Neo-Luddite baking books?
December 12, 2009 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Bakingfliter: Does anyone have any recipe book recommendations specifically for baking without a stand mixer?

I was recently given Baking Illustrated as a gift, and while it is a beautiful book, I was disheartened to find that many of the recipes, especially the bread ones, are for stand mixers. Some of the recipes do have instructions for "hand-mixing variations", but the Test Kitchen folks mostly recommend against this for their recipes. This also happened to me with the bread recipes in How to Cook Everything. Frustrating!

So does anyone know of any baking or bread recipe books that focus on hand-mixing and kneading, rather than using a stand mixer? I have a hippy bread book of my mom's from the early '70s and it is all hand recipes, but I'm looking for some new things to bake. I also was given The Bread Bible, which has some great recipes and I'm going to work my way through them.

I will confess to owning an electric hand-mixer that I use for icing or whipping cream, but I rarely use it and really prefer using elbow grease if I can. And I don't have enough counter space to get a stand mixer in the foreseeable future.

posted by just_ducky to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Joy of Cooking is written without stand-mixer instructions.

My friend's Cookie Bible is written for people without stand mixers. She absolutely loves it, although it's missing some obvious treats (like snickerdoodles).
posted by bookdragoness at 12:00 PM on December 12, 2009

Bear in mind that:

1. Test Kitchen is all about being incredibly fussy perfectionists, while at the same time making recipes foolproof. Stir with a wooden spoon or knead when the books say to use the mixer, and 99% of it will be just fine.

2. Kneading bread by hand is a matter of experience anyway as to what it should feel and look like when it's done. A different cookbook isn't going to help you with that.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 1:21 PM on December 12, 2009

There are only a very small number of bread recipes that actually require a stand mixer, and those are ones with very very high hydration levels like a ciabatta dough or a brioche dough with equal parts butter and flour. If you learn how to do a french fold you can knead the vast majority of bread recipes by hand and you will actually get better results. Most people mix by doing a more traditional knead which will not produce enough gluten or aeration, but the french fold blows even a professional stand mixer out of the water. Despite having a stand mixer, I still do a lot of the kneading for artisan style breads with my hands or start them in the mixer and finish by hand. Learn how to do a french fold and you can just use the ingredients list from a recipe book. If you want to learn more about bread baking, the Fresh Loaf is a good place to start.
posted by hindmost at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

Yeah unless it is a very fussy recipe, just use a spoon or the beaters. It's not going to matter at all.
posted by soelo at 2:41 PM on December 12, 2009

Thanks for that Bertinet link ("fold"), hindmost. Never seen that technique--fabulous.

Re: just_ducky--stand mixers are time savers (by freeing you up to do something else), not necessities.
posted by Decimask at 9:24 PM on December 12, 2009

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