Grease is the Word

I never thought I would start baking bread again but working from home, isolating from the world due to Covid19, and triple digit heat which prevents me from working in my shop, has left me with too much time on my hands. Yes I’m even making sourdough. My starter culture is a couple of months old so it’s not matured yet but it’s getting there.

I’ve been running our KitchenAid 4.5 qt. mixer more in the last couple of months than I have in any given year since we bought it almost twenty years ago. As you may know, bread dough can put a lot of strain on a mixer and I typically let it run for six minutes with the dough hook per batch (2 – 12oz. loaves per batch).

The mixer has held up really well. Purchased in 2001 for $249.99, it’s seen a lot of use, and a lot of idle time. There may have been a year long period or three where it just sat covered on a counter.

A couple of weeks ago after a mixing a batch of dough I noticed some dark grey grease running down the spindle onto the dough hook. It had also been sounding “fatigued” when I mixed some dough, much more than it usually did anyway. I was afraid that this fine old machine was on it’s last legs, but once again a little time on Google and the YouTube gave me hope that it would survive a little longer.

It turns out that the grease packed around the gears was just old and breaking down. An $8 tube of food safe grease delivered the next day by Amazon Prime, a little elbow grease and it’s running like new again. Maybe I’ll get a another twenty years out of it!

It was messy as hell but worth it. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the process. There are a lot of YouTube videos that show you how to do it covering about every model there is out there. This is the one for my model: