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Bread Dough: Food Processor vs. Stand Mixer

I've always used the stand mixer to make bread dough, but I recently made a batch of bagels using the food processor, and I was surprised at what a good job it did of kneading. What the pros and cons of the food processor as a bread kneading machine?

Thanks.

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  1. I stand by my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. The dough hook attachment will help develop the dough properly & its suprising how long this can take, I like the easy access to the dough while it mixes as well...........

    1. To make life easy, get a bread machine. The time and temp of kneading makes a great dough. You don't have to bake in the machine, but can use the "dough" setting.

      1. I like the processor a lot for kneading bread doughs. It is incredibly fast and thorough.

        The biggest con is probably the limitation of the size of the bowl. Don't exceed the amount of flour that the manufacturer's instructions list.

        Another thing to watch out for is not to overknead. Doughs come together very quickly and you don't want the friction of the blade and motor heating things up.

        1. My biggest concern would be burning up the food processor unless of course you have a heavy duty one. I have the heavy duty Stand Mixer and don't worry about what I put in that thing.

          1. I think the moral of this story is that there is no one or "right" way to make dough. All kinds of methods work and that should free everyone up to try their hand at yeast dough.

            I haven't used a food processor myself but I regularly use a stand mixer, my bread machine on the "dough" cycle and a wire dough whip/hand kneading depending on my mood. And let's not forget JIm Lahey's no-knead technique or Peter Reinhard's epoxy method. They all work great. What counts is that whatever method you use, you let the dough tell you when the gluten is properly developed and the dough is fully proofed.

            1 Reply
            1. The food processor works great, faster than a stand mixer but I always finish it by hand kneading whereas I can get away w/out hand mixing with a stand mixer. You need to be careful of overkneading with the food processor (it doesn't look like it's ready to come out when it is) and with the food processor getting too warm for the yeast. I really like Rose Levy Berenbaum's Bread Bible for her discussions on using different mediums to knead dough, stand mixer, food processor, bread machine and the old fashioned hand.

              3 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                Chowser, need your advice: I made my first batch of bread in my food processor (has a dough setting). Didn't turn out that well. The dough setting has a 4 light timer that seems to be about 2 minutes. I added a little flour at a time per the recipe, each time running it through the bread cycle. I got doughy (pardon the pun) tasting bread that didn't rise as much as I thought it would. Did I over do the cycles...should I have just dumped it all at once and done one cycle? In a grilled pizza video I have, he just runs the dough through one time. Help is appreciated. Steve

                1. re: steveinkentucky

                  For bread dough a stand mixer. Produces superior dough in my view.

                  1. re: steveinkentucky

                    I think you might have mixed it each time too long which overheats the dough and that would kill the yeast, though not all, to result in less rise. It's been a long time since I've used the food processor since I like to feel the dough and progress but I added the ingredients except flour, pulse quickly. Slowly add flour a little at a time and pulse quickly after each addition. When mixed, I let it sit to autolyse (hydrate the flour) for a few minutes. Then I turn on the food processor but only about 30-60 seconds, at most, not close to two minutes. It sounds like you did it for two minutes a few times? That would be far too long. If you don't get the rise you want, but it is rising, you could just let it sit longer, until the dough doubles, or whatever the recipe calls for and then continue. Sorry I don't have more details on what I did in the past but I do prefer using the stand mixer and/or doing it by hand.

                2. I have much better luck with my fp (Cuisinart DLC-7 Super Pro, 1984 vintage) than my K5A (1987 vintage). I have the old dough hook and it does not do a good job, it just whirls around in the middle of the dough. Finish by hand.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: buttertart

                    In the interests of scientific discovery and because the FP wasn't out of the dishwasher yet, I'm trying my KA for today's bread. We shall see!

                  2. I've tried dough making in both my Cuisinart and my KitchenAid. I've only used the Cuisinart once. I bake lots of bread! '-)

                    1. I don't have a stand mixer and prefer the food processor over my bread machine. I use cold liquids to compensate for the warmth the food processor gives off so as not to get the dough so warm it kills the yeast.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: emmisme

                        We have a nice Kitchen Aid blender, that has a whisp and I think, regular beaters. I got a new food processor that includes a dough setting. It's actually quite nice. A video I watched where a guy made great looking grilled pizza was interesting. He put the ingredients in his food processor and only ran it a little while. I think I'm going to make a half batch and just use the food processor dough setting one time and see how that works. I have a bottle of bread machine yeast, but the Fleischman's website FAQ/help section notes that you can use either. In fact, the bread recipe was from their site. Admittedly, I punched the dough down after it rose (rookie mistake in this situation). It also had a quite hard crust, even though I had our oven set right on 400 degrees, and baked it between 25-30 minutes. I didn't get to knead it as well as I probably should have as I had a cut finger and did a lot of it one-handed until my son could track down a glove from my EMT stuff in my truck. While it tasted dry and "floury" and was tough, the pooches didn't seem to mind. Anyway, I'm baking some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies tomorrow. Hopefully, they'll turn out well. I'll keep you updated!

                        1. re: steveinkentucky

                          Are you using a dough hook in the FP or the blades? It just occurred to me with buttertart's post above that you might be using the dough hook. I use the blades. I've never tried the dough hook but everything I've read and everyone I've talked to have said not to use it. Watch the dough carefully, especially as you're using the preset cycle--it could be done much earlier. When it forms a soft ball, it's ready to take out. It's better to take it out early and knead longer by hand than let it go too long and kill the yeast. I don't know what recipe you're using but this one from Emeril looks good, especially as technique goes (better to let the pros describe it than for me to try).

                          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

                          The recipe calls for active yeast. You can use 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of instant instead. You just want to watch it until it doubles.

                          A longer rise is better and you can put it in the refrigerator to slow it down. If you're making traditional pizza, higher heat, shorter bake time, will give you a crisper crust. You want that oven as hot as you can get it.

                      2. i use my kitchenaid for bread and the cuisinart for pizza.

                        1. My impression is that the food processor takes much less time to knead than most might assume, and it's best to be very conservative so as not to overknead. Like chowser, I have not read anything good about using the plastic dough blades.

                          Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Bread has kneading specifications in each recipe for kneading by hand, with a stand mixer, and with a food processor. Quite handy!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            I still like the FP better than the KA. I use the metal blade having pitched the plastic one in a fit of pique some years back. You finish by hand, gluten will hook itself back up. Final kneading after autolyse 50-70 turns in my trusty DLC-7 Super Pro (well, it was super pro material when I bought it at Macy's in SF in 1984 or 5 and schlepped it back to Berk on the F bus).