Refer to your machine’s manual first, to learn its true flour capacity for wheat flour; it differs from what’s advertised on the box (which usually refers to white flour capacity).
Mixing: Flat Beater…
1. To somewhat reduce the problem of dough climbing is to start with the flat beater and blend in enough flour just until the dough begins to collect.
Dough Hook: C-Hook or Spiral…
Never jerry-rig a C-hook machine with a Spiral-hook – or you are sure to void your warranty and sure to risk your machine doing that.
Otherwise… the much older C-hook machines, with the heavier metal gears, do seem to handle dough better (for me too), by following my recommended steps below.
Kneading: Speed Two…
Lower the hook, lock – and load on speed two. Add just enough flour to get the ball rolling. Continue adding remaining flour, reserving 2-4 Tablespoons flour called for.
A. White Flour Only: No whole grain. Knead 5 minutes;
· Pinch test the dough; and taste it.
· Too bland? The dough should taste as good as baked. If not, knead in a sprinkle of salt until.
· Sticks to fingers? Knead (only teaspoons flour) until feels just tacky – like a Post-It note.
· Dry? Requires water; teaspoon at a time until soft and pliable. Smooth like a baby’s bum.
B. Part White Flour: Knead 4 minutes – STOP, cover and rest 20 minutes.
· Even if you are making mostly white flour breads; part whole grain.
· Set the timer and go do something else for 20 minutes. Why?
· Whole grains hydrate at much slower rate than white. It takes whole grains much longer catch up with the hydration of the white flour. Give it the rest it deserves. Your machine will thank you, avoiding burnout!
· After a 20-minute rest, uncover and knead 4 more minutes.
C.Whole Grain Flours: Same as part white flour.
· EXCEPT for the last 2-4 Tablespoons of flour – substitute (with any final additions) only with white flour. Why?
· Wheat requires 8 full minutes to properly develop gluten, so don’t add any more wheat flour, you simply haven’t got any more time, and YOU’D over knead your dough. Something you don’t want to do!
· Once you get the hang of it all, ONLY if you weigh your ingredients – that’s another post -you can attempt 100% wheat flour.
Proofing and Raising Loaves…