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Can you make dough in a blender instead of a food processor?

Making dough can be a tedious process. It often requires kneading by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Many home cooks opt to use a food processor to simplify dough making. But what if you don’t have a food processor? Can you use an ordinary blender instead? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of making dough in a blender versus a food processor.

The Difference Between Blenders and Food Processors

First, it’s important to understand the key differences between a blender and food processor:

  • Blenders have faster spinning blades that finely puree ingredients.
  • Food processors use duller blades and move ingredients around to mix them.
  • Blenders are better for liquids, while food processors can handle dry and wet ingredients.
  • Blenders have a narrower shape while food processors have a wider bowl.

So while you can make smoothies, shakes, and purees in a blender, food processors are designed more for mixing, chopping, shredding, and dough making. The wider bowl allows you to process large batches of ingredients easily.

Advantages of Using a Blender for Dough

While food processors are ideal, using a blender for dough does have some benefits:

  • Blenders are more common – More home kitchens have an ordinary blender on hand.
  • Effective blending – Blenders are powerful enough to thoroughly mix dough ingredients.
  • Compact size – Standard blenders take up less space than large food processors.
  • Ease of cleaning – Blender jars tend to be simpler to wash than food processor bowls.
  • Versatility – Blenders allow you to make smoothies and other items besides just dough.

So if you don’t own a food processor, a blender can be a convenient alternative for making dough. The sharp, fast-moving blades can adequately mix, knead, and fully incorporate ingredients.

Disadvantages of Using a Blender for Dough

However, there are some downsides to using a blender rather than a food processor:

  • Small batches – Blender jars only hold 3-4 cups of dough, unlike larger food processor bowls.
  • Overblending risk – It’s easier to overmix dough in a blender, making it tough.
  • Motor overheating – Blenders can overheat if run too long, while food processors are made for dough.
  • Difficulty with thick doughs – Stiff doughs like bread may be too thick for a blender.
  • Inability to pulse – Food processors allow pulsing, but blenders mix continuously.
  • Messy flour – Blenders tend to sputter dry ingredients like flour out of the top.

The sharp blades and narrow jar of a blender make it less ideal for processing thick, dry doughs. Food processors are engineered specifically for dough with their wider bowl, duller blades, and pulsing ability.

Tips for Making Dough in a Blender

If you do need to make dough in a blender rather than a food processor, here are some tips:

  • Use a pitcher-style blender with a 64 oz (2 L) jar or larger. Smaller jars won’t hold enough dough.
  • Make dough in batches if necessary to avoid overfilling the blender.
  • Add liquid ingredients first, then dry ones like flour to prevent clogging and sputtering.
  • Pulse the blender initially, then blend continuously once combined.
  • Stop and scrape down the sides of the jar periodically.
  • Don’t overmix – blend just until the dough comes together.
  • Let the blender rest if it begins overheating or slowing down.

With some care, a standard blender can mix most basic doughs like pizza, bread, and cookie dough. Just avoid very stiff, dry doughs that require extensive kneading.

Types of Doughs You Can Make in a Blender

Here are some doughs that blend well in a regular blender:

Dough Type Blend Time
Pizza dough 1-2 minutes
Focaccia 2 minutes
Pie crust 30-60 seconds
Sugar cookie dough 1-2 minutes
Cake batter 30-60 seconds
Banana bread 1 minute
Pancake batter 30 seconds

Softer, moister doughs tend to blend better as they are easier to mix. Breads and cookies may require a couple minutes to fully develop gluten. Batters for cakes and pancakes blend in under a minute.

Types of Doughs Not to Make in a Blender

Here are some doughs that do not blend well in a blender:

  • Pasta dough – Requires extensive kneading that a blender can’t provide
  • Bagel dough – Very stiff dough that blenders struggle to mix
  • Croissant dough – Difficult to make butter layers in a blender
  • Brioche dough – High butter content makes it hard to blend
  • Ciabatta – Needs high gluten formed through kneading
  • Rye bread – Very dense dough doesn’t move easily in blender

In general, lean doughs with very little moisture like bread and pasta dough do not mix efficiently in a blender. They require long kneading times to develop gluten that a blender jar cannot accommodate.

Conclusion

While a blender isn’t a perfect substitution, it can be used to make dough in a pinch. Stick to wetter, soft doughs and batters that require minimal mixing and kneading. Add liquid first, pulse initially, don’t overfill, and don’t overmix. Let the blender rest if needed. Avoid very dry, stiff doughs like pasta, bagels, and crusty bread that call for intense kneading. With some adjustments, a blender can work for basic dough tasks, providing an alternative when you lack a food processor.