The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

would love to hear from other Ankarsum Assistant users

Barbarat's picture
Barbarat

would love to hear from other Ankarsum Assistant users

Hi Ankarsum assistant users. I got my Assistant from a fellow TFLer and love it. Had some anxiety to let go of my proof-en work horse, a 23 year old Oster mixer, which has served me well for all this time and has mixed probably more than 1000 loaves of bread. It still works like a charm. My only small complaint was about the amount of dough (max 2.5kg) it would handle and this only  with quite a bit of help. I am selling my bread at the farmers market and wanted to be a little bit more efficient with my time and my oven. Now I already love my Ankarsum (my Oster still in the kitchen under a towel) but i would like to hear from other users what were your challenges, what did you learn when start using this machine (so I don't have to invent the wheel myself :) ).

So far, I am using the dough hook, don't really know when to use the roller, don't know the function of the moving arm (while mixing), how long to mix, mixing speed.................etc.

Would love to hear from you.

Thanks in advance   Barbara

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I usually make four loaves at a time.  I have yet to use the dough hook.  I've always used the roller.  There is a good video at bread beckers website that shows the roller in use.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMB4CVG5fLs

The video included with the machine is at:

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

Mike

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I only use the roller, too. The Ankarsrum manual and DVD are really worthless - reminding me of pharmaceutical ads showing happy people without any details. I got my information from youtube, like pmiker.

Manually moving the arm back and forth helps distributing the dry ingredients in the liquids (those I add first to the bowl). When the doughs starts crawling up too high on the roller, you can move and re-tighten the roller, so that it leaves a bit of room between roller and bowl side.

So far, I haven't mixed dough for more than 2 breads in my machine, since I have a 20-qt Hobart for larger batches.

What my Ankarsrum can't do is mixing the final dough for Peter Reinhart's low hydration pitas, made with pre-doughs, a task that my old Cuisinart and my small Bodum mixers achieve without a problem.

Karin

BBQinMaineiac's picture
BBQinMaineiac

For low hydration/stiff doughs I use the dough hook. For some reason that makes no sense to me the manual (or maybe I saw it elsewhere) told me to use it for softer doughs and IMO that's just wrong. It works fine for pasta dough and such. Use the roller once for that type dough and you won't do it that way twice.  I regularly make pasta dough with the dough hook. Not long ago I made a huge batch of perogie dough (3x) with the dough hook and it worked like a champ. I think that batch of pasta dough was something like 13# of really dense stiff dough. The Assistant wasn't even fazed by it and kneaded it just fine. There's no sense to use anything other than low speed with the dough hook and dense dough. It's slipping between the bowl and the hook anyway. Higher speed actually achieves less results in that case.

Dittos re: the manual. It's the pits. The demo by Ashley McCord is possibly the best video that shows how to use the mixer. The Ankarsrum videos are OK but pretty basic IMO. I just watched the Ank' video above. That's where I saw the suggestion to use the hook for thin doughs. Yeah maybe. Anyway, the dough hook works fine for really dense doughs. The video sort of mentioned this... the height of the dough hook can be adjusted by the screw inside the hole that the hook is put into. There is a suggested adjustment in the manual, but as long as it doesn't scrape on the bowl it's up to you to decide where it works best. For dense doughs I like a bit more room between the bowl and the hook than what they suggest. I use the roller for everything other than dense dough. Just crank up the speed to allow the Assistent to work at it's best when using the roller. If it immediately begins slapping back and forth with a given dough, next time use the dough hook.

Regarding speed with the roller, follow Ashleys instruction. You want approx' 3/4 speed. You want to see a dough ring and you won't get that at Ankarsrums suggested speed. But experiment to see what you like; you won't hurt the machine at all. I want enough speed to fling the dough to the outside of the inside of the bowl. When it's there the roller and scraper can do their work. Be sure to adjust the roller for what you're doing. A too slow speed doesn't allow for the proper mixing/kneading action. Maybe if the bowl is near max' capacity you'd want to keep the speed low. So far I've only made 4 loaves in it at one time so I don't know about that.

When using the roller, for the time required to knead I go by what the dough looks like and how it acts. Most times I knead at 3/4 speed for 6-8 minutes with 1 - 2 loaves. Give it more time for more loaves but go by the way the dough looks. I think the 4 loaf batch I made required 10 minutes. You'll figure it out.  First I get the dough ring. Then after the gluten is developed the dough balls up and the arm begins to swing back and forth as the ball is forced between the bowl and the roller. That's a clue that the kneading is almost complete. Perform the window test to check it. I never hand knead when using the Ankarsrum. The machine does it to completion.

Most times I just cover the entire bowl and arm with a damp towel for rising; leaving the dough inside and the bowl and everything still mounted on the Assistent. Then for a punch down I just start the mixer for a bit, and that gathers up the dough into a ball again. Bread making couldn't be easier.

I love the Ankarsrum. Just take their videos with a grain of salt. Experiment on your own and go by your experience and what the dough tells you that it needs. You'd think that Ankarsrum would know how to use their machine, but they don't. Or at least they don't appear to.

Be careful if you spend any time on YouTube watching other folks and their Assistents. Some know what they're doing but most haven't a clue. When I was learning I lost count of the folks who had just got their Ankarsrums and just had to show everyone that they didn't know how to use it (at least I had that much experience with it). Watch Ashley and you won't go wrong.

The multi wire beaters are for whisking and whipping, the single wire beaters are for batters and such; maybe cookie dough, but go easy with them as far as speed if the dough/batter is stiff. I use them most times for cutting in coconut oil for biscuits at the lowest speed. Just give it plenty of time to do so. While I'm doing other things it's cutting in the hard oil. If it takes 10 minutes, well so what? I'm not standing over it waiting. Of course I finish the biscuits when I get back to the machine. If your home is warmer it will take less time and the coconut oil will not be as hard. I'm in Maine and mostly make biscuits in the winter. The cabinet interiors are quite cool in the winter so the oil is hard. If you know coconut oil you know what it's like. Of course if you use shortening, softened butter, or lard it won't take as long.

If you have specific questions we're here.  

pmiker's picture
pmiker

are similar to mine, depending on how you count.  With initial mixing my times are about what yours are.  I am getting ready to make a couple of loaves of 50% whole wheat.  I'll time my mixing and kneading.  I'm making about 42 ounces of dough.