is all they use. And for 90% or more of my mixing, I agree.

Most of the YouTube videos didn't help me a great deal. I found the most useful help right here on this forum. I made a quick look, but didn't find the ones I wanted to share. A TFL user posted great videos that showed the complete process of mixing and kneading in the Ankarsrum. A forum search of, "Ankarsrum" should bring it up.

If you are frustrated trying to learn the Ankarsrum, forge on. It's outstanding. You can mix for 6 or 7 continuous minutes and the dough measures about 72 - 74 degrees (on average). You'd have to really work hard to overheat the dough.Since I don't have to worry about overheating the dough during the mixing process you can really develop strong gluten.

No worries about overheating the unit. This is engineered very different from the KA mixers. I'm told there will be no more stripped gears. I don't have to baby this machine.

You can turn on the timer and walk away from this mixer. It is rock steady and will not move or jump around.

I've read that some users have difficulty with mixing a single loaf. I have not had that experience. The images below are taken of an 750 gram mix. I had no problem developing the gluten.

I especially like the ability to see clearly into the mixing bowl. You can watch as the gluten develops. 

This is a high percentage of home ground Hard Red Wheat. I needed a highly elastic dough for this heavily seeded bread.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Danyo,  just to follow up, I bough my DLX after have some trouble with a Bosch Universal handling small quantities of high hydration dough, so  the first thing I did when I got my DLX - ANK, was to see if it could handle small quantities,  I have had no problems, no matter how small - I think I went as low as 150 grams of flour  and still it worked fine.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barry, can you mix 150 grams with the roller and scraper? Or are you using the dough hook for such a small batch?

I never tried going that small, and I can't imagine that I ever would. But I'm curious to know.

Dan

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Dan,  I use the roller and scraper.  I used the dough hook once when I first got the machine, but it didn't really impress me, so I put it up in the attic, and use the roller scraper for everything.  BTW,  when I first read reviews of the Assistent -  I saw people talk about the roller and scraper, and it sounded really foreign to me, and I had no idea what they were talking about.  

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I use the roller and scraper. I don't think I've ever done a 150 grams of dough but I I frequently do 300-500 grams and it works great.

There are a bunch of different types of kneading action you can get depending on how you position the roller - and by pulling the roller in towards the center for a second or two and then letting it go back.

When doing small amounts of dough (for me a typical batch is 400-600 grams), with the roller close to the edge, it will knead somewhat similar to a slap and fold where it stretches the dough and slaps it against the scraper. With the roller a little more towards the center you can get the doughball with one edge stuck to the roller and the bottom of the doughball being twisted in center of the bowl. Or more towards the center and you can get the doughball looking like a doughnut with the roller in the middle.

Sometimes with the roller close to the edge you can have the entire doughball get centered and not touching either the scraper or the roller - if this happens, just pull the roller into the center for a second and it will grab the doughball and start kneading it again.

Very small changes in the roller position will change how the dough behaves.

Also ... my dough always looks dry, like all the flour didn't get mixed in, before the autolyse but looks much wetter after the autolyse. When I do that initial mix (prior to autolyse), I pull the roller in and let it go back - I do that several times so the roller can help pickup the dry flour and mix it into the wet.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I also get nice results by moving the scraper back and forth. I like to use this method when mixing in additional ingredients once the dough has come together. I have purposely started adding the salts last.

Next time you mix a wet dough, try adding the salt after the gluten has been developed. It amazes me how fast (5 seconds or so) the dough firms up. Until doing this I never really knew how much salt affected the dough...

Andy, I want to learn how to put videos of the TFL. It looks like I'd need to get an account with YouTube. Is that correct?  Also, what video software do you use to make edits?

Dan

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Camtasia software lets you do a multitude of edits. I'm still learning to use it. Main thing I do with it is to trim the video and remove the audio and replace the audio (I haven't done a voice over yet - but that would be easy to do) and you can crop the borders etc. Also you can take a very large file (1080p video resolution) and make it a 480p so it uploads faster when you don't need HD. I'm sure there are other video hosting options but I already had a YouTube account so that's what I used.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

A few weeks ago I had posted a video of a really gentle knead (no slapping) of a high hydration dough. This time I posted a video with it slapping the dough in a way that seems similar to the french slap and fold. This is about 70% hydration and about 500 grams.  I had already done the quick mix and left it to autolyse before I saw this thread. Otherwise I would have video'd the initial mix. But you can see how dry the dough looks at the beginning and then how quickly it comes together. I had talk radio on in the background so I stripped the sound out of this video - guess I should pick some music as a background :) ... anyway, hope this is helpful to see one of the many ways the Ankarsrum can knead small amounts of dough. Notice how the dough gets twisted/turned about 1/4 turn after each slap by the bowl moving underneath it - this is what is so similar to kneading by hand.  Also notice how the dough is being stretched but not torn.  The dough hook tears the dough more I think.

Slap and Fold type knead with the Ankarsrum










jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

AndyP,

Thanks for posting the video. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

At 500 grams of 70% hydration I can see how this would do a great job. At higher dough volumes my experience has shown that the roller/scraper combination simply stalls the mix. I often run 2.5 - 4.5 kilos in my Ank and the dough hook is the only solution for getting a real mix to happen.

With the dough hook I am checking for gluten development by watching how the dough pulls away from the vertical component of the hook. I never see the slap and fold that you demonstrate in your video. Once I feel the gluten has developed sufficiently I move the dough into a container, wait some period of time, and then begin a series of stretch and fold exercises manually.

At higher dough weights I use my 20-quart mixer. Depending on the dough's hydration and the strength of the flour,  I may or may not see a gathering of the dough into a ball. Instead I rely on other visual and tactile queues to determine gluten development.

We have to admit though, the Ank does a great job of developing dough - no matter the volume or hydration level. I have to conclude that there is no particular tool combination that is correct for every situation.

texasbakerdad's picture
texasbakerdad

I had to create an account just to say THANKYOU for creating this thread. I was having the exact same problem. Years of using my kitchen-aid and then bam! I was gifted a Assistant. All of a sudden all of my doughs needed a lot more water to knead properly. The added water messed up the cooking times and mostly confused me. I like for my bread making to make sense, and switching to the asssistant is making a bigger difference than I expected.

I am going to try everything mentioned in this thread and see if I can get my recipes to work like they used to in my kitchen-aid.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You will absolutely love your Ank! But as you already know, there s a learning curve. I live in South Louisiana. If you want to talk you can click n my user con next to the post. It will open my profile. You will see a link saying, “Send this user a private message”. If you send your phone munber and a good time to talk, Ill give you a call.

Danny