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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?

  • 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
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    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
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If you do most of the kneading while the dough is very wet (like Jeff Varasano recommends for his pizza dough here http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm), 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 that way. 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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As previous answers suggest: These hooks tend to come with most hand mixers, if they can be used, used with what kind of dough, and with what amount of dough is very model dependent.

From my own experience with a standard Siemens device (mymix 300W, specified as 0.5kg total weight in mixing bowl): recipes up to 500-600g flour will in practice work well (less for very heavy doughs). Making too wet doughs is not a good idea with that type of dough hook - since they have little working surface but high speed they will lose all "traction" on the dough if it is drippingly wet.

The advantage compared to hand kneading is that it is far easier to thoroughly incorporate an ingredient late in the kneading, and that you don't get the "kneading dough is nice, you get such clean hands from it" effect. Also, with some doughs these devices work very quick - minutes to a reasonably smooth dough. Disadvantage is the more restricted hydration range, and more disruptive action (these hooks can saw a ball of dough in half if applied from the right angle).

Physical strength is needed to control mixer and bowl, so there is no clear advantage there compared to hand kneading.

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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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