Since today is the last day of this month’s challenge, I decided to post my entry. It is the use of a combination of two different machines to make pizza dough—in my case, the combination of a Cuisinart food processor and a basic KitchenAid stand mixer with a C-hook.
I stumbled upon this combination by accident when I decided to use my Cuisinart food processor (with a 14-cup capacity) to make a Mack’s clone dough. The dough formulation, at Reply 204 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9068.msg97757.html#msg97757
, called for making a dough ball with a weight of around 18.5 ounces. With a dough hydration of 57%, I thought that my Cuisinart food processor would do a better job than my KitchenAid stand mixer. However, when I tried to make the dough in my food processor, I discovered that the dough wouldn’t gather completely into a unitary ball. I was using mostly the pulse feature and a roughly 15-second period at full speed to prepare the dough, mainly to minimize the amount of heat imparted to the dough. Even though I used cold water to help keep the finished dough temperature down, I did not want to let the food processor run continuously at full speed in the hopes that it would ultimately produce a smooth, round cohesive dough ball. I knew from prior experience that that would result in a very overheated dough ball.
So, I decided to remove the dough from the food processor and finish kneading it in my KitchenAid stand mixer using the C-hook. It took about 4 minutes at speed 2 to complete the job. I ended up with a nice, smooth, cohesive dough ball. During that time, the dough ball did not climb the C-hook. When time came to use the dough, it handled beautifully. I concluded that a dough ball weight of 18.5 ounces was too much for my food processor if I wanted to keep the finished dough temperature in the 75-85 degrees F range but within the capabilities of my KitchenAid stand mixer.
I subsequently repeated the above experiment with two other Mack clone dough balls, one weighing about 19.69 ounces and with a hydration of 57.5% (Reply 301 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9068.msg98561.html#msg98561
) and another with a dough weight of about 21.21 ounces and a hydration of 55% (Reply 307 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9068.msg99472.html#msg99472
). Again, I had good results all around, as I noted in the abovereferenced posts. In both cases, I used the KitchenAid 2 speed for about 4 minutes.
More recently, I made two Lehmann NY style doughs, principally to further test out the above approach of using the food processor/KitchenAid stand mixer combo. The first Lehmann dough ball had a weight of about 17 ounces and a hydration of 62%; the second Lehmann dough ball had a weight of about 17.91 ounces and a hydration of 60%. Again, I used a KitchenAid speed of 2 for 4 minutes and got beautiful, smooth, cohesive dough balls, again without the dough balls climbing the C-hook. I recently used the first dough ball, a photo of which is shown below, to make a pizza, and the dough handled very well, without any thin spots or spidery, webby characteristics. (The second Lehmann dough ball looked like the first one.)
In my experiments, I tried both the metal food processor blade and the plastic version. I can’t say that I noticed a big difference but I plan to experiment further with both blades to see if any pattern develops.
The method I used to make the dough was very simple. I combined the flour (I used King Arthur bread flour supplemented with vital wheat gluten to achieve a 14.2% total protein content) and IDY in the processor bowl, and I combined the water, salt and oil in a cup (and sugar for the Mack clone doughs). The water was cold right out of the refrigerator. It is important that the water be cold if a finished dough temperature below 85 degrees F is to be achieved. I gradually added the water mixture to the processor bowl while using the pulse feature. Once the dough ingredients came together roughly (the dough will have a rough round shape but with uncombined dough fragments), I ran the processor at full speed for about 15 seconds. There were still some loose dough clumps but otherwise the dough was roughly round. I removed the dough from the food processor, gathered the dough into a round ball to hold everything together, and put it into the KitchenAid stand mixer for final processing.
I plan to continue to experiment with the above method to further define the parameters and limitations of the method. If I continue to get good results, I may start a new thread to detail my findings.