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How to Avoid Over-Mixing

What is over-mixing?

Over-mixing means, you do the minimum amount of mixing required to get a uniform dough. For most people, it is advisable that you stop mixing when you find out there is no streak of flour left in your mixing bowl. If you intend to add other ingredients to your dough such as adding chocolate chips or fruits into the mixture, you can stop when you realize there are only a few small streaks of the flour left.

Mixing

The truth is no one sets out to over mix, but there is a lack of specificity and little guidance to help. For beginners who are more susceptible to over mixing, they are also the ones who are less likely to know what over-mixing looks like. For newbies, it all comes down to the set of problems.

1.) Problem of Aeration

For over-mixing, one of the first things you need to know is the problem of aeration which happens when too much air is allowed to incorporate into the mixture of the butter-sugar-egg cookie dough. A reasonable explanation for this occurs when the cookies are left in the oven for a short period without structural support from the sides of the pan. What happens here is that it will rise and then fall.

2.) Gluten development

One way of activating the gluten proteins in your mixture is by mixing flour with liquids, and this is one way they get their structure. Gluten development can affect cookies, cakes, muffins. Over-mixing can lead to terrible cookies, pancakes, and bread that are tough, unpleasantly chewy.

3.) Butter issue

You have probably come across this with pie doughs and scones that asks you to cut or cut the butter into the flour. What happens when you overwork the dough into the pie is that you will make the pieces too small which would affect the tenderness and flakiness of the pie.

Butter

No one wants to over mix because of the results that over mixing brings. Here are some rules that you can follow to prevent over-mixing.

a.) You don’t need to stir or to aerate or be too careful when backing.

b.) Using a rubber spatula for gentle stirring is one way to deflate the delicate ingredients in the bowl by making large scoop like movements.

c.) Combine and beat the mixture until its smooth and aerate with a stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, an electric hand mixer will do the trip.

d.) Whipp the heavy cream and egg whites into either soft or stiff peaks.

e.) Another mixing technique is to combine soft or solid fats in living and giving a structure to pastries and cookies alike. Quickly beating and breaking up the fat into a mixture helps create emulsification and allows air bubbles entry into the mix.

Mixture

Remember, this rule when in doubt: do the minimum amount of mixing to create a uniform dough. Ensure no streak of flour remains in the mixing bowl and where there is no streak left, you can stop mixing. If you have chocolate chunks or chopped nuts to be added to your mix, you can leave some few left when you have a few streaks remain so you can give the dough another turn to distribute them effectively.

Avoid Over-Mixing Recipes.

Over-mixing differs from meal to meal. What is referred to over mixing for pie dough is not the same as over-mixing for biscuit dough or cake batter. You can combine the ingredients in such a way that it has an effect on the final texture without being over-mixed. The truth is, there are so many ways to mix recipes and you can easily over-mix without trying.

  1. Muffins and Quick Bread

For muffins and quick bread, you need to be gentle with how you handle them, so they remain tender. Stir the mixture until the flour disappears.

Muffin

2. Pancakes and Waffles

Get rid of the lumps by being gentle on them. Stir the mixture until the flour disappears so there won’t be any presence of lumps. When you have too many lumps in your waffles, they won’t be tough or as rubbery as they should be. 

Pancakes

3. Yeast Bread

Yeast bread needs structure from rough handling and gluten development, but you still have to be gentle with them if you want a soft and tender crumb like the sandwich bread. if you decide to use a food processor to knead, you shouldn’t spend more than 1 minute doing so, while a stand mixer that has a dough hook might require more time (approximately 8 to 10 minutes or more). Chewy bread, on the other hand, you will want to use hand mixing or a stand mixer at a low speed for a shorter time duration and gentler mixing.

4. Cookies

For cookies, it is more comfortable to over mix. You can overmix when you cream the ingredients (mainly butter, sugar, and eggs) and then aerate. You want to beat long enough so they blend together but not so much that you over-beat them. If you have an electric mixer, beating the butter and sugar should be done for no longer than 3 minutes so the individual sugar granules can disappear. You can also overmix when adding the flour. To avoid overmixing, it is advisable that you add the flour all in at once and mix less than you would if several additions would have been added.

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