If a recipe calls for ten minutes hand kneading a bread dough, how long should it take to knead in a mixer using dough hooks?
It seems there is no reliable conversion formula - if you check the websites of mixer manufacturers, they go as low as 1/5 of the time (KitchenAid) or suggest machine-kneading for about 4/5 (Bosch). And I don’t think it’s just because the KitchenAid is so super fast.
The good thing is that the lack of a formula forces you to learn how to recognize a well-kneaded dough. I let you in on a little secret here: if a recipe gives a kneading time, it’s simply an estimation or approximation of how long a user may have to knead to reach a certain stage. Individual technique and even working speed varies so much, that a value like ten minutes is just ballpark number.
When you prepare a bread dough, your goal is to create a gluten structure that will trap the gasses and give you the desired crumb texture. There are two main methods:
- One uses mechanical kneading for a “long” time and you can recognize the desired results when the dough becomes very homogeneous, smooth and so elastic that it can be stretched to almost translucent thinness (-> window pane test). That’s what a recipe that calls for ten minutes of kneading is aiming for, so check for that stage when using a stand mixer.
- The other approach doesn’t knead, but just mixes the ingredients and let the gluten develop over time (-> no-knead bread, stretch-and-fold). But that’s a totally different concept that needs a lot more time. Not the method of your recipe, though.
So in short, if you really need a number (e.g. if you want to set a timer and walk away), instead of finding a generic conversion formula, you could measure how long it takes for your recipe and your machine to get a well-kneaded dough and then use that value in the future.
Really difficult to simply say that it would require x% compared to hand-kneading. Heck, you really shouldn't pay attention to time guidelines when mixing dough at all due to the numerous factors that can have an effect on gluten development (acidity, temperature, hydration, etc.). Do a quick google search on 'gluten window' and you will then know how to judge proper gluten structure.
Once you do it a few times you will be able to do it by eye.