Scored a cheap kitchenaid; dough hook usage?
I scored a cheap kitchenaid mixer at a yardsale. Clearances are fine, it mixes fine, but I'm having problems with the dough hook.
I've tried varous recipes (that include stand-mixer directions) and it never quite seems to work. Total flour volume is typically 4 1/2 - 5 cups. The dough initially looks like it is getting kneaded, but eventually just forms around the hook and kind of "spins in place" without getting kneaded much, such that after 10 minutes it's not really kneaded much at all. Nor can I get the dough, to do as per instructions, clear the sides but stick to the bottom of the bowl.
My question: is this normal? I've been a hand-kneader for awhile so I have no idea. Is my kitchenaid mixer just too big for 4 1/2 - 5 cups of flour and should I be using more (aka: is it not kneading properly because there is too much bowl, not enough material)?
Help would be greatly appreciated.
Even though "tough bread" isn't your immediate complaint..... this experience from a bread baking pro is offered fwiw. Try the same recipe and don't use the mixer - do it the old fashioned way and knead by hand. See if there's a difference and which you prefer.
I say this because my aunt has made bread for 40+ years. She moved to a higher elevation state and coincidently, was given a KA at the same time, which she proceeded to use for bread making. Tough bread ensued, leading her to blame elevation, humidity, too much/too little flour, etc. FINALLY, she nixed the KA and found that it was the cause of tough bread. As I said..... fwiw.
Other common problems:
1) "Satellites"--little blobs of dough that break off from the main mass and just get pushed around by the dough mass. Solution: Stop the mixer and push the little satellite blob into the main mass of the dough, then continue mixing. I think you could also ignore the satellite entirely if it is small relative to the size of the dough mass--even if a small bit of the dough is underdeveloped it should not make a big difference in the finished product.
2) "Pas de deux": The hook doesn't grab onto the dough mass at all, or it does, but only briefly. So the dough ends up dancing around the hook rather than being pulled/kneaded by it. Solution: Push the dough down to bottom of the bowl and sink the hook into it deeply. Start the mixer slowly to get it to grab onto the dough, and increase the speed slowly, backing off the speed if it seems to be threatening to come off the hook again. Usually happens with stiff, cold dough--so adding moisture or letting the dough warm up also helps.
I know exactly what you are talking about, pickledgarlic--this is different from the dough climbing up the hook. Instead, the hook just sort of drills a hole in the center of the dough mass, but it really never grabs onto it and throws it around. I use my KA for mixing dough all the time, and sometimes this happens, particularly if:
1) Dough is on the dry/stiff side.
2) "Heavier" doughs (rye, whole wheat, etc.)
3) Cold dough (e.g., just out of the fridge)
4) Especially, dough that has not had an "autolyse" [a 20 - 30 minute rest just after the dough has been mixed enough to start to come together, before the addition of salt]
I always use an autolyse and generally use moister doughs, and essentially no long have this problem at all.
Hope this helps,