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Making Bread With a KitchenAid Mixer
There's nothing quite like homemade bread, but a lot of people are intimidated by the process of actually making it. This has lead to the popularity of bread machines that only require you to add the ingredients and push a button. But there is a method that is in between the traditional, fully-manual method and the hands-off approach that uses a multi-purpose appliance you might already have: a KitchenAid stand mixer.
I've had such a mixer—one of their smaller models, a KSM90—for over twenty years and have used it for everything from making angel food cake to mashed potatoes. But my favorite use is for baking bread. I usually use the recipes that are in the small cookbook that came with the mixer as they're the right size, but you can use any comparable bread recipe that calls for a similar amount of flour. The upper limits of recipe size are noted in the instruction manual.
This method takes out the hand-kneading part of baking bread, which is often the stumbling block. It is messy and time-consuming when done by hand, and some people lack the manual strength for it. Using a stand mixture shortens the process and really reduces clean-up time.
Here's a recipe for basic white bread that I use all the time. It makes two standard-size loaves. I live alone so I freeze one loaf while and eat the other. I just store the bread in freezer-weight zipper bags with good results.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 packages active dry yeast OR 4.5 teaspoons bulk active dry yeast
- 1.5 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
Notes About Ingredients and Equipment
I buy my yeast in bulk from King Arthur Flour. Try the SAF Red Instant Yeast. One packet of yeast equals 2 1/4" teaspoons. The best way to store it is in the freezer in an airtight container (they sell appropriate containers at King Arthur). It's good for several years if you don't use it up before then. But if your bread isn't rising very well and the yeast is more than 2 years old, get a new supply—it can make a big difference!
The water (and heated milk mixture) should be lukewarm when added so it doesn't kill the yeast. A digital thermometer is your best friend at this stage, although not absolutely required. Since the liquids should be just above body temperature, they should feel just barely warm. I've been baking bread for decades, and I don't feel I really took control of the process until I started using a thermometer.
I prefer unbleached all-purpose flour—usually King Arthur or Gold Medal—but use your favorite variety. Just make sure it is not self-rising.
Step One: Mixing
- Combine the milk, sugar, salt, and butter in either a small saucepan or medium-size microwaveable container. I use my 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave.
- If using the stovetop, heat over low heat until the butter melts and the salt and sugar dissolve.
- If using the microwave, heat on high for about 60-90 seconds. The butter will not be completely melted but there will be enough residual heat to complete the job while the liquid cools. Stir to finish dissolving the salt and sugar.
- Cool to lukewarm (about 105°F to 115°F).
- Warm the mixing bowl with a cup or two of hot tap water. Swirl it around a bit and then dump out.
- Dissolve the yeast in the 1.5 cups of warm water in the warmed bowl, whisking a bit with a fork or small whisk to help it along.
- Add the lukewarm milk mixture and 4.5 cups of the flour. Attach the bowl and the dough hook to the mixer, making sure you lock the head in place. Mix at the lowest speed (the first position the speed lever clicks to) for 2 minutes.
- Continue at this speed, adding the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough clings to the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. You might need to help it along once or twice by pushing the flour down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, but that's about it.
- Knead at this same speed for another 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be slightly sticky to touch.
Step Two: Rising and Shaping
- Turn into a greased bowl (I use butter; use your preferred option).
- Turn (spin) the dough slightly to transfer some of the butter then flip over.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place free of drafts until doubled, about an hour. I use plastic wrap to cover the bowl, but tea towels are also popular. Avoid terry cloth towels as they tend to leave behind bits of lint on the dough.
- Punch down the dough and divide in half using a dough cutter or bench scraper. If you want to be really persnickety, you can use a digital kitchen scale to make sure you've divided the dough evenly.
- Lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour—you should need less than 1/4 cup total. Roll and shape each half into a rectangle about 9" x 14".
- Fold in thirds along the long edge, brushing off any excess flour. Roll tightly starting from a short end. Pinch the bottom seam and the ends, tucking them under and gently shaping into a loaf.
- Place each in a greased 8.5" x 4.5" x 2.5" loaf pan with the seam on the bottom.
- Cover and let rise in a warm spot away from drafts until doubled, about an hour.
- Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes until a rich golden brown.
- Turn out from the pans right away and cool on wire racks.
Tip: If you tap the bottom of each loaf, it should sound hollow that signals it is done.
This bread makes great toast, and I keep meaning to try it with tea sandwiches.
Rate This Recipe
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 15, 2017:
Bread baking is such an awesome skill, but it does require an investment while you learn what texture to look for in your dough, how long to let it rise, etc. Using the mixer is a huge time-saver, and you've done a great job spelling out the steps for a novice baker... as well as inspired me to get back on the bread-baking train, myself!
Danny Reynolds on July 25, 2015:
OK I'm in the process of it rising now. I don't think this is going to be pretty. It never came to a big clump around the dough hook. Looked nothing like the picks. So thats when I screwed it up. I started thinking maybe it needs more flour then maybe more water. I screwed with it so much that what I have trying to rise is nothing like the original receipe. I was OK right up to the mixing part. What could I have done wrong for it not to form a nice smooth ball around the dough hook??
Ruth from St. Paul. MN on June 05, 2015:
I like your idea on baking bread, but I'd rather make my bread by hand.
Tami Rogers from Seattle, Washington on March 23, 2015:
Definitely trying this one and following you! Nice Hub!
deme1949 on June 24, 2014:
Silk Thimble thank you so much for this recipe. From all the above comments this sounds like something that I can handle. My husband bought me a KitchenAide mixer when our grandson was born. My husband said our grandson should have memories of his maw maw baking cookies, pies and cakes. However, I think my husband has an ulterior motive......desserts for him. : ) But that's ok because I don't mind. I tried baking bread back in the early 70's as well as rolls but I always killed the yeast. A thermometer is a great idea. Thank you again.
Drew Waisman from Austin, Texas on June 18, 2014:
I have made this bread 5 times now, and it comes out perfect every time. So soft its just great.
Nancy Amaral on September 09, 2013:
Followed these amazing step by step instructions last week and the results were perfect! This week I'm integrating whole wheat into my unbleached flour. It's rising now and I can't wait to taste it. I'm new to bread making and using a kitchen aid, so I was so happy to find this guide. Thank you!
mr-veg from Colorado United States on January 07, 2013:
Just stumbled across this hub and Wow, never knew baking bread would be that easy ! Thanks for the nice informative hub !
Bev G from Wales, UK on January 07, 2013:
Looks delicious! I haven't got a KA :( so all done by hand.
kebeco from Pacific Northwest on January 06, 2013:
Thank you very much for this! It's very helpful. I've been making bread "by hand" for years, but lately my carpal tunnel just makes it impossible. I purchased a KA mixer years a couple of years ago and use it mostly for baking, but was thinking the other night about biting the bullet and making bread again, simply because nothing beats homemade bread, when it suddenly dawned on me (doh!) that I could use the KA to do the hard work. Frankly I wasn't feeling too optimistic about the results (using a *machine* to make bread?!! Good Heavens!) , but now that I've read/viewed your very helpful instructions I'm feeling much more positive and in fact will be making the bread today. Thanks again!
RyannSalik on January 02, 2013:
oooh. Just got the KitchenAid mixer for X-Mas. Thank you for posting this--will gibe it a go right....now!
dianapressler on September 13, 2012:
I just made this recipe using my brand new KitchenAid Professional stand mixer. It turned out fantastic! Thank you so much!
The Finance Hub from Portland, Oregon on February 06, 2012:
Great hub. I love how the pictures show what it should look like each step of the way! Voted useful and up! Hope that you enjoy my hubs as well!
wmhseo from Canada on February 06, 2012:
The bread in the photo looks very delicious.
Mary Wickison from Brazil on February 06, 2012:
I love homemade bread. There is nothing to compare with it. When you have it, you realize just how bad store bought bread can be.
I love to know how robust a machine like your Kitchenaid mixer is. Often kitchen appliances are bought and never used. This is not the case for your mixer! Your photos are very well done and useful. Often I see out of focus photos put up here. Drives me crazy.
Enjoyed your hub. Happy baking.
moonlake from America on February 05, 2012:
This is a great hub. I have a navy blue mixer about 20 years old. Love it. My husband use to get after me because I put everything in my mixer even small amounts to me it was easier than pulling out the hand mixer. My friend just got a nice red mixer for Christmas and she said her husband does the same thing to her but she uses it for even small things also. Made bread when I first got it but haven't lately and should....SOCIALLY SHARED
emimemo from USA on February 05, 2012:
Good looking bread. KichenAid is pretty useful.
Bill Yovino on February 05, 2012:
Very nice hub. I love homemade bread!
SilkThimble (author) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 05, 2012:
Thanks for the kind words! I really enjoy the process of making my own bread.
Attikos from East Cackalacky on February 05, 2012:
Well done, Silk Thimble! As I was writing to another fellow member a couple of minutes ago, we'd all be better off with some time put into our daily bread.
Arlene V. Poma on February 05, 2012:
Nicely written and illustrated! I use my KitchenAid for baking bread, too. Bookmarked, voted up and everything else.