A New Toy in the Toolbox, HB Eclectric stand mixer
It's not that I haven't been baking lately, I just haven't had any glamour shot worthy loaves for quite a while. I've been baking twice a week to develop a recipe for a loaf to enter into the Leavenworth County Fair bread competition in August. So far, the recipe is somewhere between Salome's Bauernbrot and Thom Leonard's Country French Loaf. I've tried my hand at a few other styles at the request of friends and family but I keep going back to get the right recipe and right techniques ready at the right time.
One of my obstacles has been to achieve a better looking crumb. I just haven't found the right steps to get that interior done correctly. So about three weeks ago I was at a benefit in Omaha for a hopeful donor organ recipient and perusing the items available in the silent auction. Amongst the mostly sports memorabilia and bar knick knacks was a Hamilton Beach Eclectrics stand mixer, licorice black in color. The opening bid was $108 and the next bid available was $125. I bid the $125 thinking that I was only pushing up the bid price. I didn't expect to win but thought that if I did, the price would be right. I was thinking that using a mixer judiciously would help develop the gluten better than hand kneading.
Well, I did win the stand mixer. It has a 4.5 qt capacity bowl, a three year exchange warranty, dough hook, flat paddle, and whisk. There is no accomadation for external attachments such as KA has on their mixers. It seems to be acceptably low noise in operation. I've only used it once for a medium sized batard (1.2 lbs) and it handled the dough easily. I haven't found any specifications for limits on dough weight due to a rather small owner's manual.
I've found some clips on You Tube about mixing dough with stand mixers. I don't expect that a KA will be all that different from an HB. If anyone can help me find more information on how to use the mixer without overworking the dough, either in books or on the internet, I'd greatly appreciate the information.
As soon as I get a better grasp on how well this mixer works for me, I'll post as to whether or not I got a good deal.