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Issues baking bread

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I've been baking my own bread for a few months now. Originally I was using a spoon to mix the ingredients then kneading the dough. Then I started using my KA and dough hook. I'm finding that I need to use almost twice the amount of flour just to be able to get it out of the bowl so I can do a minute or so's worth of kneading by hand. It just gets sooooo sticky.

Also, is it a bad idea to double a bread recipe? I bought a used KA 6qt yesterday and just tried to make a double recipe. Holy moly was it sticky! I needed almost 5 extra cups of flour and I could barely hand knead it. I do have my windows open today so the temperature could be playing a role but I doubt it's making THAT big of a difference.

I love my KAs and I want to be able to use the hooks but I feel like I'm making extra work for myself.

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  1. Doubling recipes shouldn't be a problem. The main issue is just the added volume of dough that you're working with.

    In regards to using a KA, never had that issue when switching from hand mixing a dough or using the KA. The recipes I've tried works for both.

    I would suggest weighing ingredients to ensure you're consistent or pre-measure all the ingredients (Mise en place) instead of adding ingredients on the fly.

    1. I use my hands, while sticky, I prefer it to using our KA.

      With a 3cup flour recipe that I sue most often I find the KA more work than it is worth.....I just knead it.

      1. I bake all of our bread, and I use a KA; no hand kneading at all. Pretty good bread, too. I routinely double my recipe, in fact my recipe was designed to be done in two batches in the machine.

        I don't have time to write it all out right now, but basically I start with 5 cups of water, proof the yeast with a wee bit of sugar, add the oil and salt, then add flour until I have a thick but still pourable mixture. I use the flat paddle, and I mix this for long enough that the gluten starts to develop.

        I pour off half the mixture into a bowl and set it aside, then add flour as required to the mixture remaining in the bowl. Now I"m using the dough hook. Add flour and knead until the dough has a silky texture and cleans the bowl.

        Pop the finished dough into the oiled proofing bowl, and repeat with the remaining mixture. The two dough balls will happily become one as they proof. This is SO much more efficient than starting from scratch x2.

        I have this down to a science; I can bang out 4 large loaves of bread with under 20 minutes of prep time. (Not counting rising and baking, of course.)

        1. Hmmm. As a hand-kneader myself, having to add extra flour beyond a few dustings says to me that it is under kneaded, or the flour hadn't had time to fully absorb the liquids yet. How long did you run the KA after adding the minimum amount of flour? Did your recipe have an autolyse (let it rest in the mixer for maybe 20 or 30 minutes before continuing adding things)? How was the dough behaving in the mixer? Was it climbing up the hook? Did the dough look rough or smooth?

          The recipes should double and halve well. The time your mixer takes to handle it will change, though.

          It is possible that since you have been making bread for a short time, that you were previously under-kneading the dough so much that it never got to the sticky stage, so now that you are seeing that stage in the KA, you don't recognize it. When I mix by hand, first I stir it until it is annoying to continue, then I dump it and a little flour onto the counter. I start kneading. At first it is fine, but after some turns of the dough, I need to flour the heel of my hand to continue (or you can use water on your hand as well in some cases), because the dough is starting to get more sticky. But if I am patient this eventually stops, and some time after that the dough seems smoother, but I often achieve this by resting, folding, and turning (I'll explain if you like). Maybe what you saw in the KA was the middle phase there of stickiness. That stage of stickiness is solved by resting or by kneading.

          Did you recently also switch between volume measurements and weight measurements? This can cause quite a to-do with the flour.

          1. There should not that much difference in the amount of flour. An extra 5 cups is a lot. For me, using a KA, 6 cups of flour (sometimes 1/2 cup more) is enough to make two standard loaf. Kneading time is about 10 minutes. The dough should feel a bit sticky. I dust my hand give it a few more hand kneading and the stickiness turns into smooth ball.
            How did KA kneaded bread turned out. How different is it from your hand kneaded loaf.
            If you can post the ingredients for the recipe you are using, maybe other posters can figure out what the problem is.

            1. The most obvious clue to your issues with bread making are in your description of your bread making technique. "Cups" should have no place in the creation of an accurate and repeatable bread formula. "Ounces", "grams" (weights) are critical for making a good loaf of bread. By weighing (using bakers math formulations where the flour represents 100% of the formula and the other ingredients - water,salt, yeast - are added as a ratio of percentage to the amount of flour).
              If you're interested in learning more about bread making, purchase a good digital food scale (about $30) and spend some time on:
              http://www.thefreshloaf.com/

              1. There have been many posts on weighing ingredients rather than do volume measurement for bread making. While I measure by weight for most baking, I've used volume measurement for some of my old bread recipes without any problem. And many recent bread books still list ingredients in volume (most have both) for those who does not own a scale, therefore, it is possible to make good bread with volume measure. Bread is a little more forgiving then most baking, especially regarding to the amount of flour due to humidity and the brands of flour. Just add a little more if the dough feels too sticky.
                If one is doing a lot of baking and bread making, a scale is a good investment but it is not always necessary. Before the popularity of scales in the past 15 years or so, just about all bread and pastry books were written with only volume measurements and many of us do just fine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PBSF

                  Agreed. I make pizza dough quite happily by the feel of the dough, and I only use volume measures with that recipe. Using volume measure does not have to be the problem, especially if the person has been using it happily for some time with that particular recipe. Their volume measuring will still be the same for having switched to the KA.

                2. I HAVE to knead my bread dough, it wastes too much dough IMHO so I just bought an inexpensive pastry mat ( I think its Pamperd Chef) and knead on that as it is mostly non stick.