The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Small batch problems in the KitchenAid Pro 600?

raycos's picture
raycos

Small batch problems in the KitchenAid Pro 600?

Sorry for yet another KitchenAid post and for my first post nonetheless, though I have been lurking for around half a year and got started hand kneading bread from the posts on this site.

I just got a Pro 600 around a month ago and have used it for a total of 3 bread recipes (well, one was a pizza dough), and all 3 failed miserably. I believe that it has nothing to do with the power of the machine or the hydration of the dough (all 3 were 55-65%) but I think that my batch sizes were too small. I scaled down all the recipes I tried to around 400g of flour and none of the doughs ever came together even after 25 minutes of mixing on speed 2 (done with breaks and wet towels to cool the machine). On the 3rd recipe I tried, I kneading the dough by hand after 30 minutes of machine mixing and it did come together.

I'm guessing my batch sizes are too small because I notice that each time the doughs all have a portion that is stuck to the bottom of the bowl and never clears the bottom but a lot of the dough is able to ball up on the hook. The dough on the hook doesn't climb and periodically gets slapped onto the sides of the bowl which is performing the kneading action. Meanwhile the dough on the bottom of the bowl just sits there and never gets mixed, though part of it is sticking to the main dough ball on the spiral hook and getting stretched out as the dough hook slaps the main ball around. The largest batch of bread dough I've tried was 380g flour/60g water/100g milk/60g sugar/80g egg and it never came together after 25 minutes, speed 2. After hand kneading it was fine, and after that I added 40g of butter and it took around 12 minutes on 2 before it became smooth again. I'm aware of the adjustment screw and adjusted it to pass the dime test on day 1. 

I only came to this conclusion last night and haven't been able to try a larger batch yet (too much bread for just 2 people) but am going crazy over this theory. My wife has been pretty annoyed too as I have spent 3-4 hours the past 3 Saturday afternoons trying to fix my bread disasters. Have any of you experienced bakers been successful at getting batches with 750g or less of total ingredients working in the Pro 600?

David R's picture
David R

If you got the KitchenAid for many various reasons, good. If you got it primarily just for bread and pizza, I'd almost suggest that you reconsider.

There has been enough unfair KitchenAid bashing around here lately and I don't want to make it worse, but it is pretty clear that bread dough is this brand's weak area.

raycos's picture
raycos

From what I can tell, KAs get bashed on this forum because they're kind of underpowered for large batches and the dough hook and rotation mechanism of KAs are inefficient compared to how the Bosch Universal or DLX mix, making the machine heat up and smoke due to longer knead times needed. I think that for my 600-750g batch sizes the Pro 600 should be more than enough power, although something is probably wrong with the contact that my dough hook is making with the bottom of the bowl or maybe I need to scale up a bit on batch size. I'd definitely love a Bosch Universal or DLX but those are quite a way out of my price range for now. I'm aware of the Bosch Compact but were I to return my KA I'd probably still get an Artisan over the Bosch Compact due to my shallow aesthetic preference for the KA. Too much sentimental attachment to seeing a KA in my family's kitchen and on cooking shows...

David R's picture
David R

Most of the KAs are overpowered! (i.e. too many watts.) Power isn't the issue at all, though KA promotional materials concentrate on it an awful lot because they do put powerful motors in them. The problem is how much of that power is actually being put into the intended task, and how much of it is instead used for generating heat, or for the machine to grind itself down or tear itself apart.

It's possible to install a 500-horsepower diesel engine on a child's bicycle. Power isn't everything.

algebread's picture
algebread

My 7 quart Kitchenaid has been used for ~500g batches of dough without a hitch before.

You have probably already done this, but have you tried scraping off the bowl and pulling the dough off of the hook a couple times during the mixing?

raycos's picture
raycos

If a "couple" means two times, on the last batch I did it 4 or 5 times but the stickiness on the bottom combined with the main ball clinging to the hook always ends up reforming. 10 or so minutes of hand kneading brought it together and I threw it back in the mixer to incorporate butter, which took around another 10 minutes of machine mixing on 2-3. Seemed rather slow but I didn't get the stickiness problem during the butter incorporation. Dough was definitely overworked though, way too elastic for what I was going for.

500g is a pretty small batch, is that 500g of flour or 500g total dough? I'd be pretty impressed if the total weight were a mere 500g. My dough hook might not be reaching low enough even on the lowest screw setting if you can do a 500g dough in the 7 qt KA.

The first recipe I tried weighed in at around 700g once all ingredients were added, 340g flour, 65% hydration,15% butter, and the rest sugar, eggs, yeast, etc. I had previously successfully made it in the entry-level 275W Classic Plus before after around 10 minutes kneading on 2, which makes me really think it's a batch size issue and not related to the machine's power. The next thing I need to do is make a 1kg+ dough after I finish all my bread.

Guess I could return the machine and get an Artisan but Costco only sells the Pro 600 and I wanted my machine to be backed by a good return policy because of how much KA gets trashed on this forum for bread making.

algebread's picture
algebread

It was 500g of brioche dough to fit one small-ish loaf pan. I don't have any memories of it going badly, but perhaps I had to do some by-hand incorporation at the end and have just forgotten about it?

Another possibility is that the 6 and 7 quart bowls are shaped slightly differently. If the bowls had the same radius, then the 7 quart bowl  might have tighter curvature at the bottom, which could aid in mixing small batches by forcing the ingredients to the center more. This is all speculation though.

Gkarl's picture
Gkarl

did you you use the set screw to ensure the attachments were reaching the bottom of the bowl? 

David R's picture
David R

(The original post claims that the set-screw adjustment was done correctly on the first day of using the mixer.)

raycos's picture
raycos

By the way, I came across an interesting Amazon Q&A claiming that the 3 quart bowl for 5/6 qt KAs (i.e. Professional 5 and Pro 600) would work with the C shaped dough hook for 4.5 qt models along with one review corroborating this and not much else on the internet. Does anyone have any experience or insight about using the 3 qt bowl combined with the dough hook for the Artisan Mini or 4.5 qt models? I was thinking of trying out this combination and it seems like it should work as long as a smaller hook is used that doesn't scrape against the bowl.

MontBaybaker's picture
MontBaybaker

1)   Are you starting the mix with the beater, then switching to dough hook after it comes together?  The hook alone never did a great job of mixing for me.  For 15 years my KA Pro 6qt made dough for 12 sweet rolls (3-1/2 to 4 c. flour) using both.  Same with a Hobart KA 5qt the prior 18 years.  6qt bowl is 1/2-3/4" wider than 5qt (maybe a tiny bit taller - no longer have my 5qt).   Both were bowl lift style.   

2)  On #2 a new machine shouldn't be heating up that quickly IMO. 

3)  Bowl height was adjusted a few times over he years during other repairs (6qt head loosened up with proper bread dough use).  3 years ago my KA motor & mother board fried.  Bought Ankarsrum, which does fine with small batch dough now that I'm baking for two.  Just measured; the KA 6qt & Ank 7qt bowls are nearly the same width and height.

4)  If there's one nearby, maybe take it to a certified KA dealer/repair shop to have somebody check bowl height, beater & hook settings. 

5) Try a full batch to see what happens; freeze/share the extra.  Neighbors or co-workers like being recipe testers.  Hope you figure it out!  So frustrating to fight kitchen tools.   

bayslarry's picture
bayslarry

I suggest you return it back to Kitchenaid as they let their customers easy return and refund keeping in mind the KitchenAid Return Policy for 30 days.  

DanielCoffey's picture
DanielCoffey

I do 500g of flour batches of dough in my 5KSM7591 Heavy Duty and it works fine. The only time I find I get a layer of unmixed flour on the bottom is if I add the wet ingredients too quickly. Taking about 30 seconds to drizzle in the wet as it mixes at speed 2 seems to work reliably.

As for the comments about the KitchenAid gearbox quality, I think that KitchenAid may have redesigned the gearbox for the recent 5KSM7591 and 5KSM7990 models compared to earlier ones with the nylon gear and worm screw. It now appears to have a proper gearbox where all reduction is done in line with the axis of the motor rather than through that dreadful worm.

Here is a pic of the majority of the gearbox innards. The only missing gear in the set is the 90 degree down to the planetary ring.