Cooking and Machinery

So I have more than once discussed the wonderful advantage of machinery in cooking. This post is an elaboration based on one of the gifts that I got for Christmas. Spoiler: It was a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Now I feel that I should stress that this mixer is a used item that was significantly less than retail. Seriously, as I told the person that got it for me and had asked if I wanted it for Christmas, that I would love getting it for Christmas but would never ask for one. I would not have asked for a stand mixer because of their rather high price point. Back to the discussion. So I now have a stand mixer and have used it at least once. I used it to make a failed batch of pita bread. I say failed, mostly because I couldn’t be patient and let the dough rise as long as the recipe called for. Oh well. Anyway, besides a slight smell when it was running, it did exactly what I was hoping it would do. It made dough.

Now I should explain that I am perfectly capable of making bread dough by myself. I have done so at least a handful of times. However, I have also discovered in the process that there is a stage in dough making that I dislike and would prefer to avoid. That stage is the point in between something that you can mix with a spoon and the point of kneading a soft dough. In between those two are what I call the sticky dough stage.

Now as I have worked exclusively with American recipes, I have no idea if this is an issue with metric based recipes, but in the recipes that I have used there is usually an instruction to add flour as needed. This is also the reason why the amount of flour called for is usually written as “about 3.5 cups flour” or something along those lines. From what I understand, this is because the level of humidity in the air can change. However, I would not be surprised to learn that this is instead because of the fact that American recipes call for flour by volume and not by weight. Pantry items such as flour can settle and fit more flour into the same amount of space; therefore, a cup of flour may weigh more or less depending on the day. This means that I have to add flour when I have already started mixing the dough by hand. Thus, I have sticky hands and trying to add flour. This is not pleasant. I would not be surprised by the idea that I am doing something wrong and causing more work for myself. Regardless, at the moment, I only know how to make dough by hand with a sticky dough stage that is rather annoying to deal with by myself. It would be considerably easier with someone helping me but that is not where I am at the moment. Thus I am rather pleased with the mixer.

The stand mixer takes the dough through the sticky dough stage without me having to touch the dough. All I have to do is add flour as needed. This is a wonderful step up from my previous situation. It means that I am much more likely to explore the world of doughs, and boy is it an extensive one. I am probably going to start out with breads and possibly pizza dough or buns. I haven’t really decided; I just know that I am excited to try out different recipes that I have put off since I didn’t want to deal with the effort of going through the sticky stage of dough. So this is a long way of saying, that with a great piece of technology, a lot more opportunities are available. Regardless, I hope that this holiday season was a season of family, friends, and renewed opportunities for all of my readers. Thanks for reading and please share my blog with others if you enjoy my work.

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