I am a rookie bread baker and I have been following some recipes that range in amounts of water and flour. I have a Kitchenaid artisan mixer that has been doing the hard work of kneading for me. My problem is knowing when to stop adding flour during mixing/kneading.
Some recipes say add flour until the dough is workable and then knead. My questions is, when they say use 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of flour but no more. How do I know when to stop, I have ruined a few loaves as they came out heavy and dense.
How do I know when to stop adding flour and let the gluten take care of the stickiness? I often find myself adding flour until the dough balls up and pulls from the sides but by then it's too late.
On the other side, I have kneaded for 15 - 20 minutes waiting for the dough to pull sides of the bowl and it never happened.
When do I add flour and when do I just wait?
Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated!