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I own a Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer and everytime I try to use the dough hooks to make bread, I always end up using WAYY more flour than the recipe calls for.

For example, I was trying to make bread using this recipe that calls for:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 1/8 cups all purpose flour

After mixing all the ingredients together using the paddle attachment and everything is clumping together, I switch to the dough hook. After a bit of kneading, I probably add close to 1/2 more cup of flour because I see a bunch of dough sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Even when I lift my attachment up, I can see the dough drooping down. I just keep adding more flour until it doesn't stick to the bottom, at which point I feel like I added close to a cup extra of All purpose flour (Robin hood flour). I'm worried that this will make my dough too dense and I don't know what to do. I knead it on speed 3 for about 10 mins and then for another 15 until I can see the dough hold its shape. Am I doing something wrong?

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Pre-measure ingredients. Start mixing with liquids first, when adding the flour, pause adding at about equal water to flour until fully incorporated, then add from your remaining flour a little at a time. Watching its development. The answer below is very good, learn bread baking a little at a time, with experience you can modify recipes. –  Optionparty Dec 23 '13 at 17:27
    
Don't use cups to measure your flour -- they're very inaccurate, as packing density can vary a lot. Weigh it. –  Mike Scott Dec 24 '13 at 20:30

3 Answers 3

I agree with rumtscho that your dough is probably way too wet, but I'd like to make a few other points as well:

You don't necessarily need to add extra flour just because your dough is sticking to the bottom of your bowl. And definitely don't add any flour until your dough is fairly smooth (unless you already have a feel for the recipe). The flour will absorb a lot of water as you work the dough, so dough that seems way too wet after one minute of kneading may be fine after six.

Also, I've found that with the hook design in the Kitchenaid, dough frequently sticks to the bottom even with proper hydration. Just use a scraper to turn your dough out of your bowl and give it a fold to make sure that there isn't an underworked spot on the bottom.

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The problem is your recipe. It is for a very wet dough, 94% hydration (I am calculating with 120 g per cup of flour here). I wouldn't do this even with bread flour, much less all purpose. Even if you somehow manage to get it into a bakeable shape (with lots of stretch-and-fold hand kneading in oil, it may manage to hold its shape long enough to be transferred into a pan without dripping on the way), it will bake into an unpleasant rubbery bread.

Don't add more flour to a bad recipe, as your yeast and salt amount will not be optimal for the amount of flour. Generally, you can adjust the water a bit, but if the recipe is so wildly off as this one, I wouldn't trust the other ratios to fit well either.

My suggestion is to pick a better recipe. Bread hydration basically means the ratio of water to flour by weight, so if you want to use all purpose flur, look for a ratio between 60% and 75%. For example, a recipe for 500 g flour (4 cups) will need somewhere between 300 and 375 ml of water (300/500 = 0.6, or 60%).

There are good breads made with very high hydration, for example certain ciabattas. Some even go above 100% hydration (so more water than flour). I wouldn't recommend starting with them until you are a fairly advanced bread baker. Make a range of breads using different hydrations, enrichments and kneading techniques before moving on to those. Most home bakers will never need it anyway and will be happy to stay with the tasty, easily made recipes.

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I agree with the others in that sticking to the bottom isn't necessarily a problem

... but you're almost always going to want to add extra flour to dough being made in a mixer.

It's probably not a 1/2 c for smaller batches, but more like 1/8 to 1/4 cup.

The issue is that if you had been kneading this by hand, you'd have floured the bench as you went, and slowly work in more flour than in the recipe. If you're doing this by machine, you won't end up doing that, so I'll add some extra to compensate ... but I stop when it's pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it's still sticking a lot to the bottom, I'll take a dough scraper, loosen it from the bottom, then restart the mixer to see how it behaves and if it needs more flour.

And make sure to read any notes in the recipe about what consistency you're looking for -- I have a couple of breads that go into loaf pans, unkneaded, and are closer to a batter than a dough.

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