KitchenAid stand mixers, a fixture in Americans kitchens for almost a century, take much of the toil and mess out of baking yeast bread from scratch. The mixers stir together the liquids and dry ingredients, then knead the dough with a specialised dough hook until it's ready for rising. Because bread dough can be stiff and difficult to work with, it is essential to follow manufacturer instructions for mixer operation or risk damaging the apparatus.
Select the Right Recipe
Because using a stand mixer for kneading dough is much faster than kneading by hand, you may need to get used to the appliance. Pick a simple bread recipe to start with and acclimate yourself to the speeds and actions of the mixer.
KitchenAid mixing bowls, measuring 4.5, 5, or 6 quarts, accommodate distinct amounts of flour. For a 4.5-qt. mixing bowl, never use recipes requiring more than 8 cups all-purpose flour or 6 cups whole wheat flour. With a 5-qt. bowl, never select recipes calling for more than 10 cups all-purpose flour or 8 cups whole wheat flour. If you plan to use a 6-qt. bowl, never choose recipes with more than 12 cups all-purpose flour or 10 cups whole wheat flour.
Set the Temperature
With yeast bread recipes, temperature is key to a high-rising loaf. Use a candy thermometer to make sure than the liquid used to dissolve the active yeast is warm (if it feels hot to touch, it's too hot for the yeast). When proofing the yeast directly in the KitchenAid mixing bowl, warm the liquid and the bowl itself to cushion the yeast against temperature extremes. Warm the bowl by rinsing in warm water.
Always use the Dough Hook
Though KitchenAid mixers come with three attachments--a wire whip, flat beater and dough hook--always use the dough hook for bread dough preparation. The whip and beater are designed for lighter mixing tasks, and are not the proper shape to manage the unyielding consistency of bread dough.
Choose the Right Speed
According to KitchenAid instructions, bread dough should always be mixed and kneaded on speed 2. Slower speeds will not sufficiently knead the dough and will result in a leaden loaf. Faster speeds will cause the dry ingredients to fly out of the mixing bowl, creating a floury mess and a too-sticky, shapeless mass of dough.