Limiting Mixer Use

I saw an Instagram post recently by Kristen Dennis @fullproofbaking. In her post she ran an experiment contrasting the use of her KitchenAid mixer vs hand folding. Her hypothesis was that the mixer resulted in a much tighter crumb structure and a more limited oven spring.

The crumb structure she posted for her bread kneaded with the mixture looked exactly like my bread’s crumb. I thought I might try an experiment and see for myself what differences I’d have.

I used my standard recipe. My method only changed by limiting the use of my KitchenAid spiral hook at the lowest speed for 2 minutes when I added the leaven.

I added the salt by hand and coil folded every 30-40 minutes for the first 3 hours of the bulk ferment. I judged the bulk prove using my Aliquot jar.

Bulk prove using an Aliquot jar

I divided and preshaped my loaves after the Doug had doubled in size as indicated by my Aliquot jar.

Preshaped sourdough loaves

I did notice that my dough was much more “pillowy”. After 30 minutes I shaped the dough gently so as not to degasse them and place them into bannetons to cold ferment overnight.

Shaped loaves going into bannetons

The loaves were more jiggly than I remembered from my previous loaves.

Wobbly sourdough loaves

I baked in the morning using my preheated Dutch Ovens. I’d placed them in the oven the previous night and had set the oven to come on early in the morning.

One of the loaves I tightened by stitching before turning out of the banneton and slashing. The other I turned out “as is” and slashed.

I baked them per my standard method and was quite pleased (and surprised) by the results!

The loaf that I stitched had a similar look, bloom, ear and surface texture to loaves I’ve baked before. The other spread and looked almost like it ha a double bloom.

The crumb was a bit more open than before… larger pockets.

Happy to have tried this experiment. I think I’ll do it again to see if I can get some consistency.

Published by Jim Hayden

Enterprise Transformation Consultant by day; Baker by night! Learning all the time! Iterative and incremental improvement always!

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