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How to use a Kitchen Aid for Bread?

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I am a novice baker using 'Bread Alone' and 'The Bread Bible' as my guides. My hand kneading wasn't all that, so I purchased a Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer.

After baking 8 different types of bread in a week, I was over the Artisan. The bowl was a little small and, even with the pour shield, I scattered flour everywhere. In addition, after a good knead with some counter jumping, the bowl always got stuck and I could never get it off the mixer on my own. Other than these hassles, my bread was mixed and then kneaded beautifully (mostly).

Reading all sorts of posts, I decided to upgrade to the Professional 600 as I've fallen in love with dough. At first I was super excited--until I ruined 2 doughs and made the worst bread of my life. I followed two recipes that had worked just fine with the Artisan, but with the Pro 600 the dough was over stickey, lumpy, and never quite rose. Maybe I didn't add enough flour? Did I over knead? I can't tell. Alton Brown in 'I'm Just Here for More Food,' said over kneaded dough looks flat with the water running out of it--no idea what that would look like in a mixer.

When I called Kitchen Aid they were horrified that I had kneaded the dough for too long--I did as directed by the books. But, when I used the Artisan at level 4 and kneaded with the c hook for 15 minutes, the dough seemed just fine. Using the Pro 600's spiral hook at level 2, I understand I shouldn't use the hand knead time suggestion, but how long should I let the machine work on my dough?

If a recipe in 'Bread Alone' calls for hand knead of 15 minutes, how long should it go in the Pro 600 at level 2? how about a lower level? If I have a Kitchen Aid suggestion from 'Bread Alone' saying go at level 4 for 5 minutes, how long should it really be in the pro 600 at level 2?

I'm still so new, I haven't learned the best smell, look or feel of dough ready for a rise, so any suggestions you can offer would be welcome! Thanks.

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  1. Trouble is, dough takes a little bit, but
    not a lot of, experience. It's not really
    a matter of timing. It can vary from
    batch to batch depending on
    the moisture content
    of the flour, and the weather.

    Kneading in the KA takes
    just a few minutes. It's ready
    whenthe dough isrubbery,
    smooth
    and not sticky. If it
    remains sticky, sprinkle in
    just a little more flour
    and mix some more.
    And, of course, use a
    spatula once during
    mixing to scrape down the
    sides and stir up unmixed
    dough on the bottom.

    You'll quickly get the
    hang of it.

    BTW, these comments do not
    apply to recipes (such as ciatatta)
    that call for wet, sticky dough.

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