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Dec 16, 2008 07:21 AM

Need help if you use KA/stand mixer to make pizza dough

I usually use a recipe from Bugialli to make pizza dough by hand. It always turns out well.

But I've read here about the things people are using their stand mixers for, and decided I would like to learn to use mine KA (an Artisan) more. I used the recipe for Crusty Pizza Dough in the KA manual. I didn't expect it to be a prize-winning authentic crust, actually, but since it was the first time I'd made pizza dough by machine, I thought I'd use the manufacturer's recipe to get the hang of mixing/kneading by machine.

I don't know whether I mixed it or kneaded it for too long, but it was unpleasantly dry...not tough, but dry and tasteless, and hard to shape, too.

The yeast was fine; I proofed it, and the dough rose, so I know it's not that. I used King Arthur AP flour. The KA recipe calls for more flour (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 c.) than Bugialli's (2 c., definitively); 1 t. less oil; and about the same amount of H20 to proof the yeast. I started with the minimum amt. of flour (2-1/2 c.), but it wasn't coming off the side of the bowl, so I added more, gradually, up to 3 c., and in that process I would say I kneaded it a total of 4 minutes, versus the recipe's suggested 2 minutes.

Any guidance you can give me? I don't think I'm going to like the KA recipe, ultimately, anyway, but it's definitely easier to do it with the mixer. Any clues as to what I need to do differently to improve the product? TY.

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  1. I've used the KA recipe too, and I'm not fond of it, so it's probably not all your technique. Next time, try using your Bugialli recipe instead, since you're more familiar with how it should feel as you're mixing it. Using an unfamiliar recipe causes too much variability in your testing.

    From your description, I am guessing the following may have gone wrong:

    1. You put in too much flour - that can make doughs dry and tasteless. Next time try letting the dough hook rumble around in there a while longer before adding more flour. Sometimes it takes a little while for the flour to absorb the moisture. Secondly, just add enough to coat the sides of the bowl and let it incorporate before adding more. I seem to have more luck with that.

    2. You might have overkneaded it too, but TBH I doubt that, as it's really the industrial mixers that can overknead dough. Running your Artisan for four minutes shouldn't have caused too much gluten to develop (and since you said it wasn't tough, it wasn't overdeveloped, unless your crust was rolled really thin). Personally, I use my KA to get past the "sticky" part of kneading and then hand knead it the rest of the way just because I think it's fun (and easier to clean up) and I can monitor the texture of the dough better. Plus, I don't know of anything scientific to back this up, but I think that there must be something in the warmth of my hands that helps the dough develop because, from what I've seen, doughs that have at least partially been hand-kneaded just turn out better.....

    NOTE ON FLOUR: I don't know if this is your standard flour or not, but I always use King Arthur flour and have found that I actually need to use less of it than other flours. I actually do the "lazy baker's sift" by taking a whisk to my flour container to aerate the flour before I even doll it out into the measuring cups - not doing this can cause one to add more than is necessary. But, if this is your standard flour, then it's not a variable in your recipe.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jazzy77

      Your post was really helpful to me, jazzy. I will try the Bugialli recipe in it. I had thought about doing it, but I made the (wrong) judgment call that first time out, I should use a recipe that was designed for the machine.

      I'm pretty sure after reading your advice and pastry's that I had an overload of flour. Yes, I do K.A. flour all the time, either AP or the organic. Of the two I like pizza dough better from the AP. Just curious, have you even used the bread flour to make pizza dough? What would that do?

      I'm glad to know I shouldn't have to worry about overkneading with this mixer. I know how to use it with cakes and cookies. I've always mixed quick breads, yeast breads and pizza dough by hand, so right now I'm fumbling around. I'd like to use the KA more.

      I also got confused because it had a *very* brief sticky stage (if at all), got dry quickly, and there was a lot of dough, that looked mixed, on the sides of the bowl. I think, in addition to some of the advice you all have given me, that the beater height needs to be adjusted, so I'm going to double-check that, too.

      Thank you so much for your input. I hope to be able to report a success before too long. ;-)

      1. re: Steady Habits

        Although I've never used the KA bread flour (only out of lack of space, I only have room for two bags - White Lily for biscuits and KA AP for everything else), the higher protein content allows for more gluten development, so I imagine that your crust would be chewier. But there's a note on the KA website that you should add 2 teaspoons more liquid per cup of bread flour as well.

    2. It sounds to me that you did not add enough liquid. How did you measure the flour? Did you dip the 1-cup straight into the flour or did you use a different cup or spoon to pour the flour from the bag into the measuring cup? There is a difference, and if you add 3 or more cups of flour by dipping the 1-cup straight into the flour without using a different cup or spoon to pour the flour into the measuring cup, you could be adding 4-cups of flour instead of 3-cups of flour!

      The best way to measure flour or any ingredient when baking is by weight, using a scale will never let you down. 1kg of feathers weight the same as 1kg of steel, however, the volume is much different. Using volume measurements (1-cup) can cause problems if you don’t follow the rule of using a different cup or spoon to pour your flour into your measuring cup.

      Furthermore, depending on the time of year and how your flour has been stored. The flour can be dry, meaning it will require more liquid. Now this is not a big as problem as what I described above, but depending on the size of the recipe, it can be problematic.

      Also, when making dough, you should be in the habit of touching the dough to see how it feels. If the dough is dry, not very elastic, too wet, or has not developed enough gluten, then you need to take action. Since you made dough before using your hands, you should be use to how the dough should feel. Stop the machine and feel the dough. Then you’ll know what to do, add more water, add more flour, or knead it longer. Do not fear to add a little more liquid or flour, it will not mess up your recipe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pastryrocks

        I never add flour straight flour ;-)... for the reason to which you alluded, compaction.

        When a recipe does not call specifically for measuring after sifting, I don't sift. But I do put flour in a separate bowl and run a whisk through it a few times to separate the particles before spooning into a measuring cup.

        I do measure by volume, though. I'm not opposed to measuring by weight, and I understand its benefits. It's just...I've never really baked that much, I'm more of a cook, and what I did bake always turned out well enough. (Not saying prize-winners, mind you, pastry, just good enough to eat.) However, the thing about finding a site like this is that it awakens new interests, etc. So maybe I'll ask Santa for a digital scale instead of my highly imprecise...other type (the type with the screw adjustment).

        You're exactly right in talking about touching the dough, pastry. I did that. I knew this dough was problematic, from immediately after it became to come together, by looking at it and feeling it (oh, and I pinched off a nugget and tasted it, too). I did add a little bit more water....but really, probably just a eighth of a cup. I also massaged a little bit more oil into it before I put it in the bowl to rise. I guess my instincts told me, "This needs more liquid," but because I hadn't used the mixer before for pizza dough, or used this particular recipe, my usual self-confidence and common sense failed me. Two things I really needed to know are 1) did it sound like it was dry due to too much flour or too little liquid, or because of overkneading?, and 2) *exactly* the reassurance you gave me, that it's okay to add liquid. I really appreciate your help and advice.

      2. I agree that lack of water was probably the culprit. I use my KA stand mixer all the time for all types of bread dough, including pizza. Adding about a quarter cup of olive oil will make a pizza crust that is more tender. I'm not familiar with the recipe you referenced, but I have never had a failure with Peter Reinhart's recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rouxmaker

          I'm happy to know you use yours frequently for pizza dough. That's encourages me to tackle it again. The Bugialli recipe I spoke about is fairly easy for a dough made by hand, and is a thinner, crispy crust, compared to the KA, which seemed like a deep dish to me. It really was tender enough, but dry. Now...I don't really understand how something dry can be tender, but somehow I managed to do it. TY for the reference to the Peter Reinhart's recipe. I want to learn how to do Bugialli's w/the KA, but nothing wrong with having plural good recipes in one's repertoire, right? ;-)

        2. Tasteless? I don't see any salt in your recipe.

          2 Replies
          1. re: todao

            Yeah...that's why I'm not particularly fond of that recipe. It tends to be fairly light on flavor even if it turns out "well."

            1. re: todao

              It does have salt, todao... 1/2 t. That didn't sound like very much to me, so I went to check the Bugialli recipe that always works for me, and really tastes good to my family. That calls for a pinch of salt. Now, I was taught that "a pinch" is generally about 1/8 of a teaspoon, so it made sense to me that the KA recipe, calling for more flour, called for a little more salt. After talking with all of you here, I really think the problem with the recipe was too much flour, which would affect not only how much liquid one should use, but also salt.

            2. Hi Steady Habits. I was a loyal hand-kneader until about 2 years ago. Now I make the following dough weekly (Friday night Pizza night :)) using my KA Artisan, and it always comes out great.

              2 - 2.5c flour
              1/2 tsp kosher salt
              1-2 T olive oil
              1c warm water (or 1/2c water and 1/2c basic lager beer like Labatts or Bud)
              2 tsp yeast

              Proof the yeast in 1/2c warm water. Place the flour and salt in the mixing bowl, then add yeast water, other 1/2c of liquid, and 1T oil. Mix to just blend with a spatula, then knead with dough hook on 2 speed for 8-10 minutes. I usually check it after 2 minutes and adjust flour, if necessary. The dough should ride up the hook and be in one piece. If it's sticking to the walls or resting toward the bottom, add a bit more flour. When knead is finished, pull dough from hook and shape into ball. Roll in well oiled bowl and cover for rise, 1-1.5 hours. Punch down, let rise again 10-30 minutes. I usually roll it out at this point, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes while I prepare toppings. I cook it on at 475 on a plain old dark baking sheet (jelly roll pan, actually) sprinkled with cornmeal, but you can bake it however you like (I'm just too lazy to drag out the pizza stone).

              In the summer, I always use more flour and in winter less - usually according to humidity - but adding too much flour will make the dough tough, so always start with just 2c. Oh - and If you have a mild lager on hand, try it out - it adds a nice yeasty flavor to the dough that we love. I think it really boosts the flavor nicely, and no, it doesn't taste like beer :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: RosemaryHoney

                I use all different kinds of pizza dough recipes and one trick that I did learn is that when your pizza dough starts climbing up the dough hook, it is done! Let it rise, punch down gently, then do the pull into a ball technique I learned from Alton Brown, I think he has it on his page how to do the pull around technique. Let it rest before rolling out. My pizzas with my homemade sauce people really do think I got from some high end restaurant and try to pass as my own! IT IS MY OWN! LOL

                Just a side note though, I did not like Altons pizza dough recipe, the one I like is pretty simple but it is delicious light, without being too bready but crisps up perfectly either on my rack or my pizza stone which I always heat in 500 oven for a good thirty minutes, or just throw it on your gas grill!