Author Topic: Food processor vs Mixer  (Read 3324 times)

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Offline Malanga

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Food processor vs Mixer
« on: April 07, 2012, 11:14:45 AM »
What are the differences in quality of dough between these two methods?  
Is one better than the other?  
What are the benefits of each?

We have both a food processor and a Kitchen Aid.  Having only used the food processor so far, I've noticed it's a pain in the neck to clean afterwards (which probably has more to do with me using too much water since I'm currently scaleless and still using volumes).

Fire away with your wisdom, seasoned pizza-heads!  Thank you!


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 02:32:57 PM »
Malanga,

The answer depends to a large extent on what you want to do, including the type of pizza you want to make. In my opinion, a food processor does best for a small amount of dough, that is, an amount of dough that is too little to make in a stand mixer. It is less effective for large batches of dough, even for a 14-cup food processor. For a normal dough, I also think that a food processor works best at a dough hydration value of about 59-63%. Below that, the food processor may have a hard time kneading the dough, especially if the amount of dough is fairly substantial, and above that, the dough may be too wet and you may end up with the blade spinning but not doing a good job kneading the dough.

From a style standpoint, I think a food processor is a good choice for, say, a NY style dough. In that context, and for a few operational tips, see the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2189.msg19289.html#msg19289.

A food processor is also very good for low hydration doughs where the hydration might be as low as 35%, and where you are trying to achieve a cornmeal effect with the dough. An example of such use, for a cracker-style dough, see Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49042.html#msg49042.

I have also been known to use both a food processor and a stand mixer to make a dough. An example of this combination is discussed at Reply 204 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9068.msg97757.html#msg97757.

Subject to the inherent limitations of a food processor mentioned in the above posts, there is very little that can't be done to make pizza dough in a home setting.

Peter

Offline Malanga

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 02:37:55 PM »
Thanks for the reply and the links.  I was originally shooting for a NY style pie, but me thinks the oven won't get hot enough (and I don't want to mod the oven for various reasons).  After hearing more about the Chicago thin crust, I may be concentrating my efforts in that direction for a while.  I'm a total newb with less than 20 pies under my belt and my short term goal is to understand the dynamics of dough making and to pump out some delicious pies, regardless of style.  

I just made a batch of dough about 30 minutes ago in the food processor and I can see what you're saying about it being useful for small batches only.  I was only working with 4 cups of flour (I know, volume sucks.. .still waiting on my scale) and it felt a bit cramped in their already.  Plus it's tough to see what's going on in there.  I did read something about oxidation on Serious Eats a few weeks back and how the food processor prevents too much O2 from getting into the mix.  I'm not sure how accurate that is or if it even makes that much of a difference.  What do you think?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 02:41:32 PM by Malanga »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 02:54:29 PM »
Malanga,

If you use a high mix speed with a food processor, you will get more oxidation of the dough and potential damage to the carotenoids in the flour. However, if you add the salt to the dough up front, that will serve to reduce the oxidation of the dough (salt is an antioxidant), but you perhaps also want to use just the pulse feature, and not let the food processor run amok at high speed. I think that is about the best you can hope for when using a food processor if you are concerned about carotenoid damage.

Peter

Offline Malanga

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 03:09:12 PM »
Peter,

What role do the carotenoids play in terms of the final product?  I honestly didn't even think about this pigment being present in the flour!  Thanks for the info!

I've been pulsing for very short periods of time (10 seconds tops).  I did remember reading about the possibility of overheating the forming dough ball plus whenever I've pulsed for too long the blade stops spinning and I end up with a gummed up mess.

Being that I want to start making larger batches, I'll probably be moving over to the Kitchen Aid, but for now, I'm sticking with smaller batches due to time constraints.

Thanks for the tips Peter!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 03:37:40 PM »
Malanga,

You can read about the effects of carotenoids, along with the use of autolyse, at Reply 11 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8205.msg94494/topicseen.html#msg94494. I picked that post because it also talks about the use of a food processor and its role in relation to carotenoids when used at high speeds.

See, also, Reply 25 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9027.msg79570/topicseen.html#msg79570.

Peter
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 03:41:41 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 04:36:55 PM »
Malanga

There's a very good book written about making dough with a food processor, it's called http://www.amazon.com/The-Best-Bread-Ever-Processor/dp/0767900324/?tag=pizzamaking-20 by Charles Van Over. He gives very specific directions on the proper use of the food processor for making all kinds of doughs.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 04:47:39 PM »
Dave,

I forgot about the Van Over approach. Bill/SFNM described his use of Van Over food processing methods for a Neapolitan style dough at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6322.msg54238.html#msg54238.

Peter

Offline Malanga

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 08:26:49 PM »
Thanks for the links guys! 

Offline communist

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 09:33:13 PM »
I have The Best Bread Ever by Van Over and have used it for over a decade.  It is one of my favorite books. I use my Cuisinart food processor for the recipes.  I have made the french baguettes, and they are very good, and I have used his bagel recipe, which is excellent.  I have used it for pizza dough in the past, but now, because of making usually over 3lbs of dough, I use my old Kitchen Aid Mixer.  I am not sure if my dough would be any different.   Mark


Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 01:33:57 AM »
Malanga

I'm not advocating that you run out and buy this book, it's expensive, and with a little searching you can probably find it in a library or at the very least buy a "used" one. The whole  premise of the book was that you can easily and quickly make dough in the food processor, the "trick" was to control mixing time and temperature. He has some "rules" which involve water and ingredient temperatures, and his mix time was somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 seconds. You don't really need the book, just common sense stuff really, don't overheat or overmix the dough.

Offline RobynB

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 05:57:19 PM »
When I was working on my dough, this was the first one that reliably worked for me and it happens to be a processor dough:  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/10/the-pizza-lab-how-to-make-great-new-york-style-pizza.html

Offline Malanga

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Re: Food processor vs Mixer
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 10:09:42 PM »
Hey Robyn, that's the one I've been playing around with!  Thanks everyone for the low down on Van Over's book.  I'm going to try and find it at a the local library.