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Appropriate Mixer Speeds for Bread

Nov 19, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose

Hi Rose,

I am an experienced home cook (actually a "foodie"), but not a baker, who is finally ready to tackle yeast breads. Over the years I have avoided yeast breads due to lack of time and patience. Truth be told, yeast dough intimidates me! I have purchased a new Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer (5 quart). I've also armed myself with your recent book, "The Bread Bible" and am ready to venture into the area of dough using starters or bigas.

However, I do have one initial concern and that has to do with the speed at which the dough is mixed. On page 50 in your book, you recommend using speed #4 on a Kitchen Aid for kneading dough (speed #2 if a stiff dough). The instruction manual which came with my KA mixer states in several places NOT to go beyond speed #2 when mixing yeast dough's.

So my question is: With your vast experience, is it possible to indeed mix yeast dough at speed #4 or should I follow the instruction manual and never exceed speed #2? Secondly, what qualifies a "stiff dough"? Kitchen Aid doesn't seem to qualify, i.e., the manual offers the caveat for mixing "yeast dough" in general not to exceed speed #2.

I've read your book through, now I look forward to using it as intended. I've also enjoyed your PBS series in its entirety, "Baking Magic with Rose Levy Beranbaum". You are, indeed, a wonderful instructor and a great source of inspiration. I hope to make beautiful baguettes with your help. Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely,
Penny

dear penny,
this is a very important question that several people have asked since the book first cake out. It is my understanding (and practice) that kitchen aid recommends no higher than speed #2 because if the dough is stiff it wil, over time,l wear out the motor. for many doughs, however, using speed #2 would require extremely long beating in order to develop the gluten adequately--maybe as long as 20 minutes, during which you should never walk away from the mixer as it could fall off the counter. I think it is necessary to trust one's judgement here. a bagel, for example, is a dry, stiff dough, and if you used a high speed you would actually hear the motor straining. if ever you hear this sound you will recognize it and should immediately lower the speed.

I hope you enjoy your adventures in bread baking. as I'm working on a new cake book, I am enjoying baking cakes but sneak in an occasional bread just because I love making it so much.

best baking,
rose

Comments

rose Levy Beranbaum
rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Ken
02/05/2013 05:21 PM

hi ken. if you have the bread bible you can see my explanation in detail. briefly, i find a stiff starter slightly less acidic, doesn't need to be fed as often, and easier to use.

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Hi Rose,is there a reason why, with sour dough breads, you have a very stiff starter? I use a starter that is like a very thick pancake batter,was wondering the difference between the consitancy of the 2.It's a San Fransico sour dough starter.

Thank you for your time!
Ken

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Carl Singer
Carl Singer
12/04/2011 08:31 PM

This is a simple sacaduros question. I have made them twice with some success. The question: I assume when the recipe calls for hearth bread dough that I should take the dough through the two risings and then begin to make the rolls according to the recipe. Yes?

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Hi Sue,
If you are making Rose's hot rolls. we think it could be from them over rising before you bake them. Which recipe are you making?

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rose,i need help please.when i make hot rolls i go by the recipe,its when i put them in the pre-heated oven,they fall and get almost flat.thank you rose.

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Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Ruth
05/23/2011 01:11 PM

ruth, i tried the first clear flour for rye bread and was not happy with the result. the top cracked a great deal and neither the flavor nor the texture was an improvement. maybe you could try using a little of it in a basic hearth bread just to see what it does and then you can decide if you want to increase it, decrease it or just eliminate it.

i'm like you--i like to try all the new things i hear about! sometimes it's worth it and other times disappointing and wonder why i wasted my time but yet there's always the chance of learning something from every experiment!

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Hi There,
I have been experimenting with Rye breads and wonder why I haven't done so before! I've made the rye bread from the Bread Bible and also one from the KAF cookbook. Both were great but I preferred the Bible's finished loaf. With the KAF recipe, the pickle juice appealed to me. When looking over the KAF website, I noticed an ingredient of first clear flour for a rye bread recipe. For fun, I added it to my shopping list and it's on its way. I'm wondering how I can incorporate first clear flour into your Real Jewish Rye bread. I couldn't find any conversions on a web search. Or, will it add any to your already wonderful recipe?. Or, did I just sucker myself into another purchase I didn't need? Thanks!
Ruth

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Thank you so much!!!!

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It is a ratio of the weight of the liquid to the weight of the flour. For example, a recipe with 50 grams of water and 100 grams of flour would be at 50% hydration. That number tells you how sticky the dough will be and what the texture of the finished bread will be like.

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I'm just starting to bake bread what does the term ??% hydration mean

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they're both wonderful but i adore the magic mill.

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My KA Pro 600 died - while mixing a batch of sourdough (finished it by hand - the show must go on!) but now Im looking for a new mixer - going a bit crazy trying to pick between the Bosch or the Magic Mill.. Rose, what do you suggest?

REPLY

Hi Suzanne,
This is actually a very complex question. Crusty bread like the commercial guys bake really requires a steam oven. I have never had any great success with home methods for introducing steam. They improve the crust somewhat but never seem to satisfy. The best home crust I have been able to produce was with the "no knead bread" recipe/method. Google it and you will find many references. Have your husband give it a spin I think he will be amazed. I have a convection oven and I don't think it makes for a crustier bread. The bread does bake faster though.

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Hi Rose,

Same questions as Penny about convection oven and stone. My husband is the bread guy. He can't make a crusty bread. He steams, sprays and uses a stone. Would the convection be better for this?

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Dear Rose,

........I want to make a sourdough version of a biscuit recipe I make. I use a biscuit recipe that has extra yeast in it, and requires 8 hrs-overnight rising in my refrigerator. The dough flavor changes after 48 hrs or so, (if I haven't baked it already), becoming more acidic (sour), with a strong scent of alcohol the longer it stays in the fridge.
........Is it safe to bake and serve if it is kept refrigerated for less than a week from dough creation?
..If safe to do, and I let its flavor change on purpose, can I call it "sourdough?"
..Could I encourage a more rapid flavor development by adding extra yeast?
After reading about sourdough starters, I got curious about my "living dough." Thanks

REPLY

Guess I posted my question in the wrong place earlier. Your bread bible book along with other bread authors refer to biga, sponge,poolish, preferment, pate permente - Now I want to use Sourdough instead of all those. Can you please help me and let me know how to go about the substition? Im fairly new in the bread baking department and my husband and I really love sourdough. There's so many recipes in your Bread Bible and I don't know what to do. Appreciate your guidance. Thanks.

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thanks matthew and david, you don't mention what kind of flour you're using and whether you weight or measure and if you measure how you measure!

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I can think of two things--you may not be baking the bread long enough or to a high enough internal temperature--or are you slicing the bread before you allow it to cool for 1-2 hours?

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Hi Rose,
I love the your Bread Bible and have now been baking bread two to three times a week for a couple of month. However, I'm have a little trouble with the basic artisan recipe. When finished, my bread seems just a little too moist; for instance, if you press your finger into a slice slightly, it's doesn't bounce back and forms a quasi-paste texture. The loaf tastes great, there are plenty of bubbles and the crust is fantastic, but this moisture problem is driving me crazy. I've tried reducing the hydration to no avail. Is it possible that I'm over kneading the bread? Any tips you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

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i wrote the same thing in the book! and if using part whole wheat or lots of grains it never forms a good window.

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Maybe it is just me, but I haven't found the window pane test to be that reliable, although it seems to be a widely recommended technique.

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i addressed all this in the bread bible. you can't go from higher speeds to lower as you "unmix" the dough. my dough does not exceed 80F. you'll see when you read through the techniques that with each machine i advise at what temperature to begin mixing and how to have certain ingredients at the required temperature to achieve this.

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Jerry C Iacono
Jerry C Iacono
12/12/2007 07:28 PM

Rose,
I am confused. You suggest mixing ( by KA) at Speed 4 . The higher the speed, the higher the dough temperature, the higher the probability of damaging the gluten, and developing "off flavors". What about the following as a suggestion: mix dough with cold water (say 60*-65*); then mix at Speed 2 making sure that dough temp. does not exceed 80*; if it does, slow down to Stir or stop. Allow dough to cool down. Then restart or finish by hand. Mix initially for 5 minutes. Perform windowpane test. This test will tell you if additional mixing is required or not.

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the reason is two fold--over 90 degrees can produce off flavors and also it will rise more quickly thus NOT producing the complex flavors you desire.

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It is my understanding that doughs after kneading should not be more than 78-80 degrees for fermentation. I am using the straight dough method. So why is that when the dough that comes out of the mixer at 85-90 degrees has a volume and texture that is better than bread that is fermenting at 78-80 degrees?

REPLY

Jerry,
That is a hydration level that I can knead by hand, although not easily, so I think your mixer should certainly be able to handle it. I would read the thread above and try increasing the speed to 4.

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Jerry C Iacono
Jerry C Iacono
12/04/2007 07:16 PM

I have been trying with no success to knead ( by KA mixer) dough containing 70% water (by weight) to obtain airy baguettes. The dough after 5 minutes of mixing (using dough hook), at Speed 2, is very loose (like slurry) and not manageable. Any suggestion on how I can do it? Should I cut back on water and add dough enhancer for airy baguettes?

REPLY

I don't have a recipe for that kind of bread, but I do have an idea how to make crust tough and chewy: hi gluten flour, and prolonged contact with steam. Check out the steamer that posted on this blog. If you leave the lid on the first 20 minutes of baking it will increase these qualities in the crust.

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Jerry Gayda
Jerry Gayda
01/30/2007 01:05 PM

Dear Rose,

In the Chicago area there is a bread called "Baltic Rye" or "Lithuanian Rye". It is a light rye with a dense crumb with a tough, chewy, dark (almost burnt), delicious crust. I have tried many rye bread recipes but none come close. Do you have a "Baltic Rye" recipe? If not, how would you make a crust which is tough and chewy?
Thank you for your wonderful book "the bread bible".

Rye bread lover,
Jerry

REPLY

it dissipates completely on baking.

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Rose,

I want to ask a question about the recipe you have in your bread book for making pretzel bread. The rolls require a lye bath, before baking. Why is it that the solution that you shouldn't touch with your fingers is OK to eat after baking the rolls?!

REPLY

use BLEACHED flour

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Perplexed in Illinois
Perplexed in Illinois
01/02/2007 09:23 PM

Rose,

I just finished making a quick bread. I had the same thing happen with this loaf that happens with other quick breads I make (e.g. banana bread). The baked bread "sinks" in the middle. The texture and taste are fine. I'm using a 9x5 bread pan which is the pan size the recipes often specify. Am I doing something wrong? If so, what? I would like a beautifully rounded top on my quick bread; is this possible?

Sincerely,
Perplexed in Illinois

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Franc Gregorin
Franc Gregorin
11/17/2006 03:51 PM

Hello Rose,

Firstly, let me say that I've made many a wonderful loaf from your 'Bible'. It's part of my quintet of resources along with "Bread Baker's Apprentice", "Village Baker", 'Bread' by Jeffrey Hamelman, and the original bible by Raymond Calvel. The last three years have brought me a great deal of knowledge about bread baking. I've reached a point where my breads (mixed in a KA mixer and baked in a standard home oven) are now as good, and often better, than those found in professional artisan bakeries. If it were only I extolling these virtues I could be rightly accused of arrogance. However, when accolades abound from friends, restaurants, and professional bakers I feel a tremendous wave of pride. What a wonderful feeling to see the look on a persons face the first time they bite into a beautiful loaf.
I do have a question for you that I'm hoping you could answer, or, at least, point me in the right direction. I'm looking to replace my 6 Qt KA with something more powerful, with larger capacity, and with more reliability. I want to move away from the planetary type action to the more effective spiral mixer. The two mixers that fit the bill are Electrolux DLX2000 and Bosch Compact series. I've read excellent feedback from consumers for the DLX and some for the Compact. What would be better is to get input from a professional regarding dough development, oxidation, etc. Any ideas? Thanks in advance. Franc

REPLY

thank you for sharing--i love neat tips like this!

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Jeff Roberson
Jeff Roberson
10/18/2006 02:26 PM

Hey Rose,
I recently bought The Bread Bible and have been really enjoying it. I thought I'd pass along an alternative to the proofing box that I've found pretty useful.

For hearth type breads that can rise on the sheet, instead of building a plexi box like suggested in your book, I place the shaped dough on a 11x15 small baking sheet and use a Rubbermaid 2.4gal container as a lid. The edges of the container fit just inside the lip of the baking sheet. Fill a small cup with hot water (I use the plastic container that paper muffin cups come in) and place it under the 'proofer' between the loaves. I will proof up to 4 pans simultaneously like this while the oven preheats.

thanks again for a fabulous tome!

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i actuall answered this from your second posting but wanted to add that if the starter is doubling you are not replenishing it too often.
the focaccia recipe was posted many weeks if not months ago--it's from primo restaurant so put either of those two words int he search box on the left and you'll find it--it really is worth making!
thanks for asking about my back. two days ago i was so much better i stupidly crawled around o the floor trying to liberate an extension cord and twang went the other side but much much better and excercising to keep it that way.

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stacy hawkins
stacy hawkins
10/12/2006 02:58 PM

Hi Rose!
I emailed you several weeks back about my sourdough problems. I had obtained starter cultures of the "San franciso" variety from Sourdough Internationl. My first try with their recipe they sent failed terribly! Then I emailed you for help, used the recipe and techique in the Bread Bible and I had success! Anyhow, I have been baking about twice a week with the "Basic Sourdough" recipe from The Bread Bible with wonderful results! I always double or triple the recipe(I bake some for my in-laws too) and bake them in standard loaf pans most of the time for ease. I love letting them do a slow rise sometimes in the fridge overnight when I am time starved! Okay, finally, here is the problem now... I am finding that the bread is getting less and less sour. This last loaf, I found, the tang was barely noticable. I am converting my liquid starter each time to a stiff starter a day and sometimes two days before I mix the dough(with extra feedings, if needed to keep it going well). Is my starter(liquid) being replentished too frequently? The bread is wonderful, just not sour at all right now.
On another note, I noticed you said on an entry that you had a new recipe for focaccia coming up! Very interested in that! I have had more people ask for the recipe of the sheet focaccia that I make from your Bread Bible!
Oh! Last time you wrote back, you had a herniated disk that was causing you great pain, I hope that you are feeling better now! Take care and thank you for any advice that you may have for my sourdough problems!
stacy in
Oklahoma

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if you give the bread two or three risings you will have a finer texture.

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Dorothy Harms
Dorothy Harms
08/28/2006 06:36 PM

Could you help me get a finer texture to my bread?
I use a bread machine and have good luck but I know that there is a way to make a finer texture bun. We had some at a wedding reception and it was as fine as an angel food cake. Delicious!
What needs to be done to arrive at such a texture. Thank you. Dorothy

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penny, as long as you can turn off the convection until the last 10 min. of baking when you want to blow out all that moist air!

i don't recommend a baking stone for breads that are rich with eggs and butter such as brioche because the bottom will brown too much

in my book "the bread bible" i specify baking stone each time i prefer to use it and do not list it in the equipment under the recipe when it is not desirable.

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Hello Again Rose,

Thanks so much for the response re the speed for mixing bread doughs. I have a couple of other questions in the bread baking area. I have all options available to me but I would like to know what your recommendations re these specifics.

Do you recommend using the convection oven versus conventional oven when baking bread?

Do you recommend a baking stone always?

Do you recommend both these options together or individually or not at all, simply a conventional oven with no stone?

So many questions, so many recipes . . . so little time! Many thanks.

Penny

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