Kneading Dough with Kitchenaid mixer
I am a new owner of a kitchenaid artisan mixer. Made soft pretzels this weekend and the recipe said to knead in my stand mixer at medium speed. I followed these directions, not realizing that my KA guide said not to exceed level 2. I kneaded at level four for about four minutes, and the mixer was shaking and moving all over the table. My question is: have I ruined my new mixer??? I'm concerned after reading my instruction manual (should have done that beforehand obviously!!) warning than any kneading exceeding level 2 is dangerous to the machine.
It doesn't sound like you've ruined your mixer.
I've always disliked when instructions say "medium" speed in the mixer because what does that mean? If your mixer has 10 settings then of course you'd think 5 is medium, it's in the middle.
There are two things that can happen with your mixer when you mix on too high a level with dough (that I have experienced):
1) the mixer "walks" off the counter and crashes to the floor. This can of course damage the machine, the floor, and your dough goes all over the floor. Never good.
2) the mixer overheats or the gears break (never good either).
In the future I recommend using a lower setting and listening to the machine. The hook can spin a little faster than what you would normally do if you were working the dough by hand but the machine shouldn't "walk" and you shouldn't hear the motor struggling with each turn.
Thanks for the response. My KA was definitely moving and shaking on the counter, but I made sure it didn't fall. It didn't seem to overheat-- at least I didn't notice anything. So even though it was pretty loud and I let it shake for those four min. of kneading, you think I was spared lasting damage??
I think you're fine. No worries - mix away.
I've had my mixers just seize on me when mixing a very stiff dough - and I was sure I ruined it. I let it sit for a while and it has worked since - but I've had another one that I had to send back because the gears went all funky.
You'll know when it is broken for sure.
I would expect the mixer to shake and move if you're kneading dough at a higher speed, unless you heard gears grinding you probably didn't do any damage to the mixer. I usually knead dough at the lowest setting, possible going up to 2. Kneading at too high a speed can damage the gluten.
If you didn't smell the motor burning, then you're probably fine, but be careful (from what I've heard) in kneading bread doughs, esp. with higher protein (e.g., flours labeled as "bread flour," "high-gluten" or "high protein"--rather than "All-Purpose" flour).
I have a bread machine that I generally use just for kneading (forming the loaf separately and cooking in the oven). You can often get a good brand used for a song at some thrift shop (Breadman, Panasonic National--or Zojirushi if you're lucky), and that could be worth having around.
As long as the dough is being slapped against the sides of the mixing bowl by the rotating dough hook, it's being kneaded. Otherwise it's just being spun around. Naturally this causes vibration in the mixer. If the mixer starts to move on the counter, you can back off the speed a little until that stops, or else find a way to block the movement and keep the mixer in place.
As for damaging the mixer, that should only happen if the motor is seriously overheated for a length of time. I've read that newer Kitchenaid mixers have weaker motors than my 40-year-old model, so the recipe's instruction might be OK for my mixer but not for yours, As thimes says, adjust the speed to what your particular mixer can do.