How to knead dough in a mixer

If you’re not a fan of hand-kneading, you’re not alone. Fortunately, stand mixers are a perfect tool to quickly knead the dough without getting your hands dirty, quite literally! Besides, it requires less physical effort to knead the dough in a mixer.

If you’re new to this technique, stick with us. We’re about to tell you everything you need to know about using stand mixers for kneading the dough.

What is the Best Wattage for Kneading the Dough in a Mixer? 

Purchasing a stand mixer is a clever investment since this kitchen tool is truly handy. However, if you’re going to use the stand mixer for kneading dough frequently, you can’t just get any type of stand mixer.

You need a powerful mixer with a minimum wattage of 600. Some stand mixers use as much power as bread machines. Although, if you rarely bake and you don’t need to make large amounts of foods, a smaller, less powerful mixer will do.

A word of caution: When making a decision to buy a stand mixer, it is better to focus on its capacity (the size of the bowl) rather than power because some models use more wattage but don’t necessarily have more power.  

Is a Stand Mixer Better Than a Hand Mixer?

Both appliances have their advantages so deciding which is best depends on what you use it for. A hand mixer is a household item present in every home and it’s quite handy for mixing batter or making whipped cream.

They are also quite small and can be fitted in every kitchen. Not to mention that they’re affordable with prices starting at $10-$15.

However, stand mixers are a bit larger and a bit more expensive. They require a bit more space on your kitchen counter as well as a considerate investment so if you haven’t bought one yet, you should first think about whether you really need it and how often you would use it.

If you bake frequently and in large volumes, you would use having a stand mixer to save you the time and effort of mixing and kneading. This kitchen tool will knead the dough for you while you tackle another task in the meantime. 

These kitchen appliances also come with attachments such as a dough hook, paddle, and whisk. This makes baking all sorts of delicious goods a lot easier than with a hand mixer. 

Ultimately, the answer to which is best depends on your needs. If you bake often and have the extra counter space, investing in a stand mixer is a wise decision. Prices range from $100 to $500 or more. If you don’t spend that much time in the kitchen, you should at least have a good hand mixer. 

What Kind of Hook is Used for Mixing Dough?

A recipe may call for a stand mixer for mixing the dough but it most likely won’t indicate what type of hook to use for this. This is where amateur bakers get confused. How to know which hook to use?

When making bread or pizza dough, you should use the dough hook that came with your stand mixer when you purchased it. Using another type of attachment might result in a damaged mixer and could also affect the quality of the dough. 

The dough hook is typically shaped in a way that resembles the letter C so you’ll easily recognize this attachment. When attached, the dough hook pushes the dough from one side of the bowl to the other.

What does a Dough Hook for a Mixer Look Like?

What Setting Do You Use to Knead Dough?

Once you mix the ingredients and the dough is ready to be kneaded, set the mixer at low speed. Knead the dough for up to 10 minutes or until an elastic and smooth ball of dough is formed. This is easy to tell.

The dough hook was designed to be used specifically for dough and to be used at low speed (1 and 2). Do not use higher speed when kneading the dough.

Do You Knead Dough Before or After it Rises?

You knead the dough before it rises. This is when the main kneading takes place. This helps the gluten to develop which causes the dough to rise. After you knead the dough, you leave it to rise. 

Once the dough has risen, there is no need to knead it again as the gluten has already developed. However, some bakers knead the dough after it rises too, but this depends on the recipe you’re using. You may need to punch the dough a few times and gently press it to shape the loaves, but not much kneading is necessary here.

Important: If you knead the dough for too long after it’s risen, you may kill the bubbles that have formed during proofing and as a result, you will affect the quality of the loaf. 

How Long Do You Knead Dough in a Mixer?

Typically, it doesn’t take more than several minutes to knead the dough in a stand mixer (up to 10 minutes). However, you don’t have to use a timer for this, you can simply judge by the texture of the dough. When the dough is smooth and elastic and doesn’t stick to the sides of the mixing bowl-it’s ready.  

If you’re not sure the dough is ready, you can perform a little test. Grab a bit of the dough and pull it to see whether it breaks when stretching it. If it does, it’s not ready. The dough should be elastic and easy to work with. 

Can You Knead Dough Too Much?

Yes, you can. If you over knead the dough, it may result in a dense and flat loaf. Because the stand mixer is much faster and more efficient at kneading the dough when compared to hand-kneading, it’s easy to end up with an over kneaded dough.

What Happens if You Over Knead Dough?

When you over knead the dough, it becomes flat and hard to work with, and not smooth and elastic as it should be. It will be very stiff and impossible to shape because the dough will resist. This is because too much gluten has developed in the dough.

Over kneaded dough won’t have a good oven spring and will result in a dense loaf. The loaf will also be much smaller than expected and won’t have the airy, bubbly texture you desired.

To avoid this, you should monitor the dough as it is being kneaded in the mixer and follow the recipe instructions.

How to Fix Over Knead Dough?

If you’ve over kneaded your dough, worry not because there are a few things you can do to try and save it. Depending on the type of dough you’re making, you may be able to fix it so that it’s hardly noticeable.

One method is to leave the dough to rest for longer than indicated in the recipe (double the time). Better yet, cover it and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) because this will slow down the yeast action. 

The dough will soften a bit after this so you can shape it and leave it to rest a bit more. Once it’s ready, transfer to the oven and bake.

Tip: When shaping the fixed, over kneaded dough, avoid stretching and kneading too much. Do as little as possible to shape the loaf to prevent the same problem again.

How Do You Know if Dough is Kneaded Enough?

The dough is perfectly kneaded when it doesn’t stick to the sides of the mixing bowl and springs back when pushed gently. Perfectly kneaded dough is not sticky but elastic and easy to work with.

To be certain whether the dough is kneaded enough, you can perform a test, as mentioned earlier. You can also try pressing your fingers into the dough and if it springs back, it’s kneaded enough. If you’re still uncertain, we recommend watching this video.