Dough Hook vs Paddle: Know the Difference and Which is Best for an Amazing Pizza Dough

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Dough Hook vs Paddle? – That is the Question!

The foundation of pizza is the dough. It is where it all starts, and whether you are a beginner or an experienced baker, you undoubtedly have come across the question of dough paddle vs. dough hook. 

Dough Hook vs Paddle

In this article, we will break down the process of making pizza dough and answer that question.

While more experienced bakers probably have a preference already, beginners will find this useful to guide them through one of the essential steps in the pizza-making process.

We will also explore a dough hook alternative because there isn’t always an electric mixer around. The art of making bread and dough has been around for many years, and it is only fair to go back to basics.

Finally, while we will answer this challenge with a particular set of tasks, the purpose is to explore all the options.

We will educate you on how all the methods work and allow you to experiment to see what works best for you so you can be the best baker you can be.

Dough Hook vs Paddle

What is a Dough Hook?

A dough hook is a mixer attachment that is only used for kneading. It looks like a helix (corkscrew form) or a “C” shape. Foods that require a lot of power to combine are mixed using a dough hook.

Dough hooks are typically used for:

  • Pizza dough kneading
  • Bread kneading
  • Combining tough doughs, like cookie dough

What is a Dough Paddle?

A dough paddle is a mixer attachment that is used for mixing dough. Unlike the dough hook attachment, the paddle hook has multiple uses. Including but not limited to mixing cake batter, beating eggs, and mixing frosting.

Dough Hook vs Paddle

What is the Difference between a Dough Hook and a Paddle?

The dough hook is only used for kneading while the paddle is for mixing.

Three Ways to Make Pizza Dough – Dough Hook vs Paddle

Pizza Baking Ingredients

The dough-making process is quite simple when you break it down. We have the ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast, and olive oil. Our goal is to combine them to result in dough we can use to make our signature pizzas.

How to Mix Pizza Dough

There are three methods that we will be discussing:

  • Using the dough paddle
  • Using the dough hook
  • Using your hands

Pro Tip

When over mixing or kneading the dough with a paddle or hood, the dough can become stiff. To fix it, add 1 tsp of water, mix, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Dough Hook vs Paddle

Let’s examine how to use each of them to make pizza dough.

Using the Dough Paddle

First off, let’s look at what the dough paddle does. From Kitchenaid’s help manual, we can see the paddle’s primary purpose is to blend heavy mixtures such as cake, frostings, cookies, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes

Using the Dough Paddle for Pizza Dough

It is recommended that you start with the paddle regarding your pizza dough, especially if you are a beginner. The significant advantage of this will not only incorporate the ingredients better right from the beginning, but it will also get the job done faster.

Pizza Pun

I knew I shouldn’t steal a mixer from work

But it was a whisk I was willing to take.

Dough Hook vs Paddle – Using the Dough Hook

stand mixer dough hook

Going back to the Kitchenaid help manual, the dough hook is doing the kneading; whereas, your paddle is more of a mixer. It is used for yeast doughs, like our pizza, bread, coffeecake, buns, and pasta.

If you are using the dough hook, you should begin by slightly mixing your dry ingredients with the water by spoon or hand, or using the paddle, then moving to the hook. The hook is a slower process, as we will discuss ahead. 

Dough Hook vs Paddle – Using the Dough Hook for Pizza Dough

We recommend using the dough hook after the initial mixing of the dough. Putting in a little more time with the hook will show the care you had for your dough, and in return, you will see the love back when they bite into a slice.

Dough Hook vs Paddle – Using Your Hands

Before there were electric mixers, there were just people. Baking goes back 100s of years, and the real pioneers pretty much had their bodies to do all the work.

kneading dough by hand

Using Your Hands for Kneading Pizza Dough

This method is the only dough hook alternative to consider. The process is the same as the above two. Once again, it just takes a little more time and a lot more effort.

As we will discuss in the next section, you will start with a spoon to mix the ingredients and then work your way into the kneading.

Dough Hook vs Paddle – The Dough Making Process

There are three things we are looking for when we are making pizza dough:

  • Even distribution
  • Activated yeast
  • Development of the gluten

Dough Hook vs Paddle for Even Distribution

To achieve an even distribution of the ingredients, follow the steps below:

  1. Place your dough in the mixer with the paddle, then add your liquid and turn it in at the slowest speed. For the other methods, you can start the process off by using a spoon to mix.
  2. After a minute with the paddle, go ahead, stop the mixture, and let it sit for five minutes.

If you are hand mixing or begin with the hook, it will take a bit longer, around 3 to 5 minutes, perhaps

  1. When you see that the mixture is evenly distributed, stop and wait five minutes just like the paddle method.
mixing dough with paddle

As a side note, remember to keep a little extra water nearby, as you may have to add some if it is too stiff.

Activated Yeast

The yeast begins to activate when the water mixes with it. The yeast will take time to work its magic, mostly in the later stages of the dough process. More importantly, is the last key factor to look out for when making your dough.

Dough Hook vs Paddle for Development of the Gluten

The key to pizza dough has a large part to do with gluten. The two proteins need to mix to form a strong bond, and we begin to see that in the first mixing step of the process and the five minutes, the dough sits.

To make sure the gluten develops, follow the steps below:

  1. After the five minutes, proceed by turning the mixer on one speed above the last. About 30 seconds to a minute is all that is needed with the paddle. If you have moved over to the hook or started with the hook, another 3 or 4 minutes should be good, also at a higher speed.

If you started with your hands, it would be a bit longer, 5 to 6 min, but feel free to speed up also if you like. During this process, you will be using a standard dough kneading pattern of pushing the palm of your hand into the dough, folding once, turning 90 degrees, and repeating the process.

  1. When you are finished with this step, your dough should look well mixed and sticky. Put a little olive oil down on your work area, dab your hands in some water, so the dough doesn’t stick, and proceed to gather the dough up in your hands.

dough window test pane

Give it the window test, stretching it out thin so that the dough is still in one piece but thin enough to let light through. You will notice it’s not quite there yet.

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The Pizza Dough Kneading Process

At this point, no matter what method you used, you should have your dough on the olive oil surface for the stretch and fold process. Our goal is to get a nice firm and bouncy dough. 

To do this, we will use the kneading method where you will barely stretch the dough out on each side, followed by folding each side up on each other. You will then proceed to turn it over and do the same again. You should see your dough looking a little firmer.

Place a glass bowl over the dough and wait five minutes. If it’s longer, don’t worry.

After five minutes, we will take the bowl off the dough and repeat the process (stretch, fold and fold, turn over, stretch, and fold and fold again). Place the bowl back over it.

We will do this a total of four times, waiting for the five minutes between each time. In the end, your dough should be ready to place in the refrigerator or freezer to be used for pizza when you are ready.

Dough Hook vs Paddle – Important Points to Remember

By now, you should have an excellent firm and smooth pizza dough. I’m sure it looks great, but just if you had an issue with your dough or want to be prepared only in case, here are some tips and rules to remember.

  • The paddle will get the job done quicker. You will mix for only one minute at a time.
  • The hook pretty much speeds along the kneading process and is a lot nicer to your arms. You will mix for about three minutes each time.
  • If nothing is available, you use the dough hook alternative; your hands, and the basic dough kneading pattern described above.

Remember, no matter what method you use, you will want to knead the dough by stretching and folding as described at the end of the process.

The hook doesn’t altogether remove the kneading process, but it takes care of most of it.

Issues with the Dough

If your dough is too sticky, you can add a little flour, one tablespoon at a time. If your dough is too stiff, you can add water, a little at a time.

If your dough isn’t forming into a ball, see if it is too dry or too wet, and adjust accordingly with water or flour.

In the end, you will know your dough is done when it is smooth and firm. The yeast will continue its job in the refrigerator, and you’ll be all set by morning.

Check our troubleshooting section for more on pizza problems.

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The Last Slice

We hope that you know now how to compare the use of a dough hook vs paddle in your pizza-making process.

Try all three and see which works best for you.

Did you prefer your pizza with the paddle or hook?

Did you find another method that’s even better than these?

Just keep on baking either way. As long as you put your heart into it, you are well on your way to being the best!

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