Author Topic: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help? (Read 10766 times)

simplertimes

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mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« on: December 05, 2015, 11:02:41 AM »
So I have never been able to master making my own bread or pizza crust, or anything else that requires yeast. It never tastes as good as store bought bread to me, and I would have to make SO MUCH to feed my family of five on a regular basis.

I am lacking the skills and the routine to make it a regular part of my life, though I am willing to try! Lately I am wondering if it would be good to invest in some kind of standing mixer such as a Kitchenaid. Don't they have a setting that will knead the dough for you?

I had a breadmaker once and it was awful, the paddle always got stuck in the bread and it always resulted in a hard lump of bread that was impossible to cut into sandwich slices.

We eat approximately 4 loaves of bread a week.

So, tips for making GOOD bread and also saving time while making it would be greatly appreciated!!!

letired

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2015, 11:32:28 AM »
No, a kitchenaid isn't going to help you. What you need is either a) more practice, b) better recipes or c) a better bread machine. The reason I say better recipes is that I don't know much about breadmakers, but that should be the simplest bread possible. Unless the breadmaker is a total piece of crap or you are using recipes that aren't meant for breadmakers (??? I literally know nothing about breadmakers, I don't even know if this is a thing), it should be pretty plug and play.

Breadmaking is sometimes presented as a pretty simple thing, but those people usually had someone teach them. I didn't do a lot, but my parents taught me to make yeast bread, and I still fuck it up sometimes. Yeast breads are tricky, until you get some practice in. Knowing what it is supposed to look like, and more importantly, feel like, takes a while to learn unless you have someone show you.

One easy recipe is usually called something like 'refrigerator bread'. It is a really wet dough that requires no kneading, just time in the fridge. I follow this recipe: http://jezebel.com/5881847/how-to-make-easy-fast-foolproof-bread-from-scratch

Once you've mastered that one, then think about branching out to other no-knead breads. Typically, these recipes substitute a longer rise time to develop the gluten instead of kneading. This means that it takes longer overall, but requires less hands-on time. Only after you can make those breads, consider something like a kitcheaid to help with bread recipes that require kneading (if you even want one, no knead recipes will get you pretty damn far in your breadmaking).

Alternately, skip directly to a GOOD bread machine and make sure you are using recipes that are intended for it to start until you feel like you understand what was going wrong previously. Maybe someone else who actually has ever used a brea machine can weigh in on this one.


Also, look into your measuring technique, and consider measuring by weight instead of volume. That could also be a source of your trouble, if you are getting too much (or too little) flour in your bread.

frugalparagon

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2015, 11:44:33 AM »
I do not like no-knead breads personally--I find them super-dense.

I suggest that you try making it by hand at least a couple of times so that you know what bread dough feels like when it's kneaded. What I do when I make bread is I mix it in my Cuisinart, which has a dough blade, then after it makes a ball I turn it out onto the counter and knead it by hand for just a minute or two.

You don't say if you work outside the home/have a SAHP. I work just part-time, so I buy bread at the store sometimes and sometimes make it in the AM. (Knead, let rise about an hour and a half in a slightly warmed oven, put in loaf pan, rise again, bake.) If there is no SAHP, I would suggest just making a lot on the weekend! Or try mixing the dough in the am, let it rise all day in the FRIDGE, then put it in the loaf pan when you get home, let it rise again, and bake.
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serpentstooth

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2015, 11:48:58 AM »
A KitchenAid is really nice, and will save you a lot of time. It's not going to make you a good baker, though. Particularly when it comes to breadmaking, pretty much everything you would want a KA to do, you can do manually for similar results. It'll take more time and effort, and you may not want to put in that time, but that's a different issue. Full disclosure: I own not one, but two KitchenAids.

The best book I have found for making professional quality breads at home is The Larousse Book of Bread. It doesn't require exotic ingredients (Save fresh yeast, and you can always substitute dried if you can't source it cheaply. I bought a pound from a local bakery for $2 over the summer and I'm still using it) and the results are really, truly good enough that you could sell them in a bakery. Every recipe has instructions for both hand and machine kneading. You will probably want to get a food scale eventually, but you don't even need that to start.

Papa bear

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2015, 11:51:37 AM »
I wouldn't make bread or pizza dough without my kitchenaid. I've kneaded by hand which is a PITA and I don't want to buy a bread maker (I hear they don't do well with a sourdough from starter anyway?)

With the stand mixer, I can have a pizza dough ready in 15 minutes and ready to rise.


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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2015, 11:52:24 AM »
Don't have time to post my own recipes, but no knead breads are pretty easy and yummy. This recipe is what I learned from (Google "Food52 no knead sandwich bread")

Pizza crust depends on what you're trying to achieve. Thin/medium crusts are very easy to make. Chewy crusts are harder/take more time. I can point you to some tutorials depending on which type.

I never use my kitchenaid for bread anymore.
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bluecollarmusician

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2015, 11:53:14 AM »
Serpentstooth knows what she is talking about so listen to her first. :)


As for us, we have a bread maker and a kitchen aide, and we still only make pizza crust using :this simple no-knead method from Jim Lahey. It isn't for short notice. But for us it is perfect.

If you are a serious baker, a kitchen aide may be worth it. Otherwise... my suggestion would be (for pizza) try the no knead. For bread, get a bread maker available at any thrift store cheap from folks who bought them and never used them. Even if you don't bake in the oven, they can be helpful at the prep work. And then if down the road you still "knead" the Kitchen Aide (funny to me...!) then go for it.

« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 12:00:01 PM by bluecollarmusician »

serpentstooth

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2015, 11:54:35 AM »
Serpentstooth knows what she is talking about so listen to her first. :)


As for us, we have a bread maker and a kitchen aide, and we still only make pizza crust using :[urlhttp://seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/03/jim-laheys-no-knead-pizza-dough-recipe.html[this simple no-knead method/url]

Ha, thanks. I use the Fougasse recipe from the Larousse Book of Bread for pizza crust. A half batch, rolled thinly, fills a half sheet pan. I can post it if you want. You have to have a sourdough starter, but they are much easier to grow and maintain than is generally believed.

simplertimes

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2015, 12:27:16 PM »
I am excited to see so many replies to my post! I will check out that book and no knead recipes for sure! I have three little ones, two of which are still at home with me during the day. I am still intrigued by the idea of a kitchen aid mixer, because I am an avid baker and am hoping to make cookies/banana bread/muffins etc. on a regular basis for the family instead of store bought. For now I just mix everything by hand or using a handheld electric mixer, and I am weighing the benefits of tossing it all into a standing mixer.

I guess in my imagination I see myself starting each day with some recipe or other (baked goods, bread, pizza crust etc.), tossing the ingredients in the mixing bowl and cleaning up while it mixes, then rising/baking etc.

I will confess our family spends about $1400 a month on food right now ($200 of which is restaurants, mostly delivery like pizza). Please don't shame me, I know it's bad! I buy almost entirely organic food and naturally raised meat.

My biggest hurdle is really convenience. As a stay at home mom who prepares every meal for my family of five, convenient foods or ordering takeout is such a huge break and treat for me...a difficult indulgence for me to overcome as it's one of the few ways I get to relax or have reprieve from my daily responsibilities.

I think the biggest costs for my family are snacks and lunches though, not even dinners. My family can go through 12 wallaby organic yogurts in a matter of days, so even if I buy them on sale at 5 for $4 and get 12 for the Whole Food case quantity discount, it's still easy to plow through foods like this in our house. I think having such a big family is a hurdle regarding making food from scratch. I wouldn't be making one loaf a week, I'd be making 4 or more! Now compound that for homemade yogurt, baked goods, etc. I don't mind cooking but I do not want to be a slave to the oven...

I'm hoping to get into the habit of making baked goods instead of buying them, and bread and especially pizza crust. I invested in some good freezer storage containers, hoping that if I can pull things out of the freezer I will be less inclined to order pizza yet again.

Hoping for some encouraging replies here...I can't be the only stay at home mom who struggles with this!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 12:34:57 PM by simplertimes »

Heywood57

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2015, 12:36:11 PM »
We use a KitchenAid mixer and a dough hook, it works great.

serpentstooth

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2015, 01:55:48 PM »
My BFF has 5 under 10 and lives in an area with no kosher food, so she does everything from scratch. I lived with her for a few weeks and noticed how she handles food prep, so idk if this would be helpful, but this is what I noticed:

1. You do not cook 3 meals a day. You cook one proper meal (lunch or dinner) and fill in at other times with bread and spreads, leftovers, sliced fruits and vegetables, and very simple snacks like oatmeal and eggs.

2. You get very, very good at cooking some things until you can do it in your sleep. In your family is seems like bread and yogurt would be a logical place to start. You also do not make small quantities if you are regularly feeding 5 people. Get a third rack for your oven and enough pans that you can make multiple loaves of bread at a go.

3. Get a schedule. She roasts a chicken one night, slow cooks another, pasta a third, etc., so there's very little thought involved and she can buy ingredients in significant bulk. Build in at least one night of pasta with jarred sauce for a break.

4. The bigger your household, the larger the savings for cooking from scratch, so it's likely food prep is going to be a big part of your life for a very long time, especially if you are not done having children.

Also, I'm a very experienced baker, and I never make muffins or quick breads with the stand mixer. They're great for bread and absolutely invaluable for cookies and cakes, though. Look into getting a cheap one used. My first KA was a wedding gift and the second I got off our community's list serv for $25. You can get an old KA mixer for under $200, shipped, on eBay. I definitely chuck ingredients in mine, set a timer, and do something else until it rings and it's awesome.

Syonyk

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2015, 02:03:56 PM »
Will a KitchenAid mixer improve your bread? Maybe. Are they worth having? Absolutely. As far as I can tell, they literally last a lifetime - my grandma has one that was still working when she moved to a retirement home, my mom's mixer is still working after 4 boys who ate anything and everything we could find, and while my wife has only had one for a few years, I'll be incredibly disappointed if we can't pass it on to a kid eventually.

You can also get great attachments for the front for grinding meat & doing other things - they're not just a mixer.

That said, at 4 loafs a week, a decent bread machine is the way to go. Toss stuff in, out comes bread. It's really, really hard to mess up too badly if you follow a small set of recipes you know work. Tip: The yeast will eventually die, so if the bread is insanely dense, get new yeast. If you're going through a lot of bread, this probably isn't a big deal, though.

Also, if your family will eat it, look into potato bread recipes. It's a very heavy bread, and my mom found that all of us were fine with one sandwich made from potato bread, otherwise we'd want two. It's no harder to make than any other bread.

But in terms of "low effort bread," it's really hard to beat a bread machine. They're pure awesome. If you're not sure, get a cheap one at your local pawn shop and see how it works for you, then upgrade if needed. But, seriously, we were going through a loaf of bread a day when I was growing up, and it only takes ~5 minutes to toss a loaf in the bread machine once you've done it a few times. You can also make wonderful dinner breads - I was a huge fan of Sally Lunn bread for dinner. Light, fluffy, wonderfully tasty...

For now I just mix everything by hand or using a handheld electric mixer, and I am weighing the benefits of tossing it all into a standing mixer.

They'll eat more as they get older. A stand mixer is incredibly useful for feeding growing kids cheaply. They're not cheap to buy, but they do pretty much last forever!

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I will confess our family spends about $1400 a month on food right now ($200 of which is restaurants, mostly delivery like pizza). Please don't shame me, I know it's bad! I buy almost entirely organic food and naturally raised meat.

O.O *does maths* That's insane. No offense, that's flat out nuts for a family with three small children. My mom fed 4 teenage boys (all of us were runners and swimmers) on a lot less. Lots of bulk purchases from Sam's Club or Costco (depending on which was closer), and a lot of rice/potatoes. A stand mixer is excellent for making mashed potatoes, by the way - cook them, toss them in, mix for a while, and you've got potatoes. Leave the skin in. It's healthy. Or less work. Something.

Seriously, that's more than I'm spending on my mortgage once we move. By about 50%.

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My biggest hurdle is really convenience.

:p

http://adm-karpinsk.ru/2012/09/18/is-it-convenient-would-i-enjoy-it-wrong-question/

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I think the biggest costs for my family are snacks and lunches though, not even dinners.

If you don't know, you can't optimize. Keep track of what you spend on food and when it gets eaten for a month or so, and you'll have a LOT more data to work with for cutting your food budget significantly, should you care to do so.

Quote
My family can go through 12 wallaby organic yogurts in a matter of days, so even if I buy them on sale at 5 for $4 and get 12 for the Whole Food case quantity discount, it's still easy to plow through foods like this in our house.

So... don't keep Wallaby Organic Yogurt around? Keep carrots, apples, oranges, bananas, etc? And see if you can get your husband to plant a garden if you care that much about the organic stuff.

Quote
I think having such a big family is a hurdle regarding making food from scratch. I wouldn't be making one loaf a week, I'd be making 4 or more! Now compound that for homemade yogurt, baked goods, etc. I don't mind cooking but I do not want to be a slave to the oven...

You don't have a big family. Go back about two generations when 6-10 kids was a fairly common number, and that's getting to be a big family. Also, if two of yours are still at home, they're still small. You think they eat now? Wait until they're teenagers... a teenage boy who's active in sports is a good working model of a bottomless pit, and teenage girls aren't much better if they're active. I think I was consuming 4000-5000 calories/day when I was active in swimming & cross country.

Quote
I'm hoping to get into the habit of making baked goods instead of buying them, and bread and especially pizza crust. I invested in some good freezer storage containers, hoping that if I can pull things out of the freezer I will be less inclined to order pizza yet again.

What my mom did was cook in bulk. She had some HUGE stock pots (some were large enough that you used multiple burners on the stove to heat them) and would make something like 3-4 gallons of soup, similar quantities of chili, and would freeze it. Butter containers, tupperware, and aluminum foil are great ways to freeze things - spend a Saturday cooking, freeze everything, and you've got "thaw and heat" food for a week or two. As your kids get older, "take a thing of soup out of the freezer, put it in a pot, and heat it" is a reasonable thing to have them do. Rice is easy to make, so thaw a thing of chili, make a pot of rice, heat up some vegetables, and you've got dinner.

You can also get the vacuum sealers/vacuum bags, and freeze things that way. Soup/sauce/chili/etc can be put into a bag. Seal it, freeze it flat (you can stack a bunch), and once they're frozen, if you've picked your bag size right, you can file them in the freezer like books and save a bunch of space.

You may need a separate deep freezer if you're going to go this route, but if you're spending $1400/mo on food, that'll pay for itsself in a hurry - you can get a brand new one for $500-$800, depending on size. I suggest the vertical style, not a chest freezer, since it's too easy to lose stuff in the bottom of a chest freezer and it's hard to get stuff out of it.

Another thing I'd suggest is scheduling your meals out in advance, at least weekly. You eliminate the "Oh, hey, it's 4PM, I should figure out dinner!" stress, and you can shop in bulk for what you need. Once you get a feel for the size of leftovers, you can use them for subsequent nights. Rice one night, goes into a pot pie the next night. Or whatever.

... but, seriously, buy a bread machine and use it. They're amazing.
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Argyle

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2015, 02:25:47 PM »
It sounds like a yogurt maker might save you all some real money too. At the very least, buy the yogurt in a huge tub, not in the little individual containers. You can repackage it into little bowls or containers if you want portion control or convenience. Or sometimes when kids have to scoop out their own yogurt from a tub, they decide they're not really very hungry after all...

2ndTimer

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2015, 02:40:32 PM »
I make four loaf batches of bread regularly and knead by hand. I do the same kneading procedure no matter what kind of bread I am making. The procedure goes like this

Mix up bread
Knead by hand 10 minutes by the clock
Let rise to double
Punch down and knead a little if I feel like it
Let rise to double
Knead 5 minutes
Make into loaves
Let rise to a bit more than double
Bake

If it doesn't rise properly, this still happens to me about once a year, make it all into pizza crusts and freeze them for when you want a quick meal.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 02:43:28 PM by 2ndTimer »

letired

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2015, 02:44:42 PM »
If you will use the stand mixer for things in addition to breadmaking, then it might be more worth it!

frugalparagon

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2015, 02:49:16 PM »
It sounds like a yogurt maker might save you all some real money too. At the very least, buy the yogurt in a huge tub, not in the little individual containers. You can repackage it into little bowls or containers if you want portion control or convenience. Or sometimes when kids have to scoop out their own yogurt from a tub, they decide they're not really very hungry after all...

You can buy a tub of organic yogurt and mix it with organic jam. Instant flavored yogurt! And you can put in less jam, so there's less sugar.

And yes, you can save even more money by making your own, but you don't really need a yogurt maker. What I do is put some milk in a glass jar (that used to have Costco jam in it!) and heat it up in the microwave, stirring every minute or two and checking the temperature. It's best to use milk that is NOT ultra pasteurized, but this isn't necessarily a dealbreaker. If it IS ultra-pasteurized, heat it just to 110; if it's NOT, then heat to 180 and let it cool back down to 110, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, while you futz around the kitchen (or eat breakfast, which is how I usually time it). Once it's cool, pour a little of the milk into the bottom of the old yogurt carton, where there are a few spoonfuls left. Mix it up and then pour the milk-yogurt mixture back into the jar. I like to preheat my oven to 170 degrees (the minimum) and then turn it off, and put the yogurt in the warm oven. By bedtime, it will be a jar of yogurt. (I sometimes re-heat up the oven during the day, but it's not really necessary. If you forget to take it out before bed and find it the next morning, it will be FINE.

I personally like Trader Joe's organic yogurt as a starter. I discovered by accident that it works much better than Dannon.

And no, you're not the only SAHM who feels like that :-). I actually work part-time, but I am responsible for all the food. Have you tried slow cooking? I like to do the work in the morning and eat the food later :-). And yes, batch cooking. If I'm going to cook rice, I cook a two-pound bag and then freeze it in two-cup portions in quart-size freezer bags (flatten them down and you can fit a ton of those suckers in even just the freezer compartment of your fridge).
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justajane

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2015, 02:54:45 PM »
I personally like Trader Joe's organic yogurt as a starter. I discovered by accident that it works much better than Dannon.

I was going to come on here and suggest organic Trader Joe's yogurt in the larger containers. Even if you're not willing to make your own yogurt, the bigger tubs should save you money.

It sounds like you need to switch from yogurt for snacks to bananas or other fruit. That would save you considerably. Or conversely, cut up a banana and spoon some vanilla yogurt (or plain) on top. Mix. That way you have more bananas (cheap) than yogurt (expensive).

Seriously, bananas are your friends when it comes to saving money.

simplertimes

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2015, 05:26:39 PM »
Thank you everyone for the helpful tips and advice! So much of this is psychological! We used to live paycheck to paycheck until my husband got a new job (and a 30% pay increase!), so for a very long time we were stressed about money and never able to eat out, etc. I was a lot better about baking and making things from scratch back then (also one less child in the house to look after back then...).

Anyways we have been indulging way too much since the pay increase a couple years ago. As a stay at home mom before the increase, I was trying to homeschool and we had no family support or babysitter help, so I was depleted in more ways than one. I think our previous circumstance contributed to our overindulgence of late, including a complicated pregnancy and subsequent newborn/infant year when time and sleep are in high demand. Finally, some relief in the form of convenient cooking and no longer having to worry as much about the food budget! Finally, ordering takeout when we're extra busy or had a rough day!

But my youngest is a toddler now, and while he is into everything (trying to picture kneading dough for ten minutes with him climbing on the table, haha) my energy levels have returned along with my desire to end this wasteful lifestyle! Thank you for the inspiration!

Ready2Go

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2015, 05:40:11 PM »
Lately I been making this pizza crust from budget bytes: http://budgetbytes.com/2015/06/thin-and-crispy-pizza-crust/

This recipe is easy to make, requires no rise and is ready before my oven is hot. And kids love it. I have a KA and another stand mixer as well, that I USED to make pizza dough with, but this recipe is much faster.

Also, I am not really a fan of hand mixing, so I bought this tool (~7$) to make it even easier & now I don't know how I lived without it: http://amazon.com/Danish-Dough-Hand-Whisk-Mixer/dp/B002U85906/ref=sr_1_5?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1449362123&sr=1-5&keywords=dough+mixer

2 years ago we were ordering pizza at least once a week. I figure I have saved at least $3000 making my own pizza.

stripey

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2015, 12:56:59 AM »
Disclaimer: I don't have a family to feed (but my sister does, and she does so off one part-time income) and I only need to cook for my parter and I (but I do entertain a little). I do work full time, and I make quite a few things from scratch as I'm trying to minimise packaging and environmental waste.

I have a Kenwood chef- which is similar to a Kitchenaid but may possibly even have more attachments available (useful for making many things from scratch, and does save me quite a bit of time). They are also passed down between generations :) I don't bake a lot of bread, but have done so in the past (yeasted and sourdough). I've found the dough hook incredibly useful for kneading. But that it my experience and may not be yours.

I think with bread and pizza there are some approaches that just work wonders for some people but don't for others. I think there are just so many factors involved (ambient temperature, humidity, yeast type and viability, organism type and proportion in a sourdough sponge, flour type and composition, rising time, kneading time and efficacy...) that you need to play around with different recipes and approaches and figure out what is really going to work for you, your raw ingredients and your lifestyle. If you're having trouble with getting yeasted products to play fair for you, I would strongly consider finding someone in YOUR area and asking them to go through exactly what they do (ingredients and brands, etc.) and mimicking that. Or go to a local class if you feel like lashing out a bit to learn- if it's a class on sourdough, you'll probably get a culture for free too!

Yoghurt maker? Don't bother. Milk + 'real' (non thickened, unflavoured) natural yoghurt + a semi-reliably warm spot + 20 minutes prep time + 8-12 hours will give you more yoghurt than you'd know what to do with :) I use clean (not sterilised) glass jars that are kept in an Esky (Chilly bin? Cooler? Polystyrene or insulated) mostly filled with warm (not hot) water and it does the trick for me. The internet will help you out here.

I also batch cook a lot (a triple batch of bolognese sauce is about the same effort as a single batch), and also use the slow cooker a lot. Wins all around ;)


MrDelane

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2015, 08:22:49 AM »
A KitchenAid is really nice, and will save you a lot of time. It's not going to make you a good baker, though.

I'll echo these comments from the other side of things.
We have a Kitchen Aid mixer (wedding gift from years ago) and after multiple attempts I have yet to be able to make a good loaf of bread. My wife is the true baker in the house, and she can bake virtually anything with or without her mixer. I thought it looked so easy that a year ago or so I thought I could just grab the mixer and start making our own bread, pizza dough, etc. I don't seem to have the feel for it at all.

Point is, the mixer didn't make things any easier for me - and I have yet to get a handle on making dough of any kind.

Arktinkerer

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2015, 12:10:08 PM »
I buy dry yeast in bulk and store it in the fridge. I use a KA with a dough hook. Flour, dash of sugar, dash of salt, yeast then mix. Add water to consistency. Let knead for at least 5 minutes. I'm not perfectly consistent but I vary the rise times and baking to make up for any issues. The rising seems most important to me. I do a double rise. For rising, I put it in a smaller oven with the light on. Seems to be warm enough to do a double rise in about 5-6 hours. Baking time also matters. A lot of recipes seem to under cook the bread IMO. Fully preheating the oven really helps.

To me, getting the dough right and doing the double rise were the things that make the bread better. I have never been able to get the dough right by just measuring the flour and water proportions. Everything else you could measure out.

We had a bread machine. Very simple to use but again we had to do the water by hand until the dough was right. Only flat loaves were with old yeast or when we didn't know how to get the water/flour right.

None of this was hard. Just a bit of practice and experimenting. After a while you get where you can add things like oats, potato flakes, raisins, onions, milk instead of water, occasionally an egg, etc. Again, for me, the consistency of the dough and letting it rise properly are the keys.

lthenderson

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2015, 01:42:34 PM »
We have a KitchenAid mixer and love it but I would use some caution with using it for kneading. Ours is about ten years old and in that time, I have had to replace an internal bevel gear made of plastic three times. Every time it sheared was during bread kneading and the mixer instructions say that you shouldn't knead for more than three minutes without resting the mixer in between. It is the only plastic gear in the entire drive train and as a result, I usually keep a couple on hand along with the grease they use to pack the inside of the machine.

Saying that, we still use our machine to knead but I try to only do one loaf (or one batch of pizza crust) at a time and for the minimum amount of time I can get by with. I've often wondered if that was just a design flaw of that particular era of mixers and if newer KitchenAid mixers don't have that problem. Judging from some of the comments on this topic, perhaps they have.

simplertimes

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2015, 04:40:24 PM »
Well I am delighted to say I spent the afternoon baking in the kitchen! I made crockpot applesauce with organic apples I still had on hand from the local orchard (way cheaper than the store), pumpkin bread with our last pumpkin from the garden (half of the puree is leftover in the fridge for more baking), and cranberry bread using up the cranberry butter a friend gave us.

I am feeling so inspired to start cooking from scratch more and more, avoiding the wasteful and less healthy processed foods we've been consuming regularly (think NutThins Cheddar crackers, expensive seaweed crisps, those individual wallaby yogurts I mentioned, Whole Foods-made granola, etc.).

I came up with what I think is a good idea and worthwhile goal: I am going to practice making bread from scratch over the next month or two, and as I improve my skills while reducing our grocery budget, I will reward myself with a gently used mixer using the grocery savings! That way I will have proven to myself I am willing to stick with the bread making/baking thing, and I can pay for the mixer without impacting our regular budget :)

I have also been thinking over a general list of food shopping guidelines to follow, which mainly consists of avoiding processed foods (i.e. buying oats instead of "puffins" cereal, making homemade granola instead of using store bought, making kale chips instead of that expensive store bought seaweed), and also avoiding single size servings of things (i.e. buying the large yogurt container instead of individuals, until I'm brave enough to try making my own!, or cutting up cheese for the kids' lunches from a large brick instead of buying cheese sticks).

I have a goal and a plan to achieve it, and helpful tips and inspiration thanks to all of you!

serpentstooth

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2015, 04:42:15 PM »
If you're not able to do kale chips, Chinese markets have the seaweed stuff way, way cheaper. My husband is a fiend for it.

Birdie55

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2015, 05:02:16 PM »
Tightwad gazette has a good granola recipe. I alter it to add more oats because is too sweet for me and remove the powdered milk. If you don't have the book, I can post the recipe.

Carless

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2015, 05:54:40 PM »
My bread advice - keep notes. It's a bit of a pain at first, but after you make a recipe note down the changes you made, what happened, and correct for problems. See sites (eg http://redstaryeast.com/tips-troubleshooting/troubleshooting-guide/problem/) for help. A bread machine can work great, I find the horizontal models (wider w/ two paddles) work better. They're very easy - liquids in (and salt and sugar), flour in, yeast in. FYI touching salt can kill your yeast.

Of course, for that much bread you might want to make giant batches more rarely instead. I really second the making-your-own yogurt suggestion. It's not difficult and you can get it much cheaper than the tiny little cups. Also think about all the plastic you're not contributing to!

Sylly

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2015, 09:32:31 PM »
I haven't read the whole thread yet, so forgive me if I veer off from current convo or this has been referenced before.
edit: after reading the thread

Ok, looks like OP is going to practice more bread-making. But in case OP or anyone else decide to resort to a bread machine instead, then I would recommend the book below.

I find this book invaluable for making the most out of my bread machine. I like fluffy bread. Prior to following the recipes here, I got dense bread that I didn't like. The secret is adding gluten, btw. So, not gonna do gluten-free folks any good.

http://amazon.com/Bread-Lovers-Machine-Cookbook-Bread--ebook/dp/B00A9MOTBK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449462519&sr=1-1&keywords=bread+machine+breads

I never baked a single bread in my life before using a bread machine, just to show you how much experience is needed to get good breads using a machine and recipes from this book. Experience does help though. The husband knows a bit more about dough, so occasionally he would intervene if the dough looks off by adding more flour or water as needed.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 09:49:18 PM by Sylly »

cheapbarb

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2015, 12:06:14 AM »
We have a zojirushi bread machine that is about ten years old now. We got it because my daughter was allergic to wheat and we needed to be able to make bread that she could eat. It hasn't been used in about five years, but it does make a good loaf of bread. As a three year old my daughter used to love to help load the bread maker with me. I'll have to dust it off and make some pizza dough or bread with it. My kitchenaid epicurean is a workhorse and I love it, but it doesn't get used for bread.

N

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2015, 01:01:17 AM »
I have a kitchen aid stand mixer, but I prefer my food processor for dough kneading. its so dang quick and easy. I make pizza dough and sandwich bread weekly (ok, not bread weekly in the summer, too hot). but whatever method you use, the way to master dough is practice. You will get to know how its supposed to feel, what its supposed to look like, and you will learn how to deal with the surprises adn mistakes. :)

I like to try new recipes. I like to make a recipes a bunch of times in a row to get a feel for it.

I had a long phase of making "artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" its a book, now a series of books on no-knead breads.

Right now Im really into making pizza crust with ultra fine italian flour called 00 flour.
And a friend gifted me some stone ground flour she didnt like, so Im trying that in breads and cookies.

I have 2 kids that I homeschool, so I do understand about having time (not having time) to spend on homemade foods, but for me the savings were so worth it to make it a priority and find ways to make it work. I often cook late at night. or on weekends when my husband is home. nowadays the kids help out.

but just keep at it.

if you need inspiration, check out the prudent homemaker blog. she cooks for at least 7 kids, and they eat all homemade. and her food budget is insanely low.
http://theprudenthomemaker.com/cooking

zolotiyeruki

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2015, 08:37:30 AM »
We have a recently-acquired Kitchenaid stand mixer, but we also have a Bosch compact mixer (a wedding present from my mother 12 years ago). As snobby as it may sound, I think the Bosch is better for kneading bread dough, while the Kitchen Aid is better for things like cookie dough and batters.

That being said, the french bread I made last night in the Kitchen Aid came out better than I've ever done before.

windawake

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2015, 08:59:17 AM »
I've never used any sort of machine to make bread. I find kneading cathartic. My homemade bread taste leagues better than anything I can buy at the store. It's so much better, in fact, that I no longer buy bread at the store. Make it or bust.

Make sure that your yeast is not dead. If you've had your yeast for awhile it can die. Before you make your bread, combine the hot water, sugar, and yeast (every bread recipe usually calls for these things) in a small bowl. Wait until the water bubbles and froths, that's how you know your yeast is still alive. Make sure you are not heating your water too hot, as that can also kill your yeast, use a thermometer to test. You want it hot but not boiling.

When you're kneading, make sure to knead for the entire time allotted. You know that your bread is ready when you press the pads of two fingers into the dough to make an impression, and the impression springs back out.

For the first rise, set your bowl in a very warm place. If I'm in a hurry, I'll turn on the oven to its lowest setting and will place the bowl near the oven vent. Make sure you don't put it right on the oven vent as I've accidentally cooked my yeast in the bowl and made bowl bread before.

You know the bread is risen when you can poke one finger into the dough and the impression stays. Prepare your bread in the pans and set for the second rise. You can speed this up by turning your oven onto its lowest setting and then turning it off. Put the bread in the oven and it will rise considerably quicker. You can also cover the pans with plastic wrap and put it in the oven overnight.

When you bake your bread, you'll know that it's done when you can tap on the crust and it sounds hollow.

After my bread has cooled, I slice it and freeze it in freezer bags. Then I can just pop some frozen slices in the toaster in the morning.

Good luck, and stick with it! It gets much easier over time.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 09:02:31 AM by windawake »
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simplertimes

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2015, 09:10:51 AM »
So here is a question for you bread bakers: How many of you have reduced your overall bread consumption as a way to save time and avoid buying store bought?

Perhaps it would help my family to eat other things for lunches instead of bread (i.e. leftovers or pasta salads). Do those of you who eat nothing but homemade bread consume bread on a daily basis?

windawake

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2015, 09:17:48 AM »
I rarely consume bread. I used to make sandwiches for lunch but find them too time consuming. I usually make a big batch of some sort of freezable meal (soup, chili, rice dishes) and freeze/fridge that for lunch.
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Guses

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2015, 10:30:27 AM »
We exclusively eat home made bread that we bake ourselves (and by we, I mean my wife). It is seriously awesome.

The way that I contribute to the bread making is that I provide the cook with spent grain from my beer brewing. You should try this, it's awesome and replaces much of the expensive grains.

This got me wondering, could you use beer yeast? After all, yeast is yeast. I actually culture it myself and I have fresh yeast all the time. Hmmmmm....

maco

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2015, 11:19:52 AM »
So much of getting dough "right" is about the feel of it. I prefer doing sourdough, but it means remembering to pull the starter out of the fridge in advance and then being "around" for the kneads. The kneads are just a couple folds every hour or so, then leave it be for a couple hours. That's not much work, it just means it's a weekend activity because office job. This set of posts is how I learned

When I don't do the prep for that, I use this No-Time Bread recipe.

If I make sourdough, there's no stand mixer involved. With the no-time bread, there is.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 11:29:19 AM by maco »

bord

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2015, 01:14:02 PM »
I am still intrigued by the idea of a kitchen aid mixer, because I am an avid baker and am hoping to make cookies/banana bread/muffins etc. on a regular basis for the family instead of store bought. For now I just mix everything by hand or using a handheld electric mixer, and I am weighing the benefits of tossing it all into a standing mixer.

I would reserve some enthusiasm where the quick breads are concerned. Banana bread and muffins should be mixed very minimally by hand or you end up developing too much gluten. I think you'd have better success as a baker if you abandoned the handheld mixer or kitchen aid on this type of batter.

simplertimes

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2015, 01:36:22 PM »
I am still intrigued by the idea of a kitchen aid mixer, because I am an avid baker and am hoping to make cookies/banana bread/muffins etc. on a regular basis for the family instead of store bought. For now I just mix everything by hand or using a handheld electric mixer, and I am weighing the benefits of tossing it all into a standing mixer.

I would reserve some enthusiasm where the quick breads are concerned. Banana bread and muffins should be mixed very minimally by hand or you end up developing too much gluten. I think you'd have better success as a baker if you abandoned the handheld mixer or kitchen aid on this type of batter.

That is good to know! I usually mix those by hand (unless I was lazy about mashing the bananas). I'm excited for my bread making adventures to begin. Will get some yeast on Wednesday night when I go to the store!

TrMama

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2015, 04:05:44 PM »
Try making pizza dough in a food processor. It works well.

Although I have a hand me down professional size kitchenaid mixer I only use it for making big batches of dough. For single batches, I use the food processor.

Another advantage of having a stand mixer is that it allows your 8+ year old kids to cook. My 9yo used ours to make a double batch of sugar cookies this weekend. All I had to do was help her roll out the dough.

justajane

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2015, 04:31:30 PM »
I am still intrigued by the idea of a kitchen aid mixer, because I am an avid baker and am hoping to make cookies/banana bread/muffins etc. on a regular basis for the family instead of store bought. For now I just mix everything by hand or using a handheld electric mixer, and I am weighing the benefits of tossing it all into a standing mixer.

I would reserve some enthusiasm where the quick breads are concerned. Banana bread and muffins should be mixed very minimally by hand or you end up developing too much gluten. I think you'd have better success as a baker if you abandoned the handheld mixer or kitchen aid on this type of batter.

So true. I make a pretty good pumpkin or banana bread, and the key is to stir in the flour very gingerly. Sometimes there is still even a little flour remaining around the edges while I transfer it to the loaf pan. It usually mixes in that last bit when I am transferring it. And fold in things like chocolate chips or diced apple. Don't stir it in.

Syonyk

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2015, 07:35:34 PM »
Do those of you who eat nothing but homemade bread consume bread on a daily basis?

Currently, we don't make bread. I eat at work.

When I was growing up? We ate bread every day, out of our bread machine.
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dragoncar

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2015, 02:19:51 AM »
The NYT no-knead bread recipe works really well for me, although I don't make it much because... CARBS. But it's not exactly sandwich bread either. My stand mixer is very sadly underused...

I also made tortillas using the #1 Google hit for a tortilla recipe and it seemed like it would be great as a thin crust pizza crust

maco

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2015, 08:39:20 AM »
Oh, here's something else folks in this thread might like. A friend from the internet posted her pita recipe.

stripey

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #43 on: December 08, 2015, 09:02:06 AM »
Try making pizza dough in a food processor. It works well.

Although I have a hand me down professional size kitchenaid mixer I only use it for making big batches of dough. For single batches, I use the food processor.

Another advantage of having a stand mixer is that it allows your 8+ year old kids to cook. My 9yo used ours to make a double batch of sugar cookies this weekend. All I had to do was help her roll out the dough.

My stand mixer most frequently gets used for making shortcrust pastry, if I'm really honest (as it makes the work so much quicker-- I don't own a food processor). A decent pie or tart (sweet or savoury) is a great summer treat, and tends to be percieved as 'fancy' if taken to a potluck, and really are minimal effort.

Sylly

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2015, 09:56:54 AM »
I used to eat bread for breakfast everyday, but not anymore. We make bread every few weeks now, and it's usually for a few days' worth of lunch sandwiches, or the occasionally breakfast loaf for a week.

Cereal is the defacto replacement for breakfast, and lunch is usually dinner leftovers. I can't eat a sandwich for lunch everyday. Strange considering I used to eat a sandwich for breakfast everyday :P.

m8547

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2015, 06:10:26 PM »
I disagree with a lot of the advice in this thread.

I always struggled with getting breads like pizza to taste as good as good quality stuff from a bakery or restaurant. I've made dough with a kitchen aid and by hand. I've kneaded it the recommended amount, and I've kneaded it to death. I've used bread flour. None of the conventional recipes gave me great results. Even when it turned out "good", it did it didn't have the complexity of flavor that great bread has, no matter what I put in it.

At one point I bought a cheap bread machine, but I gave it away because it really only made one style of bread since everything bakes in the built-in pan. There was not enough control over the structure or texture of the bread.

The no knead bread recipe (I just search for "no kneading but some fine tuning") is really different from anything that normal recipes make. The key is letting it ferment overnight. That develops gluten (protein/structure) and lets the yeast develop flavor. Baking it in a dutch oven steams the crust, which helps make it crispy but thin. Otherwise some homemade breads get a thick tough crust. Commercial ovens often inject steam to control the crust. There are ways to simulate that at home, but none of them I've tried so far are satisfactory. It takes a lot of steam, and a pan of hot water isn't really enough.

Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice uses similar techniques in a lot of recipes, and it's great if you want to master bread baking. It's not just a cookbook; it's more of an entire class on how to make bread.

One day I discovered the Varasano's pizza crust recipe. http://varasanos.com/pizzarecipe.htm It uses overnight fermentation, so I figured I'd give it a try. The web page is long and disorganized and rambles on (it would be literally 52 pages if you print it out), but with some experience from the Peter Reinhart book it wasn't too difficult to follow. The result was consistently some of the best pizza I've ever had.

I distilled it into a simple recipe:
Code: [Select]
Makes 3 pizzas, 12-13 inch, each a 330 gram ball of dough

510g bread flour
330g water
~3/4 Tablespoon salt (10-14g)
1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast (Rapid Rise yeast). Or use 3/4 teaspoon Active Dry yeast

-Mix 75% of flour with everything else and let sit covered for 20 minutes
-With a mixer: Knead for 5 minutes, add the rest of the flour, kneed for about 5 more minutes on low
-If you don't have a mixer: Do the first 5 minutes of "kneading" by mixing with a spoon
-Let rest for 20 minutes covered
-Divide dough into 3 equal pieces, shape into balls, place each one in an oiled bowl or tupperware, cover, and put in the fridge for 1-2 days
-Let dough warm up to room temperature for about an hour
-Sprinkle flour on the counter, stretch out dough
-Move to pizza screen, add toppings
-Baking: 450 for ~10 minutes or 500 for ~8 minutes or 800F for 2-3 minutes
(I think there is a slight inconsistency because the mass of the dough balls does not equal the mass of the ingredients, but that's OK)

A kitchen aid makes it a bit easier, but it won't change the outcome. The dough can tolerate all kinds of cooking methods. I've had good results cooking it directly on a grill (flip it before adding toppings or it won't cook on top), on a pizza screen or stone in the oven, or on a cast iron pan pre-heated on the stove then put in the oven.

pbkmaine

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2015, 06:36:02 PM »
When I make pizza crust, I buy a 75 cent packet of Martha White pizza crust at Walmart. ( I could also buy Walmart brand at 50 cents, but I don't like the list of ingredients as well.) I follow package directions and bake on a cast iron pizza pan, well seasoned. It makes a pizza crust every bit as good as that at the local pizza place. No mastery required.


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jengod

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2015, 08:04:59 PM »
For anyone interested in the breadmaker route, I found this breadmaker at a thrift store for $40, and except for the YUMMY FATTENING CARBS problem, it has been perfect for our family. So far we mostly make the honey whole wheat recipe and pizza dough. Very very convenient, well-designed machine that cuts the cost of breads for our family.

http://amazon.com/Conair-Cuisinart-CBK-200-Convection-Bread/dp/B0009VELTQ


« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 10:22:49 PM by jengod »
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Knitwit

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2015, 08:39:09 PM »
I skimmed the thread - sorry if this has been suggested already, but has anyone recommended using a bread machine on the dough cycle? I too find machine-baked bread to be an inedible lump. But take the dough out of the machine, plop it into a loaf pan to rise and bake, and it's a whole other story.

This is how I do pizza dough as well.

enki

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Re: mastering bread and pizza crust...would kitchenaid mixer help?
« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2015, 08:08:39 AM »
My SO has a nice pro kitchen aid mixer from a long time ago. It does great but I prefer to mix almost everything by hand. I don't mind the exercise from doing dough and most other mixes by hand with a stout wooden spoon. Kneading is a fun skill and you can translate some of those motions to Other Activities. I'd avoid buying expensive kitchen appliances until you are 100% sure you plan to go that method and think the price is worth it. I'd also say that you look for a used mixer as those big solid mixers run more or less forever.