• #1 by Ian on 04 Dec 2005
  • I realize there are varying schools of thought on the effectivenss of a food processor for making dough and I'm not looking to generate debate on that topic.

    I would however, be interested to learn the most succesful techniques for using a processor to make a NY style dough. Specifically... order in which the ingredients are added, length of time to process, how to incorporate an autolyse, possibilities for using a preferement (sp?) rather than added yeast etc..  If you have experience with this I'd really appreciate you're input.

    Many thanks
  • #2 by Pete-zza on 04 Dec 2005
  • Ian,

    I personally think a food processor is a good choice to make a New York style dough. It works fast, and does a good job of mixing and kneading dough ingredients. Its principal drawback is that it cannot make a large quantity of dough at one time (you will have to make multiple batches), and it can easily produce excessive heat that can raise the finished dough temperature above optimum levels (considered to be around 80 degrees F). Because of its high operating speed, it is also easy to overknead a dough in a food processor if not watched closely.

    When using a food processor, I always start by putting the flour (and, depending on the recipe, other dry ingredients) into the bowl of the processor first. If your processor is anything like mine (a 14-cup Cuisinart), if you put in the water first and then add the flour and other dry ingredients, especially if this is done gradually to improve hydration of the flour, you will very likely gum up the works as the wet dough seeps in the spaces around and under the blade. Sometimes the blade will even stop spinning. It will be very difficult to correct this problem without disassembling the blade from the bowl, cleaning things up, and essentially starting all over again.

    I almost always use the pulse feature to knead the dough. This is done to keep the frictional heat of the machine down. A food processor run at normal speed can quite easily add about 15-25 degrees of heat to the dough. As most people who read my posts know, I generally temperature adjust my water in order to overcome the contribution of heat by whatever machine I am using to knead dough. Without doing this, I may not achieve the finished dough temperature I am looking for.

    I will sometimes run the processor at normal speed but usually for no more than about 10-15 seconds, usually at the end of the knead cycle, and only if the dough is on the cool side and can take more heat or it appears that a fuller knead is necessary to achieve the desired final condition of the dough. I usually don't keep track of pulse/knead times. I look instead for the desired finished dough condition. One good thing about a food processor is that the dough will form a unitary ball around the blade when the balance between the flour and water is just about right. I have not found a great deal of difference using a plastic blade or a metal blade, although in theory a plastic blade should be easier on the dough because of its duller edges.

    If I plan to use an autolyse, I use the classic autolyse and mix only the flour and water together to begin with. No salt, yeast, oil, sugar or anything else, although it is generally safe to add a natural preferment or instant dry yeast (IDY) to the flour and water during the autolyse since the preferment or IDY will usually not start to do their job until the autolyse period is over (usually a 15-30 minute time period). During the autolyse, I usually just put a towel over the opening to the processor bowl to keep the dough from drying out. Once the autolyse period is over, I usually add the oil, pulse that in, and then add the salt and pulse that in.

    When I am not using an autolyse, my personal practice is to dissolve the salt (and sugar, if used) in the water (temperature adjusted). If I am using IDY, I mix it in with the flour. If I am using active dry yeast (ADY), I proof it in a small portion of the overall water, at a temperature of around 105-115 degrees F, for about 10 minutes or so and then mix it in with the rest of the water (temperature adjusted). If I am using a natural preferment, I usually mix it in with the water. Whatever approach I use, I don't put salt or sugar in with the yeast during proofing of the yeast. That's the Lehmann way. Mixing in the oil separately is also the Lehmann way. I know that a lot of people just mix everything but the flour together in a bowl and then combine with the flour and knead everything together. Since I don't use that approach personally, I have no idea as to whether it is better or worse than my approach.


  • #3 by Ian on 04 Dec 2005
  • Thanks Peter.... lots of good advice. Can you please clarify what you mean by "I will sometimes run the processor at normal speed but usually for no more than about 10-15 seconds, usually at the end of the knead cycle"... Do you mean that you pulse until you have a ball formed and then run for 10 - 15 seconds to knead? Also, do you perform and hand kneading after removing from the machine?
  • #4 by Pete-zza on 04 Dec 2005
  • Ian,

    With a food processor, I go as much by feel as anything else. I usually try to get the job done using only the pulse feature. But if I don't think that the dough is good enough after doing that--for example, it looks and feels a bit rough--I will run the machine for about 10-15 seconds to improve its consistency. I just estimate the time, not actually measure it, and it is rare that I will need more knead time in the processor than the 10-15 seconds. I will almost always do some final hand kneading/shaping, just as I do with any machine I use to knead the dough. I do it just to get a final feel for the dough before putting it into a container. A food processor does such a good job kneading dough that the hand kneading isn't usually necessary. I just like to feel the dough to confirm that it is OK.

  • #5 by Pete-zza on 02 Feb 2011
  • There is a useful article on the use of a food processor to make dough in general (i.e., not limited to the NY style) at


    EDIT (5/13/22): For a replacement seriouseats link, see
  • #6 by Pete-zza on 02 Apr 2020
  • It may have been mentioned before, but jsaras (Jonas) reminds us on how to calculate water temperature when using a food processor in his post at Reply 1 at:

  • #7 by The Dough Doctor on 02 Apr 2020
  • It's also good to keep in mind when mixing the dough that all you are looking for is a dough with a smooth appearance, once the dough takes on a smooth appearance it has been sufficiently mixed. With time and developed expertise you will be able to better fine tune the dough mixing specific to your dough management procedure and desired finished crust characteristics, but for now I suggest just mixing for the smooth appearance. One other thing, with a food processor it is better to error on the under mixed side than on the over mixed side.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
  • #8 by Pete-zza on 02 Apr 2020
  • For those who would like to dig deeper into the matter of dough temperatures when using a food processor, see Tom's oldie but goodie PMQ article that was archived in the Wayback Machine at:

    As with any mixer, including a food processor, one has to keep in mind that the friction factor can change with dough batch weights and also mixer speed and knead duration. But with experience and practice one can usually end up with a dough with the right mix and knead and temperature characteristics.


  • #9 by The Dough Doctor on 02 Apr 2020
  • Peter;
    Wow! You really did dig deep to find that one from 2003!
    The SAF/Lesaffre Yeast Corporation water temperature calculation that is mentioned in the article is still available but here it is just in case someone wants it right away.
    This is designed for doughs which will have a targeted desired finished dough temperature in the 82 to 88F range.
    Here is the calculation:
    145 minus flour temperature = desired water temperature.

    While this is designed for commercial planetary mixers with a friction factor of about 30 it can be easily modified to any other type of mixer. It will take a little trial and error, but once you have it it's a handy tool to have.
    1) Use the above equation to make a dough, measure the finished dough temperature.
    2) If the temperature is more than 5F too high or too low recalculate the water temperature using 145 plus 10 (if the temperature is too low or 140 minus 10 if the temperature is too high.
    3) Make a dough using the new calculated water temperature and measure the finished dough temperature. If the finished dough temperature is within 5F of your targeted finished dough temperature you're good to go, if not make another adjustment to the 145 number and repeat.

    Once you have the number needed for your mixer to give you YOUR desired finished dough temperature the only variable will be the flour temperature so from that point on all you will need to do is to measure the temperature of the flour and subtract it from "your number" to get the desired water temperature.

    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
  • #10 by Pizza Shark on 02 Apr 2020
  • In my opinion especially if you are going to do a 72 HR cold ferment, one is far better off to under knead than over knead the dough.  Dough that has undergone a 72 HR cold ferment is a totally different animal than same day dough or 24 hour CF dough.