Any idea what is going on with my dough over the past 3 weeks?

So I’ve been working with this same dough recipe for the past 3-4 weeks…
Only change is in the weather outside going from about 60-70F to 30-40F (chicago area)
I’ve been testing different flours as well now just to see if that is the issue but I seem to be getting all the same results. I’ve been testing 5# flour batches, 8# and today a full 25# bag.

It’s been progressing from perfect to total crap now, it’s always sticking to the dough hook and just hanging on, not kneading. I repeatedly have to stop the mixer and pull off the dough, restart it and it kneads about 2-3 swings around the bowl and then right back onto the hook. Todays 25# flour batch was horrible… it wound all the way up the hook and was horribly sticky as well.
I have no idea whats going on here.

Below is a pic of the hook in action.


To much water ?
Are you sure you adjusted all your percentages correctly from the 5# to the 25# ?

I am sure Tom or some of the others might have a better suggestion on the problem.

Yes the %s are all equated correctly… we are using 60% water and 5% oil

You switched mixers I assume to go to the larger batch? The dough hook in the picture looks like the type that likes to make the dough climb and your mixer is loaded light which also makes for a bad mix. Walter

Same mixer… same dough hook. It’s a 60qt Hobart. What is the average amount of flour you should be using in a 60qt? The pic is with a 25# bag.

You mixed 5 and 8 pound mixes in a 60 quart mixer? That would never mix right. 50 pounds of flour is the norm in a 60 quart mixer for most pizza doughes. Walter

Have you had any repairs done to your mixer lately? The same thing was happening to me when I first opened. The problem was when they hooked up the mixer to the electric they put two wires on opposite which was causing the mixer to spin the opposite direction and the dough would wind up on the hook and just stay there like in your picture. The hook would also fall right off when you lowered the bowl.

I have never mixed an 8 pound batch but I have done 10 pound, dozens of times, and it works fine in a 60 quart. When you do a small batch, all you need to do is take the hook and mix the flour with the water before you put the hook on…

too much water , i use my eyes while mixing and don’t measure, slowly adding by pitcher carefully watching, sometimes ill stop and feel the dough and adjust accordingly, never like to add more flour but water is fine…usually nail it without feeling the dough…when training people they cannot quite grasp what i’m doing , concentrate on the dough to see how it is reacting to the mixer, is the ball tight, relaxed , flattened out, straining the motor , climbing early, climbing late in the mix , are you walking away from it , or talking on yer CPhone ! oil the hook

Flour temp? Water temp? Air temp? all of these most likely changed on you, and therefor your dough characteristics have changed with it.
Or, did you just change flour brands, or a different shipment of the same brand?

Keep track of the temperatures of all your ingredients, find the sweet spot, and try to accommodate the air and flour temps by using water at different temperatures.

There is a formula floating around the tank someplace with friction factors and how to manipulate finished dough temps through water temperature.

My latest dough issue seems to be opposite of yours, but I think temperature has much to do with what you’re seeing.

I had an issue this last summer where my dough was coming out like pancake batter, I use 2 different flours blended in specific ratios to get the product I want, I thought one of my goobers put the flours in the wrong bins and the ratios were way way under my target protein content. But that was not the case, my issue was with temperature alone,

So, instead of using water out of the cooler like I used to do, I mixed it 50/50 with ice. (60% hydration)
I keep the mixing bowl in the cooler, I add my ice water and oil first, then add all my dry ingredients, I also shortened my mix time by a few minutes. It looks fairly rough out of the mixer but once it sits on the bench and warms up a few degrees, it balls up nicely.

I am looking forward to Mr. Lehmans reply on this

All things being equal, the weather outside has little to no impact upon any of the dough characteristics, so something else must be at play here. Like many others, I don’t like the way the dough is climbing up the hook. Can you provide a picture of the hook without dough clinging to it? If you are using a “J” hook this could be the problem as the mixing action with this type of agitator is very inconsistent. Strangely, the tapered collar at the top of the agitator in your picture appears to be quite flat and similar to that of a reverse spiral dough arm. This being the case, as was already suggested, it is turning in the wrong direction. If I remember correctly, with a reverse spiral dough arm it should be rotating/turning counter clockwise when viewed looking down into the bowl. Keep in mind that small dough sizes do not mix very well in planetary mixers. I have always said that you should not size a dough less than 50% of full capacity with a planetary mixer. This is not to say that you cannot mix a smaller dough, most certainly you can but it will most likely require a change in your mixing procedure or time. From the look of things I’m guessing that the dough is grossly under developed resulting in the stickiness you are reporting, so lets get the mixer sorted out first before making any major dough changes. Additionally, you didn’t provide a formula but if you are adding malt to the dough you might have received diastatic malt instead of the non-diastatic malt you probably should be using. Over malted flours give very sticky doughs that just can’t be addressed. Do you scale all od your ingredients as opposed to volumetric portioning? When you went down in dough size did you use bakers percent to calculate the new ingredient weights? With volumetric portioning all bets are off of the table as there is just too much variation in volumetric portions. There are about 3-cups of flour in a pound, but there are always 16-ounces in a pound of flour, this is why weight measures are so important when trying to troubleshoot a problem. Please keep us posted and we’ll try to figure it out with you.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Dcotor

Too much water!

There is a possibility that with the small size doughs being employed the hook is not able to work the dough sufficiently to properly hydrate the flour or begin developing the gluten. A good way to test this theory is to add only about 3/4 of the water to the mixing bowl, then add any salt and/or sugar, add all of the flour and begin mixing until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, now add the remaining water and once that is mixed in, add the oil and mix about 4 more minutes at medium or high speed. If the hook cannot get sufficient purchase on the dough it cannot develop the gluten sufficiently for hydration or to achieve the desired surface texture (dryness) to the dough. Also be sure to check your finished dough temperature to be sure it is within your specified range (typically 80 to 85F). Always keep in mind that smaller doughs do NOT have the same friction factor as larger doughs during mixing so they do not develop as much heat during the mixing process as the larger doughs, hence they come from the mixer at a lower temperature, the best way to address this is by mixing the smaller dough at a higher speed. We do this for two reasons, 1) it will create more friction during mixing to give the desired finished dough temperature 2) the higher mixing speed will tend to through the dough off of the agitator (hook) for improved mixing action.
By the way, you might also want to check the clearance between the bottom of the hook and the inside of the bowl. Hobart can tell you what the ideal clearance is, but for now I would adjust the bowl so the hook just begins to contact the bowl (you will hear a "tink, tink, tink, tink). At this point lower the bowl slightly to eliminate any contact. See if this helps. If you have excessive gap between the bowl and the agitator it can be difficult to get smaller size doughs to mix properly, and even larger size doughs may tend to cling to the bottom of the bowl longer than necessary, resulting in an under mixed dough condition (sticky).
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor