Author Topic: Hand kneading vs Mixer  (Read 5079 times)

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Hand kneading vs Mixer
« on: March 05, 2010, 09:08:56 PM »
Hey all, I'm new here so sorry if this has been covered before.  Just provide a link if there are threads that cover this topic already.

I've been making pizzas for 3 months now trying to perfect the NY style pizza.  I've made several awesome pies already just by hand mixing. 

My question is, is it absolutely necessary to knead dough with a mixer to get the best results or will doing a good job at hand kneading yield similar (or the same) result?

Will buying a mixer improve my results dramatically?

« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 02:55:59 AM by Tranman »


Offline Jackitup

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 09:30:12 PM »
you certainly won't regret getting a stand mixer. Aside from bread and pizza it can be used for a lot of other stuff, cookie dough, meringues etc. I have the KA 600 pro and love it. To answer your question, great results can be achieved from both.

Jon
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Offline tcarlisle

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 10:13:46 PM »
Some of my textbooks say that hand kneading produces better results, but to be honest I can't tell any difference. It certainly takes a lot longer by hand. I always knead several minutes by hand even after using the mixer. Without the mixer it would be ten minutes or more of kneading. With a mixer you have to be aware of the possibility of overkneading and raising the dough temperature.

With a stand mixer, the convenience and efficiency is so much that you will find yourself making much more baked goods. I rarely buy bread -- even everyday loaf sandwich bread.

I have merely the 300W version of the kitchen aid. I've had it nearly ten years and never have I felt I needed more power and it has never failed. Breads and pizza dough are the most taxing on the mixer. Cakes and other baked goods don't require much power. I can process enough dough to make three loaves of bread or three large pizzas in one batch -- that's plenty for me. If you don't see yourself exceeding this then don't worry about getting the lowest cost version.

Offline dms

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 02:19:45 AM »
d.

I have merely the 300W version of the kitchen aid. I've had it nearly ten years and never have I felt I needed more power and it has never failed. Breads and pizza dough are the most taxing on the mixer. Cakes and other baked goods don't require much power. I can process enough dough to make three loaves of bread or three large pizzas in one batch -- that's plenty for me. If you don't see yourself exceeding this then don't worry about getting the lowest cost version.

Mixer nameplate ratings are misleading.  They're input power ratings, not output.  There's a very real incentive to use an oversized, inefficient motor, so the nameplate number will be higher.  Quite a number of mixers marketed for home use have stupidly high nameplate reads -- 800 or a 1000 watts.  At typical electrical motor efficiency, that should be a horsepower of output.   It's not, because they're relying on an inefficient motor, and its peak (not continuous draw.)   

  The hobart N50, which is commercial five quart mixer capable of mixing five quarts of whatever you put in the bowl (including, it happens, concrete...)  has a 1/6 horse output.  The current production 20 quart mixer has a 1/2 HP motor; hobart claims it'll handle 20 lbs of flour.  (The max draw on that motor is less than 1000 watts....) 

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 03:01:46 AM »
thanks guys!  so it sounds like getting a mixer won't dramatically increase my results but will likely make my life a little easier in the long run. 

Well I'll continue to make bread and pizza a little longer by hand to make sure that I'll stick with it before investing in a mixer.  I've got my eye on an Electrolux DLX mixer for around $650.

I definitely don't want to spend more than that, but is there a comparable or better model for less money?

Also if kneading by hand takes me 10-15min, how long would it take to knead pizza dough using a stand mixer?  Just curious.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 06:46:05 AM »
thanks guys!  so it sounds like getting a mixer won't dramatically increase my results but will likely make my life a little easier in the long run. 

Well I'll continue to make bread and pizza a little longer by hand to make sure that I'll stick with it before investing in a mixer.  I've got my eye on an Electrolux DLX mixer for around $650.



By far the best bag for the buck; an all around fantastic machine.  I have gone through quite a few mixers & for home use in this price range, there is nothing that compares.

Matt

Offline scott r

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 11:16:44 AM »
Matt, I am not saying I am the absolute authority, so take my views for what they are, but I have actually owned a Kitchen Aid, an Electrolux DlX, A Bosch Universal, and even a Santos fork mixer.    I sold everything but the Bosch universal, so that should tell you somthing.   In my opinion the bosch makes a far superior dough to the Electrolux, but maybe you had a different experience?   
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 11:19:37 AM by scott r »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 12:20:04 PM »
Guys your experience and post is much appreciated here.  You guys will have saved me much time and money.  It sounds like I won't go wrong with either.  Anyone else think the Bosch is superior to the Electrolux?  Not wanting to start a mixer war here, just interested in other's opinions. 

Offline Matthew

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 01:22:36 PM »
Matt, I am not saying I am the absolute authority, so take my views for what they are, but I have actually owned a Kitchen Aid, an Electrolux DlX, A Bosch Universal, and even a Santos fork mixer.    I sold everything but the Bosch universal, so that should tell you somthing.   In my opinion the bosch makes a far superior dough to the Electrolux, but maybe you had a different experience?   

Hey Scott,
I have also owned all the mixers stated above with the addition of the Cuisinart & the exception of the Bosch.  I sold them all & kept the DLX.  I have never tried the Bosch so I cannot comment except from everything that I have heard, which have all been positive.  I make mostly Neapolitan dough so for me the DLX worked best both is terms of batch size & finished product.  How is the Bosch with Neapolitan dough?  It looks like a fairly aggressive mixer.

Matt

Offline scott r

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 02:37:25 PM »
The bosch is totally amazing and my favorite mixer.    I was turned on to it by fellow forum member widespread pizza, and at the time I had the santos and the DLX.   I actually prefer the bosch to both of them for making neapolitan pizza, bread, or normal temperature pizza.   The machine is just amazing.   There is another member, SC pizza, that prefers his santos to the bosch, but I know that Marc (widespread pizza) and I disagree with him and prefer the Bosch.   One thing about SC's santos is that it has been modified to mix at half speed.   I think that between the two it is a no brainer factoring in the much lower cost of the Bosch.  I know I did many side by side comparisons of the Bosch and the Santos and for me the Bosch pizzas were preferred every time.   All my family and friends picked the Bosch doughs in blind tests too.   Unfortunately I never found teh DLX to be nearly as good as the santos or the bosch, but it is a step up from a kitchen aid.   
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 02:40:11 PM by scott r »


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 11:23:37 PM »
Well heck Scott, I hadn't really paid much attention to Bosch, but after reading about all the pluses of Bosch, I really have to consider it now.  The new Bosch plus universal is $400, which is cheaper than the Electrolux.  Both machines are workhorses and will be fine I'm sure.

I was really tempted to get a KA pro 600 today at Kohl's for $280 + tx, but I think I'll be investing in either a Bosch or an Electrolux.  Thank you again for your post.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 11:25:46 PM by Tranman »

Offline scpizza

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2010, 01:29:17 PM »
I find hand mixing to produce the optimal results in terms of least dough oxidation and best dough hydration.  Hand mixing can be messy and a pain though so for routine purposes I use my custom Santos setup.

The Bosch I don't care for.  I found it to wail away on the dough, oxidizing it excessively and hydrating it poorly.  While that higher oxidation can produce a slightly airier crust (like what you achieve by adding ascorbic acid), you pay by losing flavor.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 05:22:45 PM by scpizza »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2010, 02:30:02 PM »
Tranman,
 
As you can see from http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/mixers.htm, the standard stand mixer was invented in 1908, by Herbert Johnson, a Hobart engineer. Before that, and until that mixer caught on with the public, doughs were kneaded by hand. As you may know, three prominent pizza operators, Chris Bianco (of Pizzeria Bianco), Brian Spangler (of Apizza Scholls) and Anthony Mangieri (formerly of Una Pizza Napoletana) acquired notoriety for making their doughs by hand while most others used machines. Chris Bianco's brother Marco now makes the dough for Pizzeria Bianco (I believe it is still done by hand) but Chris once reportedly said that he started kneading his dough by hand many years ago mainly because he couldn't afford a mixer. Apparently as he became skilled at it and liked his results (and he is fanatical about his pizzas as they come), he chose not to graduate to a machine. Not long ago, Brian Spangler went to a mixer to knead his doughs, as did Anthony Mangieri.

So, there is nothing wrong with hand kneading dough. It becomes more of an imperative to go to a mixer if you have to make large amounts of dough, and especially as the protein content of the flour goes up, like high-gluten flour, which is harder to knead by hand without using high hydration levels, oil in the dough, and/or autolyse or similar rest periods. Even then, for large dough volumes you can use the "wooden stick" method that Tom Lehmann saw used in Romania, as he discussed at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6838&p=45068&hilit=#p45068  :-D. A mixer of some sort, or even a food processor, also comes in handy to make very low hydration doughs as are used, for example, for cracker-style pizzas. But, even for that style, I found a way to use hand kneading.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 04:00:16 PM »
Thank you Peter!  I appreciate the wealth of information.  I am still workin on perfecting my dough by hand.
I'd like to make the best possible dough by hand or at least one I'm very happy with before going to the mixers.  This way I will have had some experience and be able to judge critically the differences between the 2 doughs.
  Also by the time I need a mixer to do big batches, I will have found my recipe of choice and will be done (for the most part) wih experimentation.  For now, I'm still tweaking things.
  Thx for posting the little to no knead technique.  This is the 2nd ime I've read about it on this forum and will try it next.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2010, 04:49:58 PM »
Tranman,

One of the things you may want to keep in mind, and I believe you alluded to it in another thread, is the minimum amount of dough a particular mixer can make. My needs are generally for small amounts of dough, most often a single dough ball sufficient to make a pizza up to 18", which I now make using a standard KitchenAid mixer on the low end of the price scale. It occasionally croaks and groans to the point where I have thought that the end was near and that I should make plans for a decent burial. More than once I have been tempted to replace that machine with a better, more efficient machine. It has never been a matter of cost. However, from what I could tell from the comments of our members, the better mixers, from the KitchenAid Pro series on up, and including several other brands, do not do particularly well with small amounts of dough. So, I have stayed with the status quo. The day will eventually come when my mixer goes on to the afterlife and I will have to make a decision. At this point, I think I would go with either another low end machine, even with its inefficiencies, or just use hand kneading.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2010, 05:19:52 PM »
Your responses are always spot on Peter.  Right now Im really in the experimental phase of dough making so I usually dont make more than 2 doughballs at a time, enough for 2 14" pies. 

If freezing dough doesnt affect the end product, I would eventually like to make 6-8 doughballs worth at a time and freeze to save some time. This would be after i settled on a recipe that I really like and have worked out many of the pizza making mysteries.  In the mean time, i'll keep experimenting and hand kneading.

Im also considering looking for a used bread machine or using a food processor for the short duration.

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2010, 05:36:26 PM »
I would steer away from the bread machine due to it's lack of versatility. Food processors or stand mixers are much more usable in a variety of ways and aren't as fussy if you want to ramp up a recipe to a larger amount. Bread machines will only do a couple things and only accommodate so much volume which may be quite limiting as you go on. My opinion only ;-)
Jon
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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2010, 06:12:46 PM »
Tranman,

I have tried to become somewhat agnostic about the method to use to make pizza dough in the sense that I would like to be able to make pizza dough by any of the many possible methods and to devise the best techniques to use for each method. If you are thinking of expanding the range of options beyond a stand mixer and hand kneading, you might take a look at the various methods I have used to make the NY style, which I listed in the following thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1453.msg13193.html#msg13193. However, as Jon has mentioned, you also want to look at what other uses you would have for the particular machine selected. Each machine has pros and cons.

Peter

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Hand kneading vs Mixer
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2010, 07:05:24 PM »
When I make dough at home, I use the old bread machine I bought at a garage sale for $1.00 a few years back while the KA mixer stays in the box.

it is like having the RonCo version of a vertical cutter mixer, I only use it until the ball takes shape and it just starts to look alright, then I finish by hand.

My plans are to get a 100# capacity spiral mixer for the restaurant, I have killed the transmission on way too many Hobart 60Qt's in my time. Although the Planetary mixers have everything else beat for versatility due to the multiple attachments I guy can put on them.
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