Is there anything more delicious or smells better than freshly baked bread? Many people think that making bread from scratch is a real pain, but when you come down to it, making bread is relatively easy. The only tedious part is kneading the dough, which can be difficult for anyone with arthritis or other issues with their hands.
But, if you have a stand mixer, this isn’t something you need to worry about, as it will do all the work for you. Simply add the ingredients and turn on the mixer. Most of the time, you don’t even have to scrape the bowl because the paddles will take care of it.
Today we will discuss how to knead dough with a stand mixer so you get perfect loaves every time. Let’s get started.
- Bread Machine or Stand Mixer?
- Let the Stand Mixer do Most of the Work
- How Long Should You Let the Mixer Knead Bread Dough?
- When is the Dough Kneaded Enough?
- Stand Mixer Dough-Kneading Tips
Bread Machine or Stand Mixer?
A few years back, bread machines were all the rage. One could toss in the ingredients, and the machine did the rest. But it is not ideal by any means. Have you ever noticed how tough the bread crust is when the bread is made in a bread machine? This usually isn’t a problem when baked in a traditional oven.
Sure, you do have to do a bit more with a stand mixer, but when the end result is much better than a bread machine, it is worth it. All you have to do is turn the stand mixer on, keep an eye on it as it kneads the dough to check on its consistency, and then remove the dough from the bowl so it can rise. While you don’t have to do these things with a bread machine, it isn’t all that big of a deal.
One drawback of stand mixers is that they aren’t made for kneading dough daily unless you have an industrial-strength mixer. Using a stand mixer in this manner regularly can be quite hard on the motor, whereas a bread machine is made for doing this. But we still prefer our bread made the old-fashioned way.
Let the Stand Mixer do Most of the Work
One of the best things about using a stand mixer to make bread dough is that you don’t have to do much work yourself. Simply add the ingredients, and the mixer will do all the heavy work. In fact, you don’t need to worry about what order to add the ingredients. Just dump them in, and the stand mixer will blend them together.
Attach the dough hook and ensure the mixer is on the lowest setting. Give it a minute or two, and then see if the dough will be the correct consistency. It should be in the form of a ball and not stick to the sides of the bowl.
If it is sticking, you will likely need to add a bit more flour—a teaspoonful or so at a time, so you don’t add too much.
How Long Should You Let the Mixer Knead Bread Dough?
Once your dough is mixed and has the proper moisture level, let the stand mixer knead it. This should be done on the lowest setting, which will take several minutes. There is much more to kneading bread dough than mixing other recipes, such as cakes.
It is a good idea to set a timer to ensure that the dough is thoroughly kneaded.
Begin by letting the machine knead the dough for about five minutes; then, let the dough rest for five minutes. The stand mixer will feel warm, but this is normal. It just means that the motor needs to rest for a few minutes, so it doesn’t burn out.
After you let it rest, repeat the process, allowing the machine to knead the dough for another five minutes. Then, you can see if the dough is ready to start rising.
When is the Dough Kneaded Enough?
There are many ways to tell if the dough is kneaded enough, but the best way is to look for “windows.” These spots in the dough become translucent when you stretch it out.
The dough needs more kneading if it tears because the gluten is not adequately developed. If it easily stretches and becomes thin enough to almost see through, it has been kneaded enough. If you are making a wet dough or a dough that takes longer than others to rise, you won’t always be able to tell by the “window” test.
Realistically, the dough must be kneaded for at least 15 to 20 minutes, so you will need to turn on the stand mixer a minimum of four to five times and allow the motor to rest for five minutes between kneading intervals.
Stand Mixer Dough-Kneading Tips
While a stand mixer does all the heavy work when making bread, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do anything yourself. Here are a few tips when using a stand mixer to knead bread dough.
Make Sure the Machine is Up to the Job
Not every stand mixer is designed to knead bread dough, so read the instruction manual before making bread. Ensure that the motor has the power to handle heavy bread dough; the last thing you want is to burn out the motor on a machine that is expensive to replace.
Use the Dough Hook
Always use the dough hook when making bread dough in a stand mixer. This single hook is spiral or curved and comes standard with most stand mixers. It has been designed explicitly for kneading dough, and it works the dough in roughly the same manner as kneading it by hand.
Keep an Eye on the Machine
Even though the stand mixer does the bulk of the work, it is still never a good idea to completely walk away when the dough is being kneaded until you are used to using it and know how it works.
Some machines are lighter weight than others, and you could end up walking into the kitchen only to find it “walking” off the counter or table.
If walking happens, you can hold the machine while it is working or keep moving it back as it travels across the counter. This may even happen with some types of dough and not others because some are softer. The thicker and heavier the dough, the harder the stand mixer must work.
Do Not Over-Knead the Dough
When using a stand mixer to make bread dough, it can be easy to overwork the dough, and your bread won’t cook properly. When the dough is kneaded too much, it gets harder to push down and flatten. If you try to fold it, you will end up with a loaf of bread with a crust that is too hard and a crumbly interior.
This is why it is essential to check the dough every few minutes. Do the “window” test each time you give the machine a break. You can expect your bread to come out perfect if it passes the test.
Remove the Bowl to Let the Dough Rise
Take the bowl off the stand mixer when it is time to let the bread dough rise. Even if the machine is in the raised position, you could end up having the hook touching the dough as it rises and gets larger, and this could hurt the rising process. So, simply remove the bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap to keep in the heat.
If you love to bake bread but don’t enjoy all the work that goes into it, consider getting a good stand mixer. It will do most of the muscle work, and once you get the hang of using this machine, you will want to make bread more often because it is that easy when you have a machine doing the heavy work.