Mixing It

It’s a paradox. Because I’m basically a lazy person I do lots of hand kneading. I have a spiral mixer which is pretty good with 14K of dough but not so good with 4K. It’s got a fixed bowl and at the end of the day I hate getting down to clean the thing. In fact the other week I hand kneaded 25K rather than dirty the mixer. Not all at the same time you understand.

I used to hand knead anything under 4K but now it’s up to 5K and, well, if it’s under 6K, and there’s nothing else to go in the mixer …

Each bake day I mix 8 doughs starting with the smaller ones for hand mixing. There are two bits to making a dough by hand, mixing – combining the flour and water which I do in a large lightweight plastic bowl, and kneading – working the dough on the bench which completes the mixing and develops the gluten.

I’ve simplified the short knead method down to:
mix dough no. 1 ‘til it just comes together; get it out on the bench and knead it ten times;
mix and knead dough no. 2, then knead dough no. 1 ten times;
mix and knead dough no. 3; then come back down the line kneading dough no. 2 ten times, then dough no. 1.

By this time dough no 1 is ready and goes into an oiled plastic box and up to the fridge for an overnight fermentation.

Example: Bread orders have been really down since Christmas and this week I ended up hand mixing everything. Wednesday evening I mixed a total of 15.605K dough which comprised:
Baguette/Campagne – 2.204K
Classic Sourdough – 5.119K
5 Seed & Spelt – 1.463K
Multigrain – 0.989K
Butternut Squash, Sunflower Seed & Chile – 5.830K

Thursday morning total =  6.623K:
Rheinisches Schwarzbrot – 4.862K
Red Grape & Fennel Seed Focaccia – 1.761K

Thursday evening total = 18.201K
Baguette/Campagne – 4.089K
Classic Sourdough – 5.119K
Wholemeal – 0.989K
5 Seed & Spelt – 4.841K
Multigrain – 2.905K
Butternut Squash, Sunflower Seed & Chile – 3.914K

Friday morning = 4.305K
Rheinisches Schwarzbrot – 1.957K
Red Grape & Fennel Seed Focaccia – 2.348K

Total for the two day bake – 44.734K

Conclusion: As ever, you can do exactly what you want. But, if I was a “normal” home baker, unless I had some form of disability, the last thing on my shopping list would be a mixer.

5 thoughts on “Mixing It

  1. Ahh, but perspective is everything – and there are many forms of ‘laziness’. My particular form of bread laziness is to develop a mixer process for every one of my breads (’cause I hate -really hate- having to spend all that time hand kneading – I don’t understand what people are talking about when they speak of ‘the satisfaction of kneading’.). It all comes down to perspective – and someone else washing my bowls!

    Hey, thanks for the peek into a real baker’s schedule – we avocational bakers tend to have our fantasies about how what we’re doing is not far removed from what a real baker does – but we’re wrong! Whenever Christmas rolls around, and I’m trying to do three things at once, I realize that maybe this wouldn’t be so much fun if I had to do it every day.

    I’m sorry I missed your last response to my previous comment – didn’t have ‘followups’ checked – but I’d love to hear your ‘fugawe’ story – as you might guess, I’ve got a few of my own.

  2. I’m afraid I don’t qualify as a “real” baker. Real bakers have told me so.

    That’s why I qualify my statement with “you can do what you like” because that’s none of my business.

    I too used to loathe kneading and I certainly don’t believe in the intrinsic good of hard work – heaven forefend! But I have come to get a certain satisfaction from it – depending on the type and quantity of dough. I do have a height advantage over some people and I have to admit to a weight advantage over more.

    Email coming your way.

    Best wishes


  3. I hate kneading dough. No…really I hate it, that’s why a favour anything that requires minimum kneading or folding methods.

    If it weren’t for the fact my fridge-freezer has just packed up and have to buy a new one my next purchase would be a domestic mixer with dough hook just to get me out of mixing the initial stage!

    I’m happy to mix, knead when I’m trying out new breads, experimenting but it’s when I have to made dough for the everyday, for daughter because of allergies…then making bread on a daily basis becomes a chore not pleasure…and that is why I know for sure I’m never going to be a professional baker 🙂

    So why are you apparently not a *real* baker according to some?

    1. Don’t worry Azélia I’m not trying to convert anyone. But with the method I’m using it takes around a minute to mix the ingredients followed by 3 x 10 seconds kneading.

      Carl has a nice little vid in this post on his blog showing a simple folding method here

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