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I just got a new stand mixer - a nice, heavy 500W mixer with a 5-liter bowl. Until now, I'd been making bread by hand and kneading it on the countertop.

So the first thing I tried was using the mixer with the kneading hook, but I find that the dough tends to get wrapped around the hook and just spins around along with it.

I guess I'm doing something wrong, but I'm not sure if it's my technique or my ingredients. I'm using the same bread recipes as I did before. Any ideas?

Edit:

Thanks for all the input, guys. Here's some more info:

  • The mixer is a Kenwood KMix KMX-50.
  • I've tried adjusting the height of the dough hook up and down, I'm not sure how far from the bowl's surface it should be. Any suggestions? I don't think
  • I doubt it's a volume/quantity issue - I'm using a kilo of flour, which is around the 1.3kg bread weight limit of the spec.
  • I mix at low speed.

I'll try Sobachatina's suggestion and try to add water. Let's see how it turns out. Thanks for all your suggestions!

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Maybe it's too little dough for the bowl, so it's not catching on the sides enough to pull at it? Seems like the answer would then be smaller bowl or more dough. (I don't have a stand mixer.) –  Jefromi Nov 14 '11 at 13:41
    
Do you have the C-hook dough hook or the spiral? –  rfusca Nov 14 '11 at 15:01
    
Does the dough hit the sides of the bowl at all? –  rfusca Nov 14 '11 at 15:07
    
I have a little rubber bung that goes where the attachment is inserted, this prevents the dough climbing the hook. Don't suppose it came with one of those? –  Gary Nov 14 '11 at 23:25
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A kilo of flour produces much more than 1.3 kg dough. Standard, easy-to-work-with dough will use 600 ml of water per kg flour. So if you actually make 1.6 kg dough, you are overloading the mixer. If you use 1 kg flour and 300 ml water, your dough is way too hard. –  rumtscho Nov 18 '11 at 14:38

10 Answers 10

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I mix dough in my kitchenAide all the time, and this happens all the time, so through the process I check the consistency and dryness and I've developed a feel for the "just right formula", but being ADHD I don't go in with precise measurements each time, but that would be a good idea once perfection is found. So anywho, I take a strong spatula from time to time and cut it of the hook, to give it a nice restart with hook on outside of dough ball. but your dough needs to be dry enough that it is cleaning itself off the bowl and it will the hook too. It's designed to find that perfect balance so that it starts wet and sticky and then as the gluten starts to web it becomes self cleaning, and the kneading is drying it a little or maybe the material is absorbing the liquid, either way it goes from dry to wet. Another thing I do if the hook is wrapped in dough instead of working against the sides, I briefly turn up the speed and that will throw the dough to the sides and sometimes clean it.

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Do you add a little bit of flour after a few minutes if there's no change? –  Jono Feb 22 '12 at 8:34

I have heard of people spraying the hook down with non-stick spray before using it. That might help.

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This only works if you have an initial very wet dough that will start to hydrate as it mixes. I've tried it many a time and it never seems to help much past the first 30 seconds or so. –  rfusca Nov 14 '11 at 15:02

I think this is a problem of the mixer itself. I have never had a stand mixer, but my old no-name hand mixer had exactly the same problem. My new Bosch hand mixer is great for dough.

Before I bought the Bosch, I read not only test magazines, but also customer reviews at Amazon and others, and one thing they mentioned is that it has the "power" to knead the dough, so it doesn't climb up the hooks like with other mixers. From what I understand about mixers, it isn't only the power (although the 500W number probably doesn't mean the same thing across brands - is this input power, output power, is it under load, is it average or maximum power, etc.?) but mostly the torque. Two different motors can output the same power with different torque, and if the torque isn't enough, the hook won't be able to go through the dough.

The best way to recognize if that is what is happening is to listen at what happens with the dough. When you whip something easy, like cream, you hear an even humming from the motor. With dough, if the mixer can't handle it, the hooks rotate slower, and the humming is different. With a hand mixer, you can even hear the change in tone and feel the slowing if you press the hooks into the dough. I don't know how you can imitate it with the stand mixer, maybe use a non-fixed big bowl and try to move the bowl so the dough gets pressed against the hooks. If they slow and the motor growls, it is just not strong enough.

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Did you mix using high speed?

Using a relative low speed will reduce the likelihood of the dough to wrap around the hook.

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I only tried at low speeds. –  Jono Nov 18 '11 at 12:18

Jono,

If the mixer you have is a Kitchen Aid, I suspect that the issue is poor alighnment of the dough hook with the bowl. According to a Kitchen Aid sales rep I spoke to about this, if you get the exact right bowl height (by adjusting the screws) then this problem gets much better. However, I have tried this and not been successful; I suspect that the angle may need adjusting as well, and the KA doesn't give you any way to adjust that.

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There are two main reasons that this will happen. Not enough dough and not enough water.

When making bread dough by hand you want drier dough so that it can be conveniently worked. You also don't want to be elbow deep in dough so it's nicer to make smaller batches. On the other hand, when using a stand mixer the dough needs to be softer and deep enough to make good contact with the side of the bowl.

The dough in your mixer should be dry enough to pull away from the sides of the bowl and leave the sides relatively clean. It should remain wet enough to stay very soft and tacky to the touch. As a plus- the wetter dough will result in a much nicer consistency for your bread as well.

Play with your recipe until you find a consistency and volume that your mixer will handle well. Each time I have acquired a new mixer I have had to adjust my bread recipe for it.

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I'm not sure it's a quantity issue. The spec for the mixer says 1.3kg of dough is the limit, and I use a kilo of flour, so it should be about right. –  Jono Nov 18 '11 at 12:17

I think I finally found a solution, which worked for me: I started with @monte-hill's notes about how the dough is too wet, causing it to stick, and added something I learned elsewhere.

My mistake was that I was dumping all the liquids into the mixing bowl right at the start.

The best solution I found that works is to GRADUALLY add the liquids. I put a about half plus a bit extra in the bowl at the start, then start the mixer. Once all the fluid has been absorbed, I add the rest. I've tried this a couple of times already, and it's made a complete difference in the results and the process!

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Good point. Reinhart (a known bread author) actually suggests using a paddle for mixing and only changing to a hook after the dough has come together. –  rumtscho Mar 13 '12 at 12:33
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@Rumtscho- that sounds like advice from someone who doesn't have to wash the dishes when he's done. –  Sobachatina Jul 26 '13 at 16:15

Nothing will stop dough sticking to the hook.You will have to stop the process regularly and "cut" off the dough witha wooden/plastic spatula. Let the mixer do the hard work but finish off by hand fora couple if minutes. I have done the experiments . I usually work to 1kg flour to 600ccs water. The yeast/oil/sugar/salt seems to matter very little to the stickiness.....what DOES matter is how fast the yeast works in the mixer and so I now leave out the yeast, I am using fresh, and crumble it in just before my 2 minutes hand kneading. If it works too quickly in the mixer the dough will always get too sticky. Fresh yeast needs a good long rise, even overnight, BUT ( purists will scream) I let it rise in its final baking repository and never knock it back. Basically, single dough hooks on a single drive do not work. You just have to accept it! Best, tectak

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There are other answers to the question that give tricks to avoid that stickiness. Can you explain why you sat nothing will stop sticking? –  J.A.I.L. Jan 13 '13 at 12:31
    
Yeasts will work faster depending on the quantity you add. Putting less yeast will make dough rise less quickly. 1 part of fresh yeast has the same effect as 1/3 of dry one. –  J.A.I.L. Jan 13 '13 at 12:33

I add all the water but only about 3/4 of the flour and let the hook do most of the kneading that way. Then when I add the rest of the flour a little at a time the dough starts to climb.

But I'm okay with it then because stopping to pull it off the hook occasionally gives me a chance to feel the dough. When the dough nearly falls off the hook by itself-- it's ready.

It seems like less strain on the motor too for the first part of the kneading action.

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Your mixer is not good enough for bread. A good bread mixer has a sprial with a braker bar in the middle, but this is not cheap.

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