Allow your stand mixer to do the heavy lifting for you and knead your way to smooth, perfectly elastic dough without breaking a sweat. While hand kneading can be relaxing for some cooks, it is also time consuming and repetitive, taking two to four minutes longer than mixing. All bread dough, it turns out, can be kneaded in a mixer. It is especially well-suited for kneading sticky doughs such as Ciabatta, a wet dough that can be challenging to work with by hand without making a mess.
All stand mixers are not created equal when it comes to kneading dough. According to Lauren Chattman, author of Bread Making: Crafting the Perfect Loaf from Crust to Crumb, when lightweight machines are used for heavy duty tasks, the motor quickly burns out. While using a dough hook is necessary for kneading the dough, you may want to mix the ingredients first with a spatula or regular beaters to ensure everything is incorporated. Consumer Reports recommends a heavy-duty mixer that rotates the bowl while mixing.
The basic process is the same regardless of how you knead it. Collect and weigh your ingredients, combine them, knead the dough, and set it aside to rise. Certain recipes call for adding warm water to the mixer bowl and sprinkling the yeast on top, then allowing it to sit until the yeast dissolves. Other recipes, such as Fleischmann's, instruct you to combine flour, salt, sugar, and undissolved yeast in a bowl before gradually adding a warm milk, water, and butter mixture.
Combine the ingredients in the order specified in the recipe, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms — at that point, you can begin kneading. This is a critical step in the preparation of many types of dough, as the gentle, constant work assists in the development of the proteins that give the bread its structure. Ascertain that the mixer's dough hook is attached and set the mixer to medium-low speed for eight to ten minutes. If you're working with a wet dough, you may need to increase the speed.