Culinary Basics - Mixer Kneading
A lot of people ask me how I have time to bake bread and rolls. To be honest, if I had not discovered how to use my mixer to knead the dough for me, I probably would have called it quits.
I have a lot of trouble with my hands and arms and though I love making bread and dough recipes, the kneading really got to be a literal pain.
Then I happened to notice that my Kitchenaid mixer had a lovely dough hook and deciding that that was just too clever to ignore, I began experimenting!
I found to my surprise that I could still make bread and dough recipes but without the labor intensive kneading by hand - and the finished product has been just as delicious.
Basics of Mixer Kneading
By way of illustration of how easy it is to make breads using this technique, I make all of my breads and doughs (including pizza) posted here on hubpages by mixer kneading .
I have found that most recipes give me an idea of how my dough is progressing by the way it is supposed to look and how it should respond - some are sticky and some will need to be a smooth dough.
For instance, my pizza dough recipe, which actually starts out in the mixer, says to put it into the mixer and mix for 8 minutes until the dough becomes soft and starts to form. However, it then instructs you to let it rest for several minutes, mix again, and turn out and knead by hand for more minutes.
I decided to give it a try to see what would happen if I just did all the kneading with the dough hook. It worked beautifully - although I did lengthen the time of the kneading with the mixer method until I liked the way the dough looked. I also do the kneading on a low speed, usually around speed 2.
The first stage of bread or dough making is the most important in my opinion. Getting the water at the correct temperature and activating the yeast is crucial. Once I have done that and I'm certain that I've got a fermenting product going on, then I start to add my flour.
While the mixer is running at a low speed, with the protective plastic lip in place so as not to toss flour all over the kitchen and myself, I begin adding flour maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time. I let the mixer do the work for me of combining it all into a nice soft dough.
If there is another later addition of more flour, I let the mixer have its fun with the dough. No matter what recipe, I generally keep the mixer kneading away for about 6-8 minutes for the first knead time.
Then I let it rest for a bit - maybe 2-5 minutes. Then I remix it again and add that last bit of flour if the recipe calls for it.
If the recipe says now that all the flour is added, it should be kneaded for 8 minutes for instance, I go ahead and do that and might tack on a few extra minutes just in case.
You can generally tell if the dough is becoming the right consistency - if it is making a nice smooth dough and coming off the sides of the mixer bowl, you will know that it is being perfectly kneaded.
My bread dough is denser than my pizza dough and turns out to be much smoother, whereas the pizza dough is quite sticky. However, I do both of these doughs and they turn out perfectly. Roll dough also comes out beautifully using the mixer method.
It is important just to know your dough and make sure that the final consistency is appropriate for the recipe. The more you make breads or dough recipes you will know what to look for.
Even if you don't routinely make bread or other doughs, or you have never made them before, if you have a mixer and a recipe, you can experiment. I would almost guarantee that if you have the proper temperature and your fermentation is correct, you will have 100% success.
I turn out the dough after my mixer has done the kneading for me and then carry on with the rest of the recipe as in rising and baking.
It's as simple as that!
Recipe for Mixer Kneaded French Bread
Old Reliable French Bread from Recipe Zaar
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups water at 105 to 115 degrees
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon melted margarine or butter
- 7 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl.
- Add salt, butter, and flour.
- Attach bowl & dough hook to mixer. Use speed 2 and mix about 1 minute or until well blended.
- Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer. Dough will be sticky. Put dough in large greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch dough down and divide in half.
- Roll each half into 12" x 15" rectangle.
- Roll dough tightly, from longest side, tapering ends, if needed/wanted. Put loaves on greased baking sheets that have been dusted with cornmeal.
- Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- With sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf.
- Bake at 450F for 25 minutes, then remove from oven. Beat egg white and water together and brush each loaf with this mix.
- Return to the oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.
Summing Up Mixer Kneading
In a pinch, I figured I could always go to buying frozen bread dough or something similar and just give up making my own doughs. However, I love making French bread or sandwich bread, my own pizza doughs, dinner rolls, etc. The thought of giving it up quite frankly made me sad because I would miss the wonderful aromas that baking bread brings to a home.
Much to my weary hands and arms' relief, mixer kneading turned out to be a very viable alternative. I literally whip up several pizza doughs, pop them into the freezer, and then make up 2 or 3 loaves of bread - all without ever using my hands and arms to do all that kneading.
I have a bread-maker but frankly, I've never been a huge fan. The bread never tasted quite the same and the texture was a bit 'off' in my opinion. I use mine mostly for going through the kneading phase if I use it, then I take it out and bake in the oven. In my opinion, that method though is less perfect than the mixer kneading method.
Try it on some bread recipes and see if it doesn't work for you! I basically take any dough recipe and substitute the mixer for any part of major stirring or kneading - adding on a few extra minutes usually or if necessary by the look of the dough.
Kneading with a mixer can be a great addition to your culinary basics and cooking techniques if properly employed!
How to Make Bread with Your Kitchenaid
More on Bread Making
How to Knead Pizza Dough with a Mixer
Kneading the Old-Fashioned Way
Great Tips and Recipes - Mixer Kneading
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Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on June 14, 2010:
Judydianne - hope you will find it as wonderful as I do. That is the best pizza dough I've ever used and the kneading with the mixture just gives me all the room I need to do anything! It's so hard on my hands and wrists to knead and had given up on breads pretty much until I remembered the dough hook, too! Enjoy your cooking extravaganza!
judydianne from Palm Harbor, FL on June 14, 2010:
Thank you for explaining how to make pizza dough with the mixer. My son got me a stand-up mixer for Christmas and I used it a lot when I was taking cake decorating classes. It came with the bread dough hooks, but I haven't tried anything yet. I will definitely not get my housework done this week with all these new ideas from you! I want to try the pizza dough!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on June 14, 2010:
Hello, hello - anything to help save hands, wrists, and arms is on my list as a great helper! My son does not have a stand-up mixer either but a hand one and he is going to do my pizza dough the same way as you said - and it'll be just as great! Thanks so much for reading.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on June 14, 2010:
These Mixers are a great help. I haven't the means to buy the full machine but I have an electric handmixer and it definitely does a great job and saves my energy. Thank you for your hub.