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I bought a fairly inexpensive (<$50) hand mixer a while back, and when I was organizing the kitchen I came across a set of dough hook attachments for it.

I thought dough was too heavy for a hand mixer's tiny motor to knead, but if that's the case, why did it come with dough hooks?

Can I use my hand mixer to knead dough?

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The last part of the first sentence got eaten by the engine because it thought it might be a HTML tag. For anyone reading this, the line ends with: (<$50) hand mixer a while back, and when I was organizing the kitchen I came across a set of dough hook attachments for it. – Yi Jiang Jan 25 '11 at 11:50
I'd say the dough hooks are most likely just a selling point. They're not going to be all that useful (see actual answers), but if it came down to getting one with the dough hooks and one that didn't include them, many people would go with the dough hooks without considering that they're largely useless. – bikeboy389 Jan 25 '11 at 14:48
It depends of the brand, you didn't mention it on your post. I've heard great reviews about the dough hooks for the KitchenAid, for instance. What brand is yours? =) – user11100 Aug 1 '12 at 4:57
Doubtful. The mixer likely uses a plastic worm gear drive to step down the AC motor to mixing speeds. Those wear very fast under heavy load. I once blew out a mixer such as you describe, straight from the store, on a single mix of wet brownie batter. Even many of today's stand mixers, I'm looking at you KitchenAid, have plastic gears that'll disintigrate if your dough is too doughy. – Wayfaring Stranger Nov 23 '14 at 0:56
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you do most of the kneading while the dough is very wet (like Jeff Varasano recommends for his pizza dough here, you should be able to do most of it with even a comparatively weak hand mixer and not have too much trouble holding it steady enough (see link - gluten IS working even though the dough is still only slightly more dry than a batter).

That said, if you try to work with a drier dough, even if your motor can handle it (which it likely can't), it will probably be more difficult to hold the mixer than to just knead the dough by hand.

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I ruined a handmixer like that. I was kneading breaddough with it and indeed the engine couldn't cope and overheated/stressed out. I had to buy a new one. So be carefull. And indeed, it wasn't easy at all to hold the mixer or the bowl with the dough..

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I just made texas roadhouse rolls (4 cups of flour and about 3 cups of other ingredients) with a ge 300 watt hand mixer and dough attachments. The mixer handled it perfectly fine... I on the other hand found it difficult to hang on to the bowl and mixer but it is definitely doable.

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