How to Mix Dough without a Mixer

Learn how to mix dough without a mixer in this bread making video from Howcast.

I want to give you some tips on how to make bread dough at home without a mixer because you certainly don’t need a mixer to make dough. In fact, my preference is usually to not use a mixer at home, because the mixers that you use at home have such a smaller motor compared to a professional kitchen, that it just makes more sense to me to knead everything by hand.

But you shouldn’t be afraid to knead it by hand, if a recipe calls for mixing it in a mixer. If anything, you’re getting back to a more traditional way of mixing, that’s actually gentler on the dough and produces a more moist crumb. Mixing it in a mixer just is a way of developing the dough and you can do that with your hands.

And so, any time you come across a bread recipe there are usually two types of mixing steps. The first is incorporating all of the ingredients and normally you would do that on low speed on your mixer. And then the second step is developing the gluten and mixing on a high speed in your mixer. And so if you’re going to do this at home, the first step is to just incorporate all of the ingredients and stir it and combine all of the ingredients with your hands.

It’s okay if your hands get sticky and they will get sticky, because the gluten hasn’t developed yet. And I often like to use some type of plastic dough scraper to sort of keep the dough going, even though my hands are sticky. Once you have the sticky dough incorporated the next thing you want to do is to develop the gluten, and that’s where you take the dough out of the bowl that you’re using, and put it on a flour-dusted surface and start to knead it.

Really, when you’re kneading it you’re just working the gluten. The more strength you can use with your arms and with your body, the faster you can develop that gluten in the dough, if the recipe is calling for kneading and developing. And then after you knead it, you start to do a window pane test and you check to see, how has my gluten developed? And so once you have your gluten developed and it passes the window pane test, then you can put your dough aside and let it ferment, and that’s very, very similar to kneading it with a mixer.