New, disappointed Bosch Universal Plus Owner
Okay, first off, I don't have an axe to grind. I'm proud of my German ancestry, love German engineering, drive BMWs, own and love my Bosch dishwasher and Bosch superautomatic coffee machine. I ordered the Bosch Universal Plus because I am an avid bread and pizza maker and got tired of mixing multiple batches of dough in my Kenwood K800 for many-loaf bakes and for pizza parties. (Last year I built an outdoor, wood-fired oven for these big bakes and parties, the most fun project I've ever undertaken, but that's another story.)
For mixing needs for this fun hobby, I progressed from the KitchenAid Professional (dislike KitchenAid intensely, replaced several broken gears over time. When I once called Kitchenaid to complain of the wimpy nature of their mixer, I was told by their customer support that I should stick to the recipes in their booklet and abandon the "machine-stressful" recipes from Maggie Glezer, Joe Ortiz, Peter Reinhart, etc.) to the Kenwood, and finally, after watching some nice demo videos, last month ordered the Bosch Universal Plus from an online store.
The Bosch has filled my need for large batch mixing just fine. But, and here's my big butt, I can't hide my disappointment at the poor performance of the Bosch with small batches of high-hydration dough. I know, I know, the warnings were there to be seen in these forums, if I had only believed others who expressed this same complaint, but I think I couldn't quite bring myself to believe a mixer would be so narrowly focused to big-batch mixing. For example, there is an excellent recipe on this Website, "Rustic Ciabatta Pizza", that calls for 250 grams of flour in a pretty wet dough. As you stare down through the plastic top of the Bosch at the dough from that recipe lying comfortably on the bottom of the mixer bowl, with the mixer arms kind of waving overhead and occasionally giving the dough a tickle, you're left with the question, "what do I do now?". In my case, I doubled the recipe. That's still not enough material to get the mixer arms involved!
After a little more experimentation, I find I cannot get decent mixing/kneading for any high-hydration recipe under 600 grams of flour. I have quite a few recipes that fall in that range, and they simply won't mix and knead worth a darn, and I have to lug out the Kenwood K800 with paddle attachment. I'm glad nobody answered the Craigslist ad I submitted for the Kenwood. Before someone asks, yep, I tried the Bosch batter beater attachments. The beaters did little better with the Rustic Ciabatta recipe, still leaving 10-20% of the dough untouched. I'm afraid to try them with bigger, stiffer batches. Small, drier dough recipes work better, allowing the dough to form up and be bashed about by the mixer arms.
So, I'm going back to the Kenwood on my swing-out stand, and I'll save the Bosch for the big parties and bread batches, but spending $400+ for a machine with such a glaring weakness was a poor purchase.
Thanks for a chance to rant, I hope I save others some disappointment.