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Mixing bread dough to achieve gluten

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I enjoy reading recipes stating to mix dough until you reach the gluten stage. Well, how long does it take to get there? I use a Kitchenaid 500 mixer while making (3) one-pound loaves of bread. Even after 10 minutes of mixing on low setting, my gluten test, stretching small amount of dough, is not achieved. Can someone assist? :talk:
post #2 of 5
You may be going too far in the stages. I have troubles every once in a while if I get distracted. I leave the machine kneading for too long and the dough goes past the ball stage and glops all over. The elasticity is gone and it's just a gloopy sort of mess.

This is what I'd love to have useful pics of and, if I could deal with dough and camera at once, would provide such pics.
post #3 of 5
By "gluten test," do you mean the windowpane test?

To help you with your problem it would be very helpful to know what kind of bread you're baking (white, whole-grain, etc.) the rough amount of dry ingredients in your recipes, and the amount of fat if any. You say, "3 one pound loaves of bread." Is that 6, 7 or 8 cups of flour?

Offhand, it sounds like it could be one of two problems: Under-kneading resulting from more dough than your little mixer can handle. The classic 10 pounds of $#!% in a 5 pound bag syndrome. Over-kneading resulting from 10 minutes of machine kneading in a muy macho Kitchenaid. Funny how that works, eh?

In either case, the best solution is probably to discontinue machine kneading at around the 5 minute mark and start kneading by hand. The main thing being that you'll learn to feel and see what to look for as the dough transitions from not-quite-ready to there. I've been making bread in a KA for three decades and I almost always finish the knead stage with my hands. The ideal qualities to look for are smooth, shiny, elastic and not-sticky. However, depending on the type of dough you're making, the actual qualities are smoother, shinier, stretchier, and not as sticky.

FWIW, the "windowpane" test, which I'm guessing is kicking your behind, checks for elasticity. Not all doughs will stretch to windowpane.

Pretty much required anyway: Stand over the mixer while it kneads and pay (more or less) constant attention to the changes in the dough. A stand mixer is not a bread machine, and cannot provide the freedom many people hope it will. You can't just walk away. In exchange for the extra trouble you're rewarded with a great deal more control over your breads.

But these two things just sort of fall under the rubric of good technique. Neither is an acceptable answer to your question. Without having a much better idea of what kind and how much bread you're making it's hard to get definite.

post #4 of 5

could be overheating dough

When you machine kneed bread dough, you can warm up to dough too much. When bread dough gets too warm, the gluten strands start too break and the bread loses elasticity. When you stretch the dough out you see tiny lumps instead of the smooth surface. Like the others said, check it earlier.

Just the action of the dough hook whapping the dough around warms the dough up, and after a while the mixer motor begins starts to warm the machine up. Large scale baking operations have fancy chilled dough hooks to prevent this from happening.
post #5 of 5
I'd keep a thermometer on hand and check the dough to make sure it doesn't pass 80 degrees. after that point it you start to destroy the gluten and it wont work for you.
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