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Nov 20, 2010 01:27 PM

Help - Is Arm Muscle an Alternative to a dough hook?

Hello Everybody

I decided to start baking again and I decided I want to bake pretzels. I'm using this receipt from Alton Brown ( but the recipe requires me to use a dough hook. I no longer own a kitchen aid and thus, I don't have a dough hook.

Can anybody tell me if arm muscle will make a decent alternative? Or if there is any other alternatives?

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  1. I think they were making pretzels before there were electric mixers. But hand mixing/kneading will take a bit longer than by machine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: absurdnerdbird

      Haha, good point. I sometimes think I've become over-reliant on these things "modern wonders"

    2. I miss my Hobart mixer with the scary big dough hook, but I'm no longer a professional baker and just knead my bread by hand now. A pile of dough up to about 10 medium loaves is doable.

      The height of your kneading surface will matter in how efficient you are and how sore you might get. Stand on something if the counter is too high. If it's too low, it's probably more challenging to adjust. A large cutting board could be shimmed up, perhaps.

      You shouldn't need more than 10 minutes of kneading. If you use a recipe with a sponge as the first step, the whisking and stirring of the soupy first batter will develop the gluten a lot and it won't require as much kneading after the first rise.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Kunegunde

        This might seem like a dumb question but how do I know when to stop kneading?

          1. re: wineguy7

            Ooo, I get it now. Thanks so much for your help

          2. re: SilentAcro

            Even when I use the dough hook, I finish it by hand. Being short, I have problems reaching the countertop so use a BOSU to stand on, usually with one foot so I can get in some core work, too. For when it's finished, try the window pane test. This is the best way for me to tell. What I like about the videos is you can see how pliable the dough is when ready.


        1. Never really been a fan of the dough hook. In commercial kitchens I preferred the twin-screw horizontal style. It would stretch/knead the dough properly.

          At home I use a KA but finish by hand, it's important to feel the dough and get a sense of its elasticity. Look for a smooth shine when you ball it. Using a dough hook takes twice as long as working by hand once you know what you're doing.