The Fresh Loaf

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Bosch Universal Versus Compact

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andychrist's picture
andychrist

Bosch Universal Versus Compact

So in research preparatory to choosing between Bosch's gargantuan Universal Plus and its svelte Compact sibling, I chanced upon the words of one reviewer who thought the latter did the better job in terms of quality of the finished product, irrespective of batch size.  He believed this was due to the superior, planetary mixing action of the Compact, as opposed to the continuous unbroken motion of the Universal. Anybody here with experience on both platforms care to chime in?  (Of course, now I'm wishing Bosch would release a Compact Plus, the about the same size and power as the Universal but with the overhead design of the Compact — wouldn't that be sweet!)

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I am pretty familiar the Bosch product line, and don't think the Compact has any great advantage over the Universal in terms of finished dough, though to be fair, I never did any back to back testing.  IMHO. the Compact has a clear advantage in being able to knead troublesome dough that in the Universal ends up wrapping around the center column.  By troublesome, I mean very high hydration or very small amounts.  Bosch actually made something better, IMHO, called the Concept, but it never caught on.   It has some great pluses, the machine part would fit in a regular kitchen drawer,  and it had an electronic controls.  The minus is that it has a novel, and very complex transmission that uses plastic gears, and tons of ball bearings, and when abused, like sticking a spatula through the beaters, can self destruct.  On the plus side, if you get both sets of dough hooks, the European, and the American, you are pretty much set to go because the American set looks just like the Universal, though actually it is even thicker, and while it does not have the overhead drive like the Compact, the European hooks work from the bottom, ( like the fabled ss bowl for the Universal with the hooks on the bottom)., and so it can knead dough that the Universal would struggle with.  You can find the Concept on ebay on occasion, but they can be pretty pricey.  Here are some photos of the different dough hooks for each machine and a write up on how they handled small amounts of dough. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=25855.0

andychrist's picture
andychrist

Yeah, I saw a Concept on eBay but they were asking more than for a new Universal Plus. My Braun K-1000 worked just like that, the dough hooks look just about identical.  Is the stainless steel bowl that Bosch makes now for the Universal Plus still like the bowl for the Concept? You can't see in the pictures and their website is unhelpful. I've even contemplated a new Braun K650 (this US model is kinda crappy in comparison with my old one, which has been updated for the European market now with a SS bowl) L-650 comes with a decent capacity food processor, where both Bosches fall short. But it only has the plastic dough paddles, not the old metal hooks, and can only handle up to three pounds of dough despite its 650W variable speed electronic motor, D'oh!  So might end up purchasing the fugly new Braun as well as one of the current Bosches. Such a waste.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

No, the stainless steel bowl with the dough hook on the bottom for the Bosch is different, it has no center column at all.  I think it is pretty pricey, but I have read it does a great job.  I am sorry to say my favorite mixer now is the Electrolux - Ankarsrum - hard to spell, even harder to justify the cost new, but I got mine used on ebay, and there is no dough it can't handle.  The Compact is a close second,  though it is only 1/4 the price.. 

andychrist's picture
andychrist

 

So then could one purchase a Bosch Universal and order the Stainless bowl to get the bottom-up dough hook mechanism? Perhaps I am not following... Will probably still end up getting the Compact though.  Bet prices will come down again after the winter baking season ends.  But I need a new mixer and food processor now, dang it!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Andy,  I think you will be happy with either the Compact, which does a very good job, or the Universal, which is a little bigger, but again works well.   My point was that for some types of doughs, which I referred to as troublesome, the Compact does a little better.  I have read that the Universal can handle those doughs if you use the bowl without the center column, but the bowl itself costs $169 at Pleasant Hill, though they are out of stock until March, and costs $235 on Amazon, which is a lot, since the Compact is closer to $200 all in.  If you don't think you need the capacity of the Universal, the Compact is the way to go.    While I like the Concept as well, you don't always find it with both dough hooks, the one on ebay right now has neither, and the American dough hook cost about $90, the Euro dough hook is about $25.  Another option it to buy a used Compact on Ebay, they don't come up often, and you have to make sure it has all the parts you need - while sometimes they are priced more than new, occasionally you can find a bargain.

andychrist's picture
andychrist

Yep, my doughs are "troublesome" alright! Mostly whole meal sourdough ryes, no AP, very wet and sticky. Also I tend to whip up batches between three and six pounds, which is on the cusp beteen the minimum/maximum capacities of the Bosch Universal and Compact.  Not considering a Concept at this point, too much of a risk/headache. My other alternative would be to purchase the latest European, 240V Braun K-3000, along with a decent transformer. Because I still have all the parts except for the base from my old K-1000 — pretty sure they are all compatible but will have to double check — I could later auction off all the new pieces that come with the 3000 model that I don't need, possibly recover over $200. This new Braun has a generous food processor, amazing blender, and all the attachments I would ever really need. I know from experience it mixes and kneads all sorts of dough flawlessly. With all those extras and 14 continuously variable speeds (plus pulse) at 950W, kinda beats the pants off either new Bosch. Only trouble is finding that decent transformer, they all seem a bit flakey to me. 

BTW I think I saw the Bosch SS bowl for the Universal at their distributorship for about $135. Didn't figure out S&H but I think those guys don't add anything on to UPS/FedEx.

Thanks again Barry for all your valuable input. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

If you go with the Braun, please start a new post with a review, since others might be interested in that model, especially since you say it does such a good job as a food processor and blender.

andychrist's picture
andychrist

Good idea Barry.  Still have not made up my mind.  Did some investigation into voltage converters, there is only one on the market that I feel would adequately suit the 950W 240V Braun K-3000: The LiteFuze Converting Box 1800 Watt. It is currently only offered for sale by Overseas Electronics, who coincidentally also offer the K-3000 at just about the lowest price, after S/H. Only had three [mixed] reviews on Amazon (where it is no longer in stock.) One Verified purchaser responded that his was still working fine after about two years of infrequent use.  Alarmingly though, LiteFuze products all have exactly the same printing on their faces as is on every other brand from China, so I suspect they are all manufactured at the same plant. :( 

Thus in lieu of a review, for now I'll start a new thread regarding Braun.  Thanks again for your input, Barry, I really appreciate it!