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Dough hook vs. hand kneading

  • j

I just received a KitchenAid mixer and am interested in using the dough hook for kneading bread. Anything I should know? Can I use it to knead it completely or will i have to hand knead, as well?


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  1. I can only speak from my own experience. I've never been able to get the same results from my KA with a dough hook as I can with my hands. The dough never seems to smooth out like when I knead it by hand. Maybe I'm doing something wrong...

    Now my dad makes bread every week and uses the dough hook without any problems. Turns out great loaves of bread, one right after the other. I believe he may hand knead for only a minute or two when done with the mixer, just to make sure the feel of the dough is right.

    5 Replies
    1. re: QueenB

      It may be that you are not kneading long enough. Also, just a hint. Shove that mixer way back on the counter. They sometimes "walk" with a heavy dough and suddenly you have mixer and dough all over the floor.

      1. re: Candy

        I kneaded for almost a half hour with that darn thing. Still never got a smooth ball. The dough kept sticking to the sides of the bowl, no matter how much flour I added.

        1. re: QueenB

          It may just take some practice. I prefer a looser wetter dough than one that is too dry. I think you get a better grain and lift. Sometimes it sticks to my fingers a bit and I flour them, my hnads, while shaping on a floured board. Less is better when it comes to flour.

          1. re: QueenB

            That's one of the benefits to using a dough hook. You have to add too much flour to knead comfortably by hand. In a mixer it can stay sticky, which is good. Then you can just use a dough scraper to scrape it out of the bowl. I do usually scrape it onto a lightly dusted silpat, and just make a smooth ball with it. It just takes a minute and doesn't introduce much flour.

            1. re: Becca Porter

              Hm, and I thought I was doing something wrong, because the recipe I had said the dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Well, now I know. Thanks!

      2. You should be able to use the KA for the whole process, I find I do need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula from time to time. The problem a lot of people have is that they do not mix long enough to develop the gluten in the flour. This is what will give your bread good texture and enable it to hold the CO2 developed during fermentation. Mix the dough fairly slowly until it becomes elastic and you can see stretch marks in it. If you take a small piece and stretch it out, it should have a tendancy to spring back. Keep in mind stronger bread flours will take longer to develop.

        1. I've been using my KA dough hook for 5 months now, and I haven't hand-kneaded anything since I got it. Focaccia, white sandwich bread, wholewheat, etc. There was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning...I learned to mix to the point of "blended" with the paddle, then switch to the dough hook for kneading. Rose Beranbaum's Bread Bible cookbook has good, detailed instructions for using a mixer to knead, but once you get the hang of it, you can use any old recipe.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            I don't even use the paddle at all any more, just the dough hook. I run the mixer for around 8 minutes, leaving the dough fairly soft, then scrape it out into a bowl to rise. After it has risen and I turn it out on the board, I knead a little by hand, adding a bit more flour (not more than a few tablespoons) if needed before I shape the loaves.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              I did that, too. Used the mixer blade first for about a minute, then after letting it rest for 20 minutes per the recipe, I'll put it under the hook on low for 3-6 minutes. We'll see!

            2. dough hooks rule, & you do need to get the hang of them, but i like to knead at the end anyway. food tastes better when it is touched by hand. if you do more than one loaf from a batch you can knead when you seperate the dough.

              1. I REALLY love the dough hook when kneading sticky rye dough. I use the paddle for maybe 10 seconds at the beginning to get things started, it takes a long time to get things together with the hook. I knead that, and pizza dough, for 18 minutes to develop the gluten.

                1. Love the dough hook! For some breads, I do add about a minute of hand kneading to ensure the proper texture, but since most of the breads I make are a high hydration, it isn't that often.

                  1. "Anything I should know?" ...
                    For kneading with the dough hook, maintain a relatively low speed (about 2 on most KA's I've used) for kneading the dough. Using too high a speed puts unnecessary strain on the mixer's mechanical system and encourages the dough to climb the dough hook. Lightly oil the dough hook prior to kneading, including the collar at the top of the dough hook, to minimize the dough "climbing" up the dough hook.
                    Most kneading chores with the dough hook require about 5 - 8 minutes, depending on the dough formula.
                    I sometimes knead five or six cycles by hand after using the dough hook but that's an exercise designed more for getting a feel for how well developed the dough is than anything else.
                    Most instructions for kneading using a stand mixer include words like "knead until the dough pulls cleanly free of the sides of the bowl but still clings slightly to the bottom of the bowl". Those are good indicators of how well developed the dough should be for that particular formula.

                    1. My KA normally does all the work for me. However, there is something primal about kneading your own bread so sometimes I do it just because I love the feel of the dough in my hands.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chefathome

                        I too love the KA; most doughs take about 7 minutes on setting 2. I usually knead for a few seconds at end for fun, but i like the looser doughs that the machine allows.

                      2. What if you do not have a mixer with a dough hook? Is the option available?

                        1. I own a Kitchenaid 5-qt bowl lifter model that came with a "J" hook. I found a Kitchenaid Spiral hook that fits it. My mixer now runs cooler and with much less motor strain while using the spiral dough hook. The spiral hook seems to develop the dough faster and with less heating of the dough than the "J" dough hook.

                          There is a big difference between types of dough hooks when it comes to performance. The "J" hook vs the spiral dough hook. I have used both and I think the spiral hook is superior. Watch the short videos of kneading dough below and decide for yourself.

                          The spiral dough hook presses the dough into the bottom of the bowl and kneads back and forth through it.
                          The "J" hook beats the dough against the side of the bowl and the dough climbs up the hook. There is a disc at the top of the "J" hook that blocks and keeps the dough from climbing out of the bowl.
                          These short YouTube videos show how each dough hook handles the dough during kneading.
                          Kitchenaid with Spiral Dough Hook
                          Kitchenaid with "J" Dough Hook

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Antilope

                            KA only recommends the spiral design for mixers so designed....



                            The Spiral Dough Hook is not compatible with any tilt head mixers.
                            In 2004, KitchenAid introduced a Spiral Dough Hook to be used with some of the larger capacity bowl lift stand mixers. See illustration.
                            NOTE: For use with the following models only: KV25G0X, KV25G8X, KV25H0X, KP26M1X, KP26M8X, KL26M8X, and KB26G1X. Hand wash only.

                            given the well noted gear box issues, could be good advice....

                            1. re: PSRaT

                              I've used the spiral dough hook for over 3 years without a problem, making several loaves of bread a week. I usually only use 500 grams (a little over 1 lb - 4 1/2 cups) of flour in a batch. The motor shows less strain and heating with the spiral dough hook. The mixer is almost too hot to touch with the "J" hook, so you know what that is doing to the gears. The regular dough hook puts more wear on my mixer than does the spiral hook. Just look at the two dough hooks in action on the videos and this is apparent. I've tested both and this is real world experience. I will take the chance, because it works so much better, I wouldn't go back to the old "J" hook now for anything.

                              All of the gears in a Kitchenaid, except for one sacrificial plastic gear, are metal. Most Kitchenaid failures are caused by overloading the machine. I only use 1 lb of dry flour (about 4 1/2 cups) per batch and my 5qt Kitchenaid bowl lifter model has lasted for over 5 years. The last 3 with the spiral dough hook. I have an older 4qt Kitchenaid tilt head that is over 20 years old that has never had a repair.

                              1. re: Antilope

                                interesting. I was thinking to get one - gandering the mechanics, the spiral looks like it pushes the dough down into the bowl - which means the dough pushes the planetary shaft up. since KA dis-recommends it, I figured the older style gearboxes are not designed to take that axial load.