Skip to Content

“Do I need a stand mixer?”


This question has been asked a lot lately, so perhaps a short post on that topic is in order.

Bread can most certainly be made(successfully, even!) without a stand mixer. I’ve done it that way quite a lot, especially when I’m making four loaves at a time. My mixer isn’t really large enough to accommodate four loaves worth of dough, and so I find it to be really annoying to try to use the it for large quantities.

You’ll need to change two things when you’re doing this by hand instead of in the mixer:

1) You need to use slightly cooler liquids and dissolve the yeast in those liquids.

Most of the recipes I post instruct you to combine the dry ingredients and then add hot liquids that are about 120 degrees. If you’re mixing by hand, you’ll only want the liquids to be 100-110 degrees. You should take a bit of the warm liquid(1/4 cup or so) and dissolve the yeast in that liquid first, and then you can proceed with the recipe.

For instance, if you were making the french bread by hand, you would dissolve the yeast in a bit of the water and then add it to the dry ingredients along with the rest of the warm water.

2) You need to knead the dough longer by hand.

I mostly use the mixer to shorten the kneading time…the mixer stretches the gluten, which means that you don’t need to work so hard at developing it by hand. So, unless you have an incredibly powerful mixing arm, hand mixed dough will need a longer kneading time.

To check if the dough has been sufficiently kneaded, give it a quick poke with one finger. If the indentation bounces back quickly, you’re done kneading. If it’s slow to fill in, though, you need to carry on with the kneading for a little while longer.

All that said, I do highly recommend investing in a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer if you plan to do a lot of baking. A stand mixer isn’t cheap, but I think it’s one of the most useful kitchen appliances a baker can own. I use it for cookies, cakes, frosting, beating egg whites, whipping cream, and of course, making bread dough. Of course you can make all those things by hand…people have been doing it for centuries. The stand mixer just makes the process a lot easier. And since the Kitchen Aid multi-tasks pretty well(unlike a bread machine), I think it’s a good use of money and counter space.

p.s. You most definitely do NOT need a stand mixer to make most non-yeast breads, i.e. biscuits, pancakes, muffins. In fact, it’s better to mix those sorts of doughs and batters by hand in order to avoid turning out tough baked goods. I’ll talk more about that when I finally get around to that gluten post I’ve been promising. 😉

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Thursday 19th of August 2010

I've had a look at some KA mixers, but there seems to be many different models. Which one would you recommend?

Is it at all possible to get a machine that does the work of a stand mixer as well as a food processor?

The Frugal Girl » Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Tuesday 17th of November 2009

[...] meant that I couldn’t use my stand mixer, but that was ok with me…I’m quite capable of mixing and kneading bread dough by hand. [...]


Thursday 4th of June 2009

I got mine over a decade ago and still love it and use it frequently. KA is consistently rated head and shoulders above other brands for sturdiness and durability. In other words, the frugal choice! Not the cheapest but the best value.

I think its biggest benefits are for creaming butter and sugar and for kneading bread, but I use it for a lot of other things as well. I have the meat grinder attachement, which also gets a lot of work. For me it's not as much about price (gasp! but my store sells ground meat very cheaply) as safety. Meat goes bad as a function of its surface area. Ground meat has a LOT of surface area. Throw in the fact that some stores turn older meat into ground meat, I'm not fully comfortable with the commercial product.

This has an unexpected side benefit. When I grind meat to make meatloaf, I also throw in the onion and the potatoes. The veggies are perfectly small and well integrated into the meat, its much faster than using a safely grater (especially for the onion!), and the veggies clear out the pricier meat from the grinder. The raw stuff makes excellent beef tartare too.

There's an ice cream bowl attachement but that is not the frugal choice unless you find a really good sale. The KA bowl is $70 for one. A Cuisinart ice cream maker is $50 and I got two freezer bowls with mine. I'm thinking about the delicious ice cream our Frugal Gal could make with happy eggs and her cow-fresh raw milk. Yum!


Friday 20th of March 2009

@Frugal Liz If you aren't picky on color Amazon routinely has the Artisan (same as Kristen) on sale for $250. For me, I don't need anything more than that personally but it's up to you. You could opt for the Williams-Sonoma copper plated version if you are made of money. ~_^

One other thing to mention is that the KitchenAid mixers are made in America (Ohio I think) and can actually be repaired if they break down. So I look at mine as a lifetime investment. The only thing that I expect to outlast it are my cast iron skillets.

I swear I don't work for KitchenAid, I'm just a fanboy!


Friday 20th of March 2009

I got a Kitchen-aid mixer from my boyfriend 2 Christmas's ago. Everyone teased him for getting me a domestic present, but I looooooooooved it.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.