Author Topic: Mixer Speed?  (Read 1368 times)

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Offline TimEggers

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Mixer Speed?
« on: August 21, 2005, 01:51:48 AM »
Howdy pizza lovers!  I have a Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook that I use to knead my dough.  What is the proper speed setting for the best kneading?  I use setting four and the mixer likes to dance all around the counter.  Is that too fast?  Am I losing something in the dough by using this method?

Thoughts and insights appreciated!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2005, 01:53:52 AM by TimEggers »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Mixer Speed?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2005, 11:00:14 AM »
Tim,

There are too many models of KitchenAid mixers to generalize, but the key factors in the outcome of the dough are the speed of the mixer, the duration of the knead, and the dough batch size. If the speed of the dough is too high, and/or the knead time too long, it is possible for the dough to take on more the character of a bread dough than a pizza dough and the finished crust might have more of a tight crumb with small regular holes. An overkneaded dough may also be more elastic and harder to shape, especially if the fermentation time is short. A dough that is kneaded too long can also be warmer and ferment faster because of the frictional heat produced by the mixer. Every 15 degrees of heat rise in a dough results in a doubling of the fermentation rate. This is one of the reasons that some recipes (mainly ones that professionals use) call for temperature adjustment of the water (to compensate for the heat).

I use a combination of the stir, 1 and 2 settings on my simple KitchenAid mixer, and setting 3 once in a while. What I personally look for is the desired condition of the finished dough. I will measure time if a particular recipe states one but I look more for the condition of the dough than time.

Peter

Offline TimEggers

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Re: Mixer Speed?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2005, 04:07:55 PM »
Thank you very much Peter for the great information!  Like I said the mixer (Kitchen Aid Artisan) likes to dance all around the counter so I have to stand there and hold it.

I will defiantly experiment with a slower knead.

I like to knead for 10 minutes and makes the same amount as Randy's American Style pizza recipe does.  The finished crust is outstanding and I am very happy with it.

One other dumb question: what exactly is the crumb structure?  I have never heard of that prior to coming here and I don't see a definition here (unless I am missing it).

Thanks again my friend!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Mixer Speed?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2005, 06:15:22 PM »
The term "crumb" is one used to describe the soft, inner portion of a bread or pizza crust. For pizza, it's that part of the crust between the upper and lower surfaces. It can be light and airy, with holes (sometimes called "voids") of irregular shape and size (which is good for pizza crusts), or tight and dense with holes of roughly equal shape and size (more common with breads). By controlling the hydration levels, knead times, knead speeds, and other factors, you can get either crumb structure in a piece of dough--either pizza dough or bread dough (e.g., foccacia and ciabatta breads use very high hydration levels--above 70%--to help get large irregular holes in the crumb.)

If you want to see some good examples of crumbs (in a bread setting), click on the thumbnail photos at http://www.progressivebaker.com/class/section5.htm#.

In my last post, I neglected to mention that a dough made with high-gluten flour as opposed to "weaker" flours (e.g., all-purpose flour) usually require more machine energy to knead, because of the higher protein/gluten content. Doughs using low absorption rates (low hydration levels) also require more energy to knead because the doughs are more dry than wet. In fact, Hobart, the dominant mixer manufacturer in the U.S., recommends that the dough batch size of its mixers be reduced by 10% for high-gluten flours and that batch sizes be reduced for low absorption rates. My recollection is that KitchenAid does not recommend the high settings for dough production. Doing this with large dough batch sizes can damage the machine. This is quite common among pizza operators who use KitchenAid units to make test doughs. They sometimes forget that KitchenAid units are not Hobarts and end up burning up the gears of their KitchenAid machines because their dough batch sizes were more than the machines could safely handle.

Peter