What is a Good Dough Hook Alternative?

August 10, 2023
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Getting Dough Kneaded Without a Hook

Nothing tastes better than homemade bread. What if you do not have all the tools to achieve a fresh loaf?

A mixer with a dough hook attachment might be a popular dough-making practice, but it is not the only way you can enjoy delicious bread, rolls, and pastries. So, what is a good dough hook alternative? This article shares several dough hook alternatives to help you find the perfect method for you!

What Is a Dough Hook?

A dough hook is a curved attachment that comes with most stand mixers. Its curved, forming a hook-like shape perfect for kneading dough. Using a dough hook develops gluten and structure much faster than kneading by hand.

A KitchenAid Stand Mixer Dough Hook Preparing Cookie Dough in a Mixing Bowl

Developing gluten in your dough is a crucial step in the bread-making process. It gives the dough elasticity, trapping air inside and increasing volume. This process results in bread with a soft, chewy texture as opposed to something tough and dense.

What Is a Dough Hook Used For?

Dough hooks make kneading and cleaning up efficient and easy. These tools (and stand mixers) make the kneading process faster. However, they are expensive, such as the spiral hook Kitchenaid Pro. Even a cheap hand mixer can be on the pricier side. If you are new to baking and bread making, you may not want to invest in fancy gadgets and supplies.

Keep reading to learn about three excellent dough hook alternatives for a minimal cost.

What Can You Use if You Don't Have a Dough Hook?

If you do not have a stand mixer and dough hook available, here are three of the best alternatives that lead to a delicious loaf of bread:

  • Bread maker
  • Food processor
  • Kneading by hand

Bread Maker as a Dough Hook Alternative

One great alternative to a stand mixer and dough hook is the bread machine. Bread makers do all the work of a dough hook and more at a lower cost than traditional stand mixers. Investing in a bread maker might be right for you if you want to make bread regularly.

The Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Maker

Is a Bread Machine Right for You?

Determining if a bread maker is the right choice depends on many factors, like how often you eat bread, how much time you have to spend making some, and the type of bread you like to eat.

If you love hearty loaves or a crust with some crunch, a bread machine might not be the best option for your tastes. Should you not prefer a specific loaf, dozens of recipes online make delicious, sandwich-quality slices.

What Else Can You Make in a Bread Machine?

Besides loaves of bread, these makers can create various other treats like rolls or even jam. The versatility varies by machine, so check the user manual for a complete list of all its tricks.

How To Use a Bread Maker

Ingredients vary by recipe. However, basic bread only requires four items: flour, water, yeast, and salt. If you like the dough a little sweeter, add some sugar. For a tender loaf, use olive or vegetable oil.

Start by reading your machine’s instructions. They provide correct ratios for standard bread dough and should be followed. Otherwise, the bread maker could be overfilled.

Add wet ingredients (water, sugar, oil) first, then flour and salt, and, lastly, the active dry yeast.

After that, follow the settings guide in your bread maker’s manual. All the hard work is done! The best part about bread makers is the machine does virtually the entire job for you. There is no need for a dough hook or oven because it kneads and bakes the dough right from your countertop.

Dough Setting on a Bread Maker

Bread makers are an easy option for making fresh bread regularly, but the loaves might not be as aesthetically pleasing as ones baked in the oven. These machines have a built-in dough hook, which means you do not have to knead the dough by hand or with a stand mixer. However, the built-in attachment leaves a large hole at the bottom of every loaf.

Now is when the dough setting comes to the rescue. Use this setting for a crispier loaf without a hole in the bottom. The machine mixes and proofs your dough, then turns off. Take out the dough and bake it in a preheated oven.

The dough setting is not exclusively for bread. It can be used for nearly any yeasted dough like breadsticks or cinnamon rolls.

Food Processor as a Dough Hook Alternative

When asking the question, “what is a good dough hook alternative?” you might not consider the food process. Like bread machines, food processors are more affordable compared to stand mixers.

Since food processors use a blade to form and knead the dough, some bread recipes are incompatible with the device. In particular, the blade could rip up the glutenous strands responsible for a bread or pastry’s structure. That could lead to problems in texture and ability to rise.

If you make a lot of pizza dough, cookie dough, or other chewy options where the structure is not as important, a food processor is a wonderful choice.

How To Knead Dough Using a Food Processor

Here is a simple tutorial on how to knead the dough with a food processor:

  1. Mix the dough ingredients in a separate bowl until just combined.
  2. Transfer the dough mixture into the food processor.
  3. Turn on the food processor until a dough ball starts forming.
  4. Switch it off and flip the ball over.
  5. Turn the processor back on. Pulse the dough for up to 30 seconds.

This is an effective kneading method because it takes minimal time and effort. If you use this technique, watch the temperature of your dough closely. Food processors generate a lot of head, risking overdeveloping the dough.

Tips for Kneading Dough With a Food Processor

Here are some tips for kneading the dough with a food processor:

Use the Metal Blade Attachment

Most food processors come with plastic blades that people think are comparable to the dough hook on a stand mixer. Actually, the dullness drags the dough and leaves it stuck to the sides of the bowl. Metal blades create slicing movements, helping form the dough quickly.

Use Ice Water Instead of Room Temperature

If you make a lot of yeasted dough, this might seem counterintuitive. However, the quick force from the food processor blades creates excess heat. Higher temperatures could kill the yeast. While ice water slows down the fermentation process, it saves the yeast.

Kneading Dough by Hand as a Dough Hook Alternative

The final alternative to a stand mixer and dough hook is kneading by hand. Bakers hand-kneaded dough for centuries before technology advanced and produced gadgets like bread makers, food processors, or the Kitchenaid mixer.

While kneading by hand is more labor intensive, it is completely free (aside from time). Continue reading to learn the best techniques for kneading the dough by hand and the final answer to the question “what is a good dough hook alternative?”

How Long Does Kneading Dough by Hand Take?

Kneading dough by hand is a bit of a workout, taking up to 25 minutes. Your arms will certainly be sore afterward, whether or not you are a novice bread maker.

Besides time, hand kneading dough takes intuition and skill. It could take multiple tries to master the perfect gentle stretch and massage necessary for properly developed dough.

How To Knead Dough by Hand

Kneading Dough by Hand Can be Time Consuming but Apparently it Can Also Be Fun

Written below is the beginner's guide to kneading dough by hand as a dough hook alternative:

  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl until just combined.
  2. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured countertop or workspace. Begin shaping the dough into a ball.
  3. Once you form a ball, start kneading by rolling the dough. Gently press down and away from your body with the heel of your hand.
  4. Lift the edge of the dough facing farthest away from you, folding it in toward you. You should be folding the dough in half.
  5. Repeat these steps for approximately four to five minutes, lightly dusting the dough with flour occasionally to maintain its smoothness.
  6. Press the dough forward again with the heel of your hand. Continue repeating steps three and four for about eight minutes. The dough should appear more smooth and begin to feel elastic.
  7. Keep kneading the dough until it reaches the recipe’s desired smoothness and elasticity. This process takes anywhere between 15 to 25 minutes.

When Is Your Dough Correctly Kneaded?

The well-kneaded dough is stretchy and elastic without snapping. Here are a few more signs you properly kneaded your dough:

  • The dough is smooth and a little tacky when touched - if you have sticky dough, add a little flour and keep kneading)
  • Holds shape when held in your hands
  • Poke the dough with your finger. If the indentation goes away, the dough is ready
  • Pull off a tablespoon or two of dough and stretch it as thin as possible. If you properly kneaded the dough, it should stretch almost paper thin without breaking.

How To Tell if Dough Is Over Kneaded

If you over-knead the dough, it bakes into a dense loaf instead of soft and airy. Here are some signs of over kneading to look out for:

  • Dough feels too warm and turns white
  • Feels tight and tough
  • Snaps quickly when stretched
  • As you knead, the dough feels heavier

Unfortunately, you cannot completely undo the consequences of overworked dough. However, leaving it to rest and rise a little longer than usual gives the gluten extra time to relax.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my hands instead of a dough hook?

You may use your hands to knead dough before baking instead of a dough hook. The dough was kneaded by hand for centuries before the introduction of the stand mixer and the dough hook. Kneading by hand takes a lot more elbow grease - especially with thick dough or heavier doughs, but the end result is the same.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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