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Bread from the food processor

I learned this technique from Charles Van Over's book, The Best Bread Ever.  It sounds kooky but it really works, honest!  For a full discussion of the procedure and the benefits, read the book.   The short version:  using the cutting blade will give a fast knead that may actually make better bread. 

I posted an illustrated version of this here.

The recipe sizes and timings in his book are based on using on the Cuisinart Pro 14C processor, so YMMV with other makes/models.  However, if you have a large bowl and strong motor, it's worth giving this a try.  My kitchenaid mixer dough hook hardly gets any exercise anymore. 

Here's how I adapt my recipes for this technique:

•Make one loaf's worth of bread at once, maximum 500g or 3 1/2 C flour for a single batch, in a 14C size cuisinart.  Make multiple batches if you need to make more loaves.

•Instant yeast is added with the dry ingredients.  I have used sourdough starters, but dissolve them into the wet ingredients first.

•The wet ingredients should be chilled to refrigerator or ice-water temperature.  The mixing will heat up the dough considerably, so starting with warm liquids will overheat and may kill the yeast. 

•Measure all of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the blade in place.  Pour the chilled wet ingredients in all at once, with the blade spinning.  Let the dough just come together, then turn off the processor and let it sit for 5-15 minutes to hydrate the flour (the "autolyse"). 

Add a bit of water or flour if needed to adjust the texture.  The dough may not be completely mixed or smooth at this point, so it takes some experience to get this part right.  Then start up the processor again.  When the dough is starting to clean the sides of the bowl, start counting and check it after about 45 seconds.  It should be done or nearly so.  Give it a bit more time, if needed, in 5-10 second zaps.

Turn out and shape for rising, rise, retard, bake as usual.

Occasionally, very soft, sticky doughs that start out over-hydrated (to which you generally add a fair bit of flour while kneading) will ooze up inside the blade, around the spindle, during the autolyse, and will slow or stop the processor when you try to restart and knead in earnest.  You can transfer the dough to another bowl long enough to clear the spindle and the blade, and return the dough to the bowl, and knead away; I generally transfer it to the kitchenaid and give the dough hook a little exercise when this happens.

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