Need to Knead

Need to Knead

My week started off not according to plan. I was preparing pizza dough in my stand mixer, when it started making a strange grinding sound. Moments later, it stopped running. For a baker who uses this tool so often, it's fair to say I was miffed. With a menu to prepare during the week, my mind began racing how to manage this. It turns out that when your mixer is under a year old, the manufacturer will replace it at no cost. Hurray! Problem solved, right? No. "You can expect your new mixer in 5-7 business days." CRAP!! 

My messy project today. It's easy to forget that a small mixer won't hold as much as a big mixer, right?

I remembered that my old 4.5 quart mixer was in the basement collecting dust. This is the one my wife and I got a million years ago when we got married. Isn't it slightly unusual that this little thing has lasted 16 years but my 10 month-old 6 quart mixer that I got for Father's Day last year will never see its 1st birthday? 

Danish pastry dough.

Dough. It's what my whole business is based upon. I need it. I knead it. Ah ha! I knead it. That's my solution for this week. I can make certain things in my old "tiny" mixer and the rest, by hand. It's perfect! Dough is a stress reliever. It's a workout for the arms. In some ways, it's actually better than using a mixer. You can feel the progress of the gluten developing with your hands, rather than with a timer while the mixer does all the work. Some doughs are easier to knead by hand than others. I use a lot of bread flour, which requires a longer kneading time than all-purpose flour. My biggest challenge this week was the pretzel dough. It's a very dense dough and requires quite a bit of elbow grease before it rises. Luckily, the pretzels turned out nicely.

Sourdough dough

Sourdough is by far my favorite type of bread. If I have a loaf on my counter, which I usually do, I manage to incorporate it into just about every meal and snack. I'm like a hobbit when it comes to sourdough. My appreciation for sourdough increased this week because I don't use a mixer to prepare it. It's all by hand. After this fiasco with my stand mixer, I intend to make more of my doughs by hand. It may take more time but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even though it was forced on me.

Not a bad life lesson!