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Can anyone tell me what the best technique is for using a stand mixer to make bread dough?

I just got a stand mixer with a dough hook and have started using it for mixing and kneading bread dough. It seems that I have to add more flour than I would expect to get it to "pull away from the sides of the bowl".

What should I expect at the different stages? What determines how long should I mix/knead, is there a simple set time?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Mixing bread with a stand mixer will normally take 10-12 minutes, depending on speed. A lot of this smaller mixers will tend to 'walk' if they are not anchored. Look for the dough to be smooth and supple, but not shiny. If it is shiny, and appears wet, it is over mixed. To start, it will look choppy and rough, sometimes you will have to pull all of the dough off of the hook and start up again, because it seems the dough will gravitate to the top of the hook and that part of the dough will not mix properly. This of course depends on the dough consistency to start with. Remember that a crusty bread dough will be stiffer, and a sweet dough will be soft, and should have a spot on the bottom that doesn't clear the bowl.

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I've noticed using a stand mixer, I tend to put in a LOT more flour. The problem is my bread never seem to come out very well, dense, dry and it doesn't rise worth a damn. I've started putting in a lot less flour, leaving the dough slightly sticky (though it JUST starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, but if I leave it going, it will start leaving a residue on the sides). I usually finish it off by hand adding just enough flour to leave it slightly moist on the outside, but not tacky.

It's very easy to work in too much flour, so just try a few batches, put in less flour than you think the dough can handle, do a little kneading by hand with some bench flour and then adjust your recipe as needed.

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