Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bread Recipes and Mixers

The Problem:
I have a bread recipe that I really like but I've been having troubles making it in my Artisan Kitchen Aid Mixer. It calls for 10.5 cups of flour and the last few times I have made the recipe I have to really work to make sure the flour gets incorporated. It's a lot of flour and I've broken a plastic mixing spoon trying to get it all in while scraping the bottom trying to do it manually.
I have been considering whether a bigger Kitchen Aid would solve the problem or if I need to go to a different recipe. The style of the mixers changes as you allow for more flour and I wasn't sure that I would like it. So my sister offered up her Professional Heavy Duty model for me to use side by side with mine.

The white mixer is the Artisan. The grey/silver mixer is the HD. First of all the dough hooks are completely different. The Artisan has springloaded mixing tools with a bread hook, while the ProHD has a spiral hook. Interestingly the bowls are both 5 quart bowls. The shape is a bit different as the HD bowl is less tapered at the bottom. The tools for the HD are much bigger as well.

A problem I have with the large 10.5 cup recipe in my artisan is that the dough climbs the hook and gets in the spring... a pain to clean up. The HD has no spring. The wattage is 375 in the Artisan and 425 in the HD, but power isn't a problem. It's more of a flour in the bottom of the bowl issue.
So I chose a 7 cup bread recipe a friend shared with me to make in the Artisan. I'm all too familiar with what the 10 1/2 cup recipe will do in mine so I didn't feel I needed to do exactly the same recipe in both. I made the larger bread recipe in the HD.

Adding ingredient in the beginning is easy in both. Tilt the head on the artisan and add to the HD before you put the bowl on the mixer.

Trish's recipe calls for only half of the flour to begin with... my recipe calls for the full 10 1/2 cups of flour. (Hmmm. I wonder if I could switch up the order of ingredients on my 3 loaf recipe...)
Just as a comparison I wanted to compare the level with ALL the flour in each.

The HD is designed to be able to handle 20% more flour than the Artisan. See how the artisan bread hook has a disk at the top to keep the dough away from the hook. Well it doesn't do the job with my big bread recipe. Let's see if it does better with the smaller sized recipe... Here is the flour level in the HD. Not much difference when you look at how far from the top of the bowl the flour is, but when you consider there is no disk on the spiral hook, we have no worries of being over capacity. OK so I removed half of the flour from the Artisan so I could make the bread. Adding more flour halfway through was pretty easy. I never really use the ingredient chute that came with this. Why? Because it’s one more thing to move out of the way when you need to stir the bottom of the bowl. I have already stirred this mixture by the time I was adding the other half of the flour. Another interesting thing I noted was it is a lot different stirring 3 ½ cups of bread dough than it is 10 ½ cups.

It did creep up on the disk a bit, but not bad. It slipped back off on it’s own. Also, look how clean the edges of the bowl are getting. It really is licking the sides clean.

The other dough did fine. I did have to stir that heavy dough, and it’s very sticky. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. It did ball up just a little bit better than this. Nothing like the other one did though.

I am starting to see that the smaller recipe is just easier by design at this point. You can see there is hardly any flour around the Artisan / 7 cup recipe mixer and it’s pretty floury around the HD.

The Winner? Easy Homemade Bread (7 cup) beats out One Hour Bread (10 ½ cup) for ease of recipe. The bread texture and density is the same and both slice easily … I just assume make the recipe that behaves itself better, and make the easy stuff twice! Check with Trish if you want the recipe. You can link to her at My Daily SAHM Life.

… and the Mixer Winner??? More tests are necessary… but so far I’m thinking it is just preference. They both have features that make them cool. Here's my bread!


Trish said...

Very interesting! I've been coveting a Pro. Maybe I'm over it now.
A hand full of thoughts (Cherish them. I don't get too many ;)
~My Kitchenaid is a 400HP Accolade.
~I always have to give a quick stir/scrape to the bottom after I mix the first few cups of flour with the liquids and other ingredients. I put them in, mix for a minute, stir and then continue with the recipe. But I never have to hand mix again, even after adding the final portion of flour. And my bowl ends up "licked clean" as you say.
~There's some kind of scientific Alton Brown-esque reason for doing half the flour at first. It has something to do with the gluten in the flour. I'll see if I can find the info again.
~In my KA owner's manual there are directions for adjusting the clearance of the beater and bowl. You wouldn't want to adjust it to a point that the beater hits the bowl at all. But maybe yours is adjusted with too much clearance. Assuming that the Artisan is adjustable like the Accolade. These adjustments would effect the dough hook also since it attaches at the same point as the beater. Right? I'd think so.
~Then again, I'm not sure what you mean about a "spring". I don't think mine has a spring. So maybe it's totally different as far as that goes.
~All the recipes that came with my Accolade call for 7 cups of flour or less. I think it just isn't built to handle more than that. What about the recipes that came with your Artisan?

Trish said...

Here's a deal from PYP if you decide you want a Pro.
Are you sure the bowls are the same size on yours and Amy's? Looks like this one is 6 quarts.
Anywho...FYI. :)

Christy said...

I am thinking I will divide my flour, always, out of respect to Alton. It's too dang hard to get under the mix to scrape the bottom without making a mess!
I don't believe either of these models are adjustable. For sure the Artisan is not. I checked that before I borrowed Amy's mixer.
The spring lives just above where the attachment fits on. You would know if you had one.
I'm checking out the recipes in the book tonight! Thanks for the input.
I think back when I first tried your recipe I put all the flour in right away. I didn't realize it until talking to you later that I hadn't followed the directions.

Christy said...

PS > Yeah it's a 5 quart. Amy said she'd trade me. I think she wouldn't mind the smaller one. That is a good price and think of all the extra experiments I could do with another model!

Amy said...

Boy I wished I was the taste tester at your house this weekend. It sounds like you like both mixers. You can keep mine until you figure out which one you like or prefer. Maybe I will let you keep them both if you supply me weekly with homemade bread. LOL

Amber said...

That bread looks super, super yummy!

I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving with your family. The pictures of them are amazing. Did your hubby take them?

Hope all is good your way. Talk to you soon!

The big plunge...

Starting Weight 193.8
Week 1 194.2 - +.4
W- 2 190.2 - -4.0
W- 3 186.4 - -3.8
W- 4 186.2 - -0.2
W- 5 184.0 - -2.2
W- 6 184.5 - +0.5
W- 7 185.0 - -0.5
W- 8 183.2 - -1.8
W- 9 180.0 - -3.2
W- 10 183.2 - +3.2
W- 11 179.0 - -4.2
W- 12 177.1 - -1.9
W- 13 175.1 - -2.0
W- 14 171.6 - -3.5
W- 15 169.9 - -1.7
W- 16 168.4 - -1.5
W- 17 165.4 - -3.0
W- 18 161.9 - -3.5
W- 19 165.4 - +3.0
W- 20 163.0 - -2.4
W- 21 165.8 - +2.8
W- 22 162.0 - -3.8
W- 23 159.8 - +0.4
W- 24 158.0 - -2.7
W-k 25 156.4 - -1.6
W- 26 154.3 - -2.1
W- 27 153.9 - -0.4
W- 28 152.0 - -1.9
August 30, 2009
W- 29 149.9 - -2.1
W- 30 147.7 - -2.2
W- 31 147.1 - -0.6
W- 32 149.5 - +2.4
W- 33 151.3 - +1.8
W- 34 150.2 - -1.1
W- 35 150.8 - +0.6
W- 36 150.3 - -0.5
W- 37 149.1 - -1.2
W- 38 149.8 - +0.7
W- 39 150.1 +0.3
W- 40 156.3 +6.2
W- 41 153.3 -3.0
W- 42 152.6 -0.7
W- 43 152.6 -0.0
W- 44 150.7 -1.9
W- 45 152.4 +1.7
W- 46 153.0 +0.6
W- 47 152.3 +0.7
W- 48 150.1 -2.2

W- 49 147.5 -2.6
W- 50 146.3 -1.2
W- 53 151.0 +2.0
W- 54 149.3 -1.7
W- 55 144.9 -4.4
W- 56 144.1 -0.8
W- 57 140.0 lbs. Goal!!!!