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Dough doesn't ball in mixer

Ittayd's picture

Dough doesn't ball in mixer


I have a 65% hydration dough (water, flour, levain, salt). I put it in the mixer for 10 minutes (on speed 1, my mixer is Kenwood), and it's just a gooey mess. I've seen videos where even at 70% it balls on the hook. What am I doing wrong? 

One thing may be is that I use warm water. Maybe switch to cold? 

I've tried using the minimum speed for 5 minutes, let it rest, then on high for 5. I tried the reverse. I tried low-high-low. Always with the same result.

Note it does form a sort of a window pane. So maybe balling on the hook is not something I need to pursue? 

DanAyo's picture
  1. Are you using the hook
  2. Are you sure the hydration is 65%
  3. What flour are you using

Pictures and/or short videos would be a great help.

What you are describing is very unusual.

Ittayd's picture

1. Yes

2. These were the measuremenrs (in grams) I used today: Starter 214, Water 484, Bread flour 711, Rye 91, Salt 18. My starter is 100 hydrated (fed at 1:1:1 ratio of old starter, flour, water) 

I can provide a video only next week when I bake again. 

DanAyo's picture

10% rye shouldn’t make much difference.

The video should show us what we need to know.

Ittayd's picture

Brotaniker's picture

Mine doesn't really ball in the kneader. My total flour is about 700g. It's either some mess on the bowl walls, or sometimes, rarely, the dough is running up the hook.

It does not bother me too much. I use the silicone spatula to get it from the wall back to to the hook, and I do autolyse, so I don't need to knead for long anyway, just to salt and sometimes yeast into it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

without the sourdough starter? 

Ittayd's picture

mariana's picture

Hi Ittay, 

Is balling on the hook something you need to pursue? Yes and no. Balling simply means that gluten is forming very well. If you don't pursue that goal or maximum gluten formation, then don't pursue balling on the hook. 

The proper way is to first add just enough water so that a ball of dough has formed, knead it, and only then add tiny amounts of water little by little, while kneading, until you reach the hydration level, or dough softness, that you want. 

How much water to add initially to form a ball depends on your flour: how dry and how strong your flour is. This you would discover from experience. Someone else's flour could be so dry and so strong, that 70% hyrdation is nothing for them. A ball of dough forms just like that, easy. For another person dealing with moist and weak flour 70% hydration would result in impossibly soupy, flowing dough that would never form a ball with a single hydration approach. 

Your water could be cold or warm, it depends on the desired dough temperature as indicated in the recipe and on the type of yeast that you are using. It has nothing to do with kneading/ball forming. For as long as your dough temperature is below 30C/85F, it is safe to knead it. Higher temperatures are riskier, because they affect gluten formation and gluten development. 

There are two videos that I found on Youtube that show how to mix properly in Kenwood, one with autolysis, another one is without. Both show the double hydration method. I know that you have a newer model of Kenwood, but the motor is the same and the principle and duration of kneading in that particular mixer is the same. 

Double hydration with autolysis

mixing high hydration dough in Kenwood w/o autolysis, English subtitles


BernardH's picture

I never had much success with the dough hook in my Kenwood. In the end I gave up on it and switched to kneading by hand. Now I've learnt how the dough feels as the gluten develops my bread is turning out much better.