Dough: SM, FP, or by Hand?

I do my dough (pasta, pie crust, bread) in my stand mixer. Results have been great, but pie crust needs a very watchful eye.

I know a lot of folks use a food processor to do doughs, but there is a lot of conflicting info about this (especially on gluten formation).

What do you use and why?

Also… I wanna make my own pizza dough (always bought it in the past), the kind that long proofs in the fridge for more flavor. If you do pizza dough this way I’d love to hear about your process.

No knead bread - by hand.
Pizza crust, challah, “sandwich bread” - stand mixer
Tart dough, biscuit dough - often food processor. Especially for incorporating the flour and butter through a few pulses, and then another 3 or 4 max to distribute the liquid before working the rest by hand.

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Pie crust - I cut the butter in with a food processor and knead by hand.
Everything else - stand mixer.

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I’ll use any of the methods mentioned for mixing dough (hand, FP, mixer) - just depends on the recipe and/or desired outcome.

In your quest for a fermented pizza dough, I’m sure you’ll come across Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough. It’s a great recipe for making free-form pizza:

For pan pizza with an all day ferment, I’ll take Serious Eat’s Pan Pizza:

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I only make pie crust in the food processor. I find the trick for me is to use the pulse button when adding the water/apple cider vinegar or else you risk it going too far too fast.

Over the weekend I made pasta dough which I do by hand. I find the kneading is really only a few minutes.

I don’t have a stand mixer but have debating getting on FOREVER.


Thanks all! My FP is not really big enough to do butter doughs. I have had a look at the following Lindsey Farr vids (she’s a pretty good baker IMHO)…

I get the feeling she prefers the stand mixer. For those of you who prefer doing butter doughs in the FP, is it just faster? Or do you think it is worth getting one due to better results?

Pie crust - begin with FP, processor end by hand (with dough in a chilled plastic bag)
Pizza Dough - FB
Pasta Dough - Stand Mixer, with finishing touches by hand. I am way too sloppy to use the traditional flour well on the counter method.

Depends on the dough. For pie crust, food processor then finish by hand. Pizza dough and other high-hydration, long-ferment doughs need minimal kneading, so I do those entirely by hand. Enriched doughs like brioche and lower-hyrdration breads I do in the stand mixer. Pasta dough I usually start in the food processor and then finish by hand, although I sometimes do it entirely by hand - just depends on my mood.

To answer this question specifically, I make pie crust using the ATK/Kenji Lopez-Alt method wherein you fully incorporate the butter and most of the flour into a paste to help prevent gluten development, and then briefly blitz in the remaining flour. IMO the food processor is the best tool for this - you can do it with your hands, but the butter gets too warm, and the FP does the blitzing step better than either hands or stand mixer. If I used a different recipe, I might choose a different tool for the job.

This is how I do pizza dough. I use levain rather than commercial yeast and approximately 65% hydration. Bread flour or AP plus a bit of added gluten. Levain (generally speaking) results in a slower rise than commercial yeast, though you can achieve a slow rise with commercial yeast by using only a small amount (like no-knead bread recipes usually do). Anyway, once you’ve decided on the hydration level you prefer, it’s a simple matter - mix the ingredients (you can do an autolyze step with just flour and water before adding yeast/levain, salt and oil or not, up to you), do a few slap and folds over the next couple of hours to develop some gluten, then let it bulk ferment at room temp for 10-12 hours (or however long it needs to double in size). Punch it down, shape into balls (I use about 325g for a 12" pizza) and put them in oiled containers in the fridge for a few days. Pull them out and leave at room temp for a couple of hours before stretching and baking.


Bread: stand mixer because I now know how the dough is supposed to feel for a good finished product (did everything by hand until I understood what was going on). I often have a couple of doughs on the go at once on “bread day” so saving some time with delegating to the machine is a good thing.

Pasta: always by hand. I did a side by side comparison with hand vs food processor and hand made pasta was the clear winner for texture. The whole family was in agreement. I was rather annoyed by that fact, but quality comes first, so got used to making it by hand until it was no longer a big deal. Bonus is, no machine to clean.

Pie crust: by hand. No machine to clean (again) and it turns out perfectly every time. Quick, too.

Pizza: either Lahey’s no knead or a mixer. Ken Forkish’s 48-72 hour New York pizza dough in “The Elements of Pizza” is the one I make most often. This post reminds me that I need to put on another batch or I’ll face a mutiny soon.

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By hand.

Always by hand.


By hand for me. Though that’s mainly because I currently have neither a stand mixer nor a food processor. To be fair I’ve never really had any issues. I’ve even done brioche by hand and it turned out lovely.

I have a pizza dough recipe that sits overnight but at room temperature rather than the fridge and we love it and have pizza every week now due to how nice the crust is. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll be happy to share the recipe.

I have to admit I sometimes have to futz with the mixer to get the butter cut in consistently (like I have been told to do countless times)… and I don’t want to buy a full size FP just for pie crust as that is pretty much all I would use it for.

But last night I stumbled on to this YT Vid (don’t ask me how), and she absolutely ignores the consistency thing. She just “does it” with the simplest mixer method I have seen.

Lots of options mentioned, but she doesn’t use a single one… and if her pies taste as good as they look (especially the lattice one) I am sold on her method.

Now gotta get some fruit next shopping run.

Biscuit and pie dough by hand using a hand-held pastry cutter to work in the butter.

Longer knead doughs like bagel or for loaf bread (10 to 12 minutes kneading), I use the KA stand mixer.

Pizza dough I used to do in the stand mixer but have started doing it by hand as it really doesn’t need much in the way of up-front kneading.

Brian Lagerstrom came up in another thread. Here’s a video where he makes a dough and describes 3 ways to use it (as annotated in the one-box pic) but the neat thing about this is he also shows 3 ways to do the initial mixing - stand mixer, FP, and by hand. He doesn’t use the gadgets to do any of the kneading, instead he hand-shapes, rests, and does a couple of what he calls “slap and fold”.

This dough takes a 6-24 hour fridge ferment. He’s got another that was either for pizza or just regular bread that has a minimum 24 hour fridge ferment. If I can find it, I’ll post it.

This one below is bread bowls and cheddar broc soup. I’m making it now. The total resting time for this dough is 3.5 hours, broken into several phases with slap-n-folds in between.

Edit - not quite what I was thinking of, but this thin-crust recipe calls for at least 24 hours “but preferably 3-4 days”.

Her method seems pretty standard. You’re supposed to have different-sized pieces of fat. She is wrong about acid weakening gluten. Acid strengthens gluten until the ph gets below a certain level. A tsp of vinegar is not enough to bring the ph down to the point where gluten is weakened. Though I think a lot of the confusion is that gluten is made up of gliadin and glutenin, and there are different qualities at play. On the one hand you have extensibility and on the other elasticity. So if the dough is less elastic and more extensible or vice versa, has the gluten been strengthened or weakened? What exactly is it people mean? In any case, the value of vinegar in pastry doughs is usually in making the dough easier to roll without springing back. It’s why you see it in doughs like strudel.

I use the FP for mixing cheesecake batter (better than a mixer for this), making some bread doughs (pizza, bagels) , udon noodles (which traditionally are kneaded by feet due to how tough the dough is), alkaline noodles, and lots of other things, so it does have plenty of uses beyond pie and tart dough.

I have been very happy with my cheesecake filling in the mixer. I wouldn’t think about doing it in the FP (but perhaps our ingredients are way different), although I do use mine for processing the graham crackers.

When my full size FP died, I replaced it with a mini because I never used the discs, and it did a pretty poor job on small quantities (which is what I usually need). Used to use it for falafel and meat, but have a food grinder now which works much better.

I also have a Vitamix now which is better for purees, flours, salsas and sauces, nut butters and milks, dressings, etc… so my only need for the FP is graham and bread crumbs… and occasionally large amounts of minced aromatics/veggies which I rarely need… plus I always get way more consistent results from a knife, so not really a fan of the FP (in any size).

I have had great results from the mixer with all breads, pizza dough, pasta, muffins, and literally all doughs/batters. I have seen many “new method” vids/recipes online for the FP, but my guess is this is based more on the assumption that most of their audience have a FP, but not a stand mixer.

Food processor doughs have been around a while. It’s hardly a new trend. The reason for the FP doughs is because the food processor can get full gluten development in a fraction of the time a mixer can, with less oxidation. So it was a matter of preferring the FP to the mixer. There are also doughs that tax the average mixer too much. If you know KA’s stance on bread dough in their mixers, then certain doughs are an absolute no-go. You can ignore it, but expect to replace gears (been there, done that). Those doughs are done in under 2 minutes in a FP.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessary, but if one wants a food processor, it is more versatile than just pie dough.

As for cheesecake it gets cream cheese super smooth even when straight out of the fridge and incorporates less air into it than a mixer typically does, which is a plus for a dense custard like cheesecake. It’s also nice to simply make the crust (which btw I never know why they call for melted butter when a FP will get you crust even if you take the butter straight out of the fridge) and then just giving it a quick wipe and making the filling there too.

I am not sure where you get that from. You have little to no control over the speed and my experience has been the high speed blade whips way more air into the filling than a low speed paddle, resulting in cracked cheesecakes.

Again, our ingredients may be very different so YMMV.

I chose KA because it is totally analog, and parts are available everywhere, as is step by step instruction for replacing them. When my FP died I had no choice other to send it into the landfill.


And there’s many more to corroborate this. I mean I’ve done both and can see the difference. I also use my hand mixer for most everything these days rather than the stand mixer and the FP produces less air than even the hand mixer. If you’ve ever whipped cream in a food processor you can see this pretty easily. The resulting cream is thick and noticeably denser than cream whipped with even a hand mixer and beaters or immersion blender. Actually that’s another use for the FP I really like— thick, stable whipped cream frosting, particularly flavored with freeze dried fruit. You do not get the same result whipping with a mixer.

As you said, you have a Vitamix, which for me is an unnecessary piece of kitchen equipment, but obviously does a lot of similar things to a FP, so I can see why you find no use for one and that we see the utility of certain things differently. I was just pointing out that the FP can be preferable to a mixer for more than just pie dough.

Hopefully you and I can just agree to disagree. I prefer airy whipped cream, but that is done with the whisk, and not the paddle as previously referred to.

And BTW, my cheesecake filling is an order of magnitude smoother looking than the cheesecake you linked to on ATK (and I’ll try and ignore my feelings about the expertise offered there).

I get you love the FP. But to me, it is designed to process large amounts of food where you aren’t really concerned about its texture or appearance.