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Baking Without Using a Stand Mixer


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#1 Shel_B

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 02:06 PM

Lately I've been enjoying baking a few items - brownies, soda bread, lemon-poppy seed loaf, popovers.  I'd like to expand my repertoire and skills, but I don't have, and will not get, a stand mixer.  I'd like some ideas on what breads and cakes can be made without such equipment, and also without a lot of rising and kneading time.  Are these called quick breads?  Thanks!


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#2 annabelle

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 02:29 PM

Quick breads and one bowl cakes may be made by hand in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.  Quick breads are usually made on the muffin principle:  add all the wet ingredients at once to the dry ingredients in the bowl.  Stir only until moistened, about 20-30 strokes, then turn into the prepared pan and bake immediately.

 

For yeasted breads, make a sponge (look it up) and let it rise overnight in the bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients in your recipe and knead, cover, let rise, punch down, turn let rise again, punch down and form into loaves, rolls, braids, whathaveyou.  Let rise, bake.


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#3 mgaretz

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 02:31 PM

I think if someone made me choose to keep only one small kitchen appliance, it would be my stand mixer.  I used to have an electric hand mixer and once I got and used the stand mixer, I gave it away.  In fact, I'm going to make chocolate mousse with it now!


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#4 heidih

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:09 PM

Do you have Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking - I have made all the baked goods (and other deserts) by hand - no mixer - just t give you a perspective.


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#5 Tri2Cook

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:02 PM

Lately I've been enjoying baking a few items - brownies, soda bread, lemon-poppy seed loaf, popovers.  I'd like to expand my repertoire and skills, but I don't have, and will not get, a stand mixer.

The stand mixer has only existed for a hundred years or so and people did just fine before that. You can do pretty much anything you want without one. A whole lot of people were doing everything without them for a very long time. At home, probably at least half of the time, I don't bother with it. Some things are definitely made easier with a stand mixer but they're not anything close to being a requirement. A large number of the tasks can be done with a good hand mixer and anything too hefty for that can be done with good old fashioned arm power.


 


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#6 andiesenji

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:29 PM

I often do baked goods - especially quick breads that need to be tender and mixers overwork the dough. 

 

I recommend a Danish dough whisk.  I have been using one for many years and it blends dry ingredients with liquids much easier than other whisks (or spoons, forks, etc., without overworking the dough.

However, it is also very handy for getting yeasted doughs blended - when you reserve part of the flour to knead into it after it has begun to ferment - the (sponge method (aka "biga").

I have posted about them in the past and posted photos of my whisk collection - In fact I used one this morning to make cornbread and a little while ago to mix dough for scones (dough now "resting" in the fridge). 

 

I have arthritis in my hands and this is much easier for me to use than other implements.

 

Here's what some other people think.   Here's the link to the bigger one on Amazon - I recommend the big one! 


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#7 Norm Matthews

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 06:57 PM

Besides the muffin method, there is the biscuit method where the fat is cut into the flour before adding the liquids.  This in effect coats the flour to help prevent the formation of gluten when the liquid is added. Reduction of gluten formation in biscuits help keep them tender.


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#8 Shel_B

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 09:24 PM

I think if someone made me choose to keep only one small kitchen appliance, it would be my stand mixer.  I used to have an electric hand mixer and once I got and used the stand mixer, I gave it away.  In fact, I'm going to make chocolate mousse with it now!

 

It may sound somewhat strange, but I much prefer doing things manually.  So many recipes specify, in one way or another, to use a stand mixer, so I'm quite happy to discover that I needn't use one.  Toots gave me an electric hand mixer, and I used it once, after which I pulled out my 1960's Ecko egg beater and went back to using it for many kitchen mixing tasks.

 

The simpler things are in my kitchen, the happier I am.


Edited by Shel_B, 29 March 2014 - 09:28 PM.

.... Shel


#9 jmacnaughtan

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:34 AM

The only thing I can think of where a stand mixer is essential is brioche dough.  I will never do that by hand again.  But an electric mixer of some sort is invaluable once you start to become a little more ambitious with your cooking.  Making an Italian meringue, for example, is possible by hand, but I wouldn't recommend it.



#10 lesliec

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 01:20 AM

My mixer helps make fantastic pavlova. Everything else is by hand.

Shel, look for some of the 'no knead' bread topics on eG. My favourite is Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but there are others.
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#11 Shel_B

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 04:54 AM


Shel, look for some of the 'no knead' bread topics on eG. My favourite is Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but there are others.

 

Thanks for the tip!  Don't think I'd have come up with "no knead" bread as a search topic.


.... Shel


#12 JohnT

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 08:55 AM

Shel_B, for many years I delivered sailing boats all over the world. Never had any type of mixer other than a big spoon and a good arm stirring motion. The following is my "No Need to Knead" bread, that has produced thousands of fresh loaves of bread:

Wholewheat / Nutty Wheat / White Bread

750 ml (3 Cups) Nutty Wheat or Wholewheat or White Bread flour
500 ml (2 Cups) Cake flour (All Purpose)
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs sugar
1 Sachet instant yeast (10g)
1 Tbs sunflower oil (I often used EVOO)
630 ml (2 ½ Cups) warm water

Mix all the dry ingredients together well then add the oil and warm water and stir well. Place mixture in one large or two small oiled bread pans. Place the pans in a plastic shopping bag and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until just below the rim of the pan(s). Note: The rising time will vary depending on the ambient temperature. Remove from packet and bake in a preheated oven (180°C) for 35 to 45 minutes if two pans or 45 to 60 minutes if one pan.

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#13 Norm Matthews

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 08:57 AM

It may sound somewhat strange, but I much prefer doing things manually.  So many recipes specify, in one way or another, to use a stand mixer, so I'm quite happy to discover that I needn't use one.  Toots gave me an electric hand mixer, and I used it once, after which I pulled out my 1960's Ecko egg beater and went back to using it for many kitchen mixing tasks.

 

The simpler things are in my kitchen, the happier I am.

 

I had that feeling for many years too. I'd say to myself "I have been cooking for xxx years and never needed one before, why should I get one now?"  I was gifted an Oster Kitchen Center with a mixer and never used it either. But then I did get a KitchenAid and wondered how did I ever get along without it?  There were things I'd think twice about making that I don't think twice about doing now with a stand mixer.



#14 Mjx

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 10:05 AM

As has been noted by many, and on many occasions, most of the recipes you're going to come across in standard cookbooks were developed before most people had stand mixers, or are based on such recipes. Stand mixers have some advantages in terms of attachments, such as sausage stuffers, and are a boon for the frail, but otherwise, carry on with your hand-held mixer/unmechanized mixing thingies/your own fair hands, and stop worrying about it.


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#15 emmalish

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:48 AM

I think if someone made me choose to keep only one small kitchen appliance, it would be my stand mixer.  I used to have an electric hand mixer and once I got and used the stand mixer, I gave it away.  In fact, I'm going to make chocolate mousse with it now!

 

Me too. I love my stand mixer – I don't know how I functioned without one. However, I DID function without one for several years. I've made all manner of cakes, cookies and breads using nothing but my own arm strength. It's all do-able. And as others have pointed out, it was all do-able long before the stand mixer was even invented.


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?


#16 Shel_B

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 11:13 AM

[...] carry on with your hand-held mixer/unmechanized mixing thingies/your own fair hands, and stop worrying about it.

 

Worrying about it?!  Not at all - I asked for "some ideas on what breads and cakes can be made without such equipment"


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.... Shel


#17 paulraphael

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 11:15 AM

You can do everything by hand, one way or another. Just keep in mind that bakers a century ago were built like iron workers.

If you stick to recipes that don't require creaming room temperature butter, or whipping foams, then mixing things by hand ranges from easy to moderate. 

A stand mixer definitely makes things easier and more fun. It's like having an assistant that can do the dumb, heavy lifting while I'm doing something else. 



#18 Franci

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 11:16 AM

The only thing I can think of where a stand mixer is essential is brioche dough.  I will never do that by hand again.  But an electric mixer of some sort is invaluable once you start to become a little more ambitious with your cooking.  Making an Italian meringue, for example, is possible by hand, but I wouldn't recommend it.

 

Me too.

I don't have a stand mixer but I'm glad that I found Paula Wolfert's recipe HERE on Egullet. It uses a food processor and I really like it. Shel, you can do it also by hand.

I made also the artisan bread in 5 minutes brioche but I like so much better the Paula Worlfert recipe. The artisan bread in 5 minutes brioche it's ok if baked in a loaf pan with some extras (chocolate or dried fruits) but it's definitely drier. It is a little more convenient to make.

I tried their baguette once and I thought i was the worst I ever made in my life.


Edited by Franci, 31 March 2014 - 11:18 AM.

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#19 Shel_B

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 03:52 PM

You can do everything by hand, one way or another. Just keep in mind that bakers a century ago were built like iron workers.

If you stick to recipes that don't require creaming room temperature butter, or whipping foams, then mixing things by hand ranges from easy to moderate. 

A stand mixer definitely makes things easier and more fun. It's like having an assistant that can do the dumb, heavy lifting while I'm doing something else. 

 

Over the years I've made baguettes, whole wheat bread, and sourdough loaves without a stand mixer.  A stand mixer may make things easier, it just depends on what you like to do.  In my case, a stand mixer will make things more difficult and far less fun.  Anyway, for the foreseeable future, quick breads, muffins, biscuits will be what I'm concentrating on.  I really prefer doing things - most things - the "old fashioned" way, without power tools.


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.... Shel


#20 Shel_B

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 03:58 PM

Me too.

I don't have a stand mixer but I'm glad that I found Paula Wolfert's recipe HERE on Egullet. It uses a food processor and I really like it. Shel, you can do it also by hand.

 

I've had Paula Wolfert's brioche recipe in my files for years, and I promised myself that when I retired I was going to make it.  It'll be a while, after some more practice with other baked goods, but this will probably be the year.


.... Shel


#21 Shel_B

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 05:34 PM

If you stick to recipes that don't require creaming room temperature butter [...] then mixing things by hand ranges from easy to moderate. 

 

 

Someone on eGullet, in another thread, offered some tips on creaming butter without using a stand mixer.  Not tried them yet as there's been no need to cream butter ...


.... Shel


#22 Mjx

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:10 AM

Worrying about it?!  Not at all - I asked for "some ideas on what breads and cakes can be made without such equipment"

 

Virtually all.

 

Seriously: It's not as though I have the most phenomenal guns–and, thanks to aikido and skating accidents, I have an arthritic wrist and an arthritic elbow–but I do everything with a handheld mixer, or some sort of unmechanized tool, and never encountered a problem.

If I had a stand mixer, I don't know what I'd use it for, and getting one only because some recipes mention one seems an insane waste of cash and counterspace. My boyfriend's mother adores her stand mixer, because she can just wander away while the mixer kneads bread, and I know several people who find holding a mixer or hand stirring/whipping/kneading exhausting/painful (and someday, I may find it so myself), but I cannot think of a single recipe for which a stand mixer is a sine qua non (including recipes that specify them). If you need a third hand (e.g. some candy making), another person can usually be pressed into service for the few minutes that takes.

 

And this does seem to concern you a bit; this is at least the second topic you've started, asking about making do without a stand mixer ;)


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#23 paulraphael

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:04 AM

I’m a fan of machines and a fan of not cultivating too much dependence on them. I like the idea of having the manual skills needed to make good food in a minimalist setting.

 

But I’ve also grown to appreciate what machines can do. Sometimes they’re time and labor savers. Stand mixers are a huge example. Some tasks are daunting without a mixer but trivially easy with one. 

 

In other cases, machines make whole new things possible. I don’t care how good you are with an over or a skillet; you can’t get the results that are possible (and trivially easy) with an immersion circulator. You can’t make the kinds of purees and emulsions that are possible with a high speed blender. You can’t make the best stocks without a non-venting pressure cooker.

 

There are categories of machines still uncommon in kitchens that extend our capabilities even farther. Homegenizers, ultrasonic baths, rotary evaporators, combi-ovens, centrifuges. If these sound out of place, it’s only because they’re still unfamiliar. Not many decades ago, ovens with thermostats were a new-fangled gizmo. Electricity itself isn’t much over a century old. 

 

We use tools every day, and I think it’s fallacious to see a stainless steel pan as somehow less “technological” than an ultrasonic homogenizer. It took civilization 10,000 years to invent one, and 10,100 years to invent the other. The difference only seems great because we’re here at the precise time when one seems old and the other seems new.


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#24 HungryC

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:29 PM

Best/easiest cake to make without any sort of mixer is Dorie Greenspan's French yogurt cake, from her "Baking My Home to Yours" book.  It is rather gently stirred together.  See recipe here:  http://dinersjournal...type=blogs&_r=0

 

Ditto for my aunt Mary Ellen's brownie recipe (closer to cakey than fudgey, but delicious): sugar & butter stirred together (in a pot, even) with nothing more than a wooden spoon. ETA link to brownie recipe on my blog:  http://bouillie.us/2...llens-brownies/

 

Funny you should mention brioche:  the only bread I make that I feel requires a stand mixer is brioche!  I'm way too lazy to beat in 50% butter by weight.  Stand mixer gets it done in 10-15 minutes.  It would take me an hour to do that by hand, and by then, all the butter would be melted.


Edited by HungryC, 01 April 2014 - 12:29 PM.

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#25 andiesenji

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:56 PM

As I stated back near the beginning, there are many quick breads that BENEFIT from not being worked in a power mixer.

 

I have a recipe on my blog for scones that has instructions for using a food processor BUT ONLY because most people want quick, effortless results and are willing to settle for an end product that is not quite "right" and certainly would never have passed my great grandmother's "test" for flakiness.

 

Most of the time when I make them, unless I am in a big hurry and have to make several batches, I do them entirely by hand.

The result is a lighter, flakier and more traditional result, particularly when one has to use regular - all-purpose flour. 

Too much "working" the flour, after the liquids have been added, will develop the gluten too much and the end results will be heavier.

This is seen all the time in commercial "scones" sold in bakeries and tea shops, prepared in large batches in mixers and I personally would not even call them "scones" because to me, they do not fit the category. 

If you can get "soft" flour or pastry flour, with less gluten and less protein, the dough can take a bit more handling, but it is still better to keep handling to a minimum.

 

I learned to "cut" butter into dry ingredients with two knives but now I use a  pastry blender to get the appearance of "coarse crumbs" and then that goes into the fridge to keep the stuff cold. 

 

Here is a scone recipe I have been preparing since I was a child - my great grandma's favorite,  which does not work well with machine mixing. 

 

Cream Scones  Great Grandmother's favorite

2     cups            flour
2    Tablespoons    sugar
1    Tablespoon    baking powder
1/2    teaspoon        salt
1/4    cup            butter COLD (unsalted) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2                eggs
1/2    cup            cream  (light cream or half & half)
1    teaspoon        vanilla extract

Sugar for sprinkling.

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
Cut butter into dry ingredients using a pastry blender, a fork or two knives.
  The texture should look like coarse crumbs.
** Place bowl in the fridge.

Break the eggs into a measuring cup beat with a fork until light yellow and frothy.
Add the cream and blend well.
Add the vanilla extract.

Retrieve the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center and pour in the liquid mixture.
Using a large fork (I use a Danish dough whisk) stir the dry ingredients into the liquid
just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and there are no pockets
of dry ingredients.  

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter.
Divide into two,  pat out into two rounds, about 3/4 inch thick.

Cut each round into quarters.  Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment.

Brush tops with egg wash  and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Bake for about 15 minutes - check at 10-12 minutes they should be lightly browned.  

Optional:
You can add raisins or cranberries or other dried fruits -
add to the dry ingredients AFTER cutting in the butter.
 


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#26 annabelle

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:05 PM

I learned the same way to cut fat into flour with two knives, but now also use a pastry blender. 

 

I never used a mixer for anything when I lived at home.  My grandmother taught me to bake and she did everything by hand and insisted I learn that way.

 

I'm glad she did, too.


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