I am a novice baker using 'Bread Alone' and 'The Bread Bible' as my guides. My hand kneading wasn't all that, so I purchased a Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer.
After baking 8 different types of bread in a week, I was over the Artisan. The bowl was a little small and, even with the pour shield, I scattered flour everywhere. In addition, after a good knead with some counter jumping, the bowl always got stuck and I could never get it off the mixer on my own. Other than these hassles, my bread was mixed and then kneaded beautifully (mostly).
Reading all sorts of posts, I decided to upgrade to the Professional 600 as I've fallen in love with dough. At first I was super excited--until I ruined 2 doughs and made the worst bread of my life. I followed two recipes that had worked just fine with the Artisan, but with the Pro 600 the dough was over stickey, lumpy, and never quite rose. Maybe I didn't add enough flour? Did I over knead? I can't tell. Alton Brown in 'I'm Just Here for More Food,' said over kneaded dough looks flat with the water running out of it--no idea what that would look like in a mixer.
When I called Kitchen Aid they were horrified that I had kneaded the dough for too long--I did as directed by the books. But, when I used the Artisan at level 4 and kneaded with the c hook for 15 minutes, the dough seemed just fine. Using the Pro 600's spiral hook at level 2, I understand I shouldn't use the hand knead time suggestion, but how long should I let the machine work on my dough?
If a recipe in 'Bread Alone' calls for hand knead of 15 minutes, how long should it go in the Pro 600 at level 2? how about a lower level? If I have a Kitchen Aid suggestion from 'Bread Alone' saying go at level 4 for 5 minutes, how long should it really be in the pro 600 at level 2?
I'm still so new, I haven't learned the best smell, look or feel of dough ready for a rise, so any suggestions you can offer would be welcome! Thanks.