Using Your New Freestanding Mixer

So you’ve unpacked your new freestanding mixer and admired the way it looks on your kitchen counter… what first? The possibilities are endless!

It excels at making All-in-one Cake Recipes, where you can use the mixing blade to incorporate plenty of air for light sponges and risen Brownies. It’s perfect for making recipes containing eggs – like mayonnaise and meringues – because you can use a slow setting to ensure that you stop whisking at precisely the right point (without getting arm-ache). But we think it’s really fabulous for making bakery-style breads at home. You can use it for any bread recipe, substituting a few minutes with the dough hook for the hot-and-heavy hand-kneading. Here are a couple of tried-and-tested dough recipes to get you started with your freestanding mixer.

Artisan Focaccia

This focaccia tastes so great that your friends will be convinced you’ve cheated and bought it! The initial proving allows the yeast to get started, giving you a semi-sourdough starter that will boost the bread’s height.

  • For one large focaccia:
  • 450g (1lb) 3 cups strong white bread flour
  • 1.5tsp instant dried yeast
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 200ml (7fl oz) warm water
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • For the topping:
  • 2tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved horizontally (optional)
  • Sea salt

Start by putting only 1 cup of the flour into the mixing bowl. Add the 200ml of water, the sugar, and the yeast, stir, then cover with a tea-towel and leave in a warm place for 1-4 hours.

Fit the bowl onto your freestanding mixer with the dough hook attached. Tip in the remaining flour and the salt. Set to a medium speed, and ‘knead’ the dough for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s soft and supple. Put some oiled cling-film over the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough and roll it out to fit a large baking tray (20x30cm). Dimple it with your fingers and leave in a warm place to rise, for at least an hour and up to 2 or 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and rosemary. Push the tomato halves into the dough all over. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden, and cool a little before cutting into squares.

Real Easy Pizza

Forget the fluffy, deep pan versions. This is real, Italian-style pizza: thin, light and chewy. There are two secrets of success: first, make sure your tomato sauce is thick and reduced – not watery, which will affect the crispiness of your pizza. Second, preheat your oven well: a good pizza is cooked fast. If you have a pizza stone, even better!

To make two pizzas, you need:

  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 1.5tsp instant dried yeast
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 200ml (7fl oz) warm water
  • 1.5tsp caster sugar
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • For the topping:
  • 200ml (7fl oz) tomato passata
  • 250g (9oz) mozzarella, sliced
  • 2tbsp grated parmesan or pecorino(or more if liked)
  • Optional: Sliced mushrooms, pepperoni slices, roasted peppers, sweetcorn, tinned tuna, frozen chopped spinach (thawed), goat’s cheese, or any of your favourite pizza toppings!

Start by reducing the passata to make a tomato sauce. Simply tip it into a pan with a pinch of sugar, and season. Reduce the passata over a medium heat until you can stir it with a spoon and leave a trail that lasts for a couple of seconds. The thicker the sauce, the better the pizza will be! Put it into a bowl to cool while you make the dough.

In a jug, combine the warm water with the sugar and olive oil and mix well. Put the flour, yeast and salt into the bowl of your freestanding mixer, and fit the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for a minute, then start adding the water mix a little at a time. When the dough comes together, set the mixer to medium speed and leave for 3-4 minutes, until the dough is soft and supple. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp tea-towel, and put in a warm place to prove for 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough and roll it out to fit two large baking trays. Put them in a warm place to rise for another 20 minutes. Meanwhile, switch on the oven to preheat to 220ºC. After 20 minutes, top the pizzas: spread each with half the tomato sauce, put on any of your toppings (sparingly – you don’t want to drown the pizza), then distribute the mozzarella and grate over the parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes and slice straight away.

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