The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixer for a beginner?

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BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Mixer for a beginner?

Hi Everyone,

I would appreciate some advice.  I have both an Artisan and Pro 5 plus mixer sitting in my kitchen (don't know which to keep) and I am going crazy! I want to start baking!


Is the Artisan a bad choice for standard sized bread recipes? I would like to experiment and don't want to be limited re: types of bread but will never need to double a recipe. 


I should also mention I don't anticipate making bread more than 2 or 3 times a month.


Thanks!

will slick's picture
will slick

more power is always better. Its a guy thing.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

IMO, there isn't enough difference in them to judge one as "better" than the other based on their specifications.  I'd select the one that had the operational features (control placement, ease of cleaning, etc.) that best me my needs.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  I think I would find the artisan a bit more intuitive to use but I could get used to anything....


Have you used the Artisan?

will slick's picture
will slick

I could be wrong but my understanding is that the artisan mixer has some plastic parts in the gearing, where the professional series is all metal gears. Also the professional series has a more powerful motor. If you needed to go out and buy the mixer I would agree that for your purpose the cheaper artisan would be just fine. but as you have both and want to keep only one I would keep the one that was more heavy duty.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Thanks for the comments- I had a chuckle at the first one.  I actually have bought both and must return one.  If the physical dimensions were the same I would keep the more powerful one. The Artisan is just easier to manoever around and takes up less room as I don't have much space.  That said, if it doesn't do normal-sized batches or won't let me do certain recipes I don't think I want it.


Re: plastic vs metal, I think it is true, but my understanding is that the plastic is used as some type of protection feature to for the motor (easy to replace as opposed to ruining the motor). I don't know, it could be some marketing ploy and is a feature that makes it a lower quality mixer.  Is plastic always bad?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

BG, rather than reinvent the wheel, if you use the term "KA mixers" in the search bar here, you'll find lots and lots of opinions.  Many love the Artisan, many don't.


I have a two-year old Artisan, use it for up to two pounds of flour (including high gluten flour for bagels), and I've had no issues with it.  


Whatever you wind up with, you need to study the manual and not run the mixer at a speed higher than what the manufacturer recommends, or for longer periods than what is stated in the manual.  In the case of the Artisan, top speed is 2.  I'm convinced that many problems are caused by the operator, not the machine.


You really don't need a mechanical mixer to make great bread.  There are a number of good techniques listed here, such as folding the dough in the bowl, stretch and fold, and the famous Bertinet slap and fold.  


The best way to learn about bread dough is to get your hands in it.


Best of luck with your decision.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Hi Lindy,


I actually have done searches- too many in fact.  As you say there are lots of different opinions...  When it comes down to it, I guess I just have to take a chance and make a decision.  My biggest issue issue is finding a recipe and having to cut it down to make it work.  As you mention, I can always do it by hand but I would like the option of using a mixer I have spent money on.


I will probably keep the Artisan, it will probably do the trick most of the time and the size is more manageable.


BaguetteGirl.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

If you search "Hobart Kitchenaid" on eBay you will generally find quite a few K5s of various models for sale at reasonable prices.  Most are from the 1970s since the older models are collectible, but they still carry the Hobart brand and are quite sturdy.


sPh

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Thanks SPh..I have heard that was an option but haven't looked yet.  Something to consider.

grantmasterflash's picture
grantmasterflash

I've had both the Artisan and the 600 Pro. The only reason I upgraded was because of making dough. The Artisan stressed under 8 cup pizza dough recipes and the 600 professional doesn't break a sweat. It will overheat on a 16 cup recipe though so no matter what that's the limit.


If you're going to be doing dough I'd keep have a bigger mixer, for everything else it doesn't matter.


It looks like though that the only real difference between the Artisan and the 5 Pro is the style. The 5 Pro works more like a 600 Pro with a bowl lift wherease the Artisan has the motor lift. The motor in both seems to be the same. I think it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.


 

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Thanks GMF- I appreciate hearing about your experience.  Not sure I will ever go up to 8 cups for pizza, but I think I may want to do 6-7 c for bread.  Looks like most recipes hover around the 6 c range. 


The motor is actually not the same- one is 325 watts the other is 475.  How much that has to do with the shape of the bowl (narrow vs wide) I don't know.  And as Will Slick mentioed there is that plastic vs steel issue. 

I think it may actually be six of one, half a dozen of the other.  I am spending way too much time making this decision!

grantmasterflash's picture
grantmasterflash

If the latters motor is 475 watts then the decision is made! If I were doing any amount of dough I'd go for the tougher machine without hesitation.


Everything else works just fine with the smaller machine but it doesn't take too much to stress a mixer with dough. The Artisan that I have will do 8 cups but I'm not sure about the longevity since it did strain it.


I guess what I'd do is make the largest batch that you'd make in both and get a feel. I'm guess that the larger mixer wouldn't slow down any with 6 cups but that may be the largest safe size for the Artisan.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

The only hesitation is the room it takes up- not price, not style.  I have little counter and under the cabinet storage space.


I came to the same conclusion re: testing.  The store that sold me the Artisan said they would take it back if it didn't meet my needs.


Really- thanks again for taking the time to help. 

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

I think the problem many people have, is that they just don't believe that the KA can actually work up the gluten in just two minutes, and because of the planetary action, it doesn't have the same smooth look on the hook. But if you just dump it out, and fold it a few times, you will realize that the gluten really is fully worked up. If you let it knead longer than 2-3 minutes, you just start to break down the gluten, and it's all downhill from there. I see recipies that say to knead it with the machine for 20 minutes or more, and they wonder why their machines overheat and quit working.


Sometimes I just let it mix until all the ingredients are mixed, then let it rise for an hour, THEN throw it on the counter and work up the gluten, which only takes a few folds at that point. Not even worth the effort of putting it back in the mixer. If you want big "artisan" holes in your bread, you have to keep the kneading down to a minumum.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Thomas,


Which KA are you using?

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

The Artisan. It's fine for two loaves (900 g flour) of whole wheat flour, which is the max recommended for whole grain. They say you can go up to 9 cups for white flour, but I've never tried that. I have heard that the Artisan is a little better at working up smaller loaves, but not enough to really matter. Most of the time I do just one loaf (450-500 g flour) or even a small loaf (250 g flour), since I prefer a fresh loaf every day.


One thing I would not recommend, is making pasta dough, as the hydration is so low, the dough is very stif, and does strain the motor. But I found you can make pasta dough in a food processor in just a minute or so, it's like magic there.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Thanks again-good to know that 900 g of whole wheat is actually OK in practice.  That should work for me 95% of the time. Probably more important to invest in a scale to "scale" down recipes.


Thanks also for the pasta warning.

grantmasterflash's picture
grantmasterflash

I agree on the pasta dough tip. I make it in my food processor and as soon as it balls up it's ready to be wrapped and rested. There's no reason to make pasta dough in a mixer.


 


 

BjornErik's picture
BjornErik

I've had the Artisan for 7 years and have never really cared for it.  There is too much movement of the head when under any kind of strain and it causes the hinge pin to keep backing out and I have to keep pushing it back in.  Had a K5-A for 25 years before that and loved it, but the motor finally gave out on me so I opted to downsize as the kids had left the nest.  Poor decision on my part.  Had the K5 repaired and gave it to my niece as her family for growing... should have kept it and given her the Artisan.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Just when I thought I had decided...Do you know if the problem with the pin is common?  Does that happen even when you use it with the amounts recommended?

BjornErik's picture
BjornErik

About the only things it doesn't happen with are egg whites, whipped cream and things like pancake batter.  Anything that creates any kind of resistance such as brownie batter, cookie dough and bread dough causes enough movement to wriggle the pin loose.  I don't know if it is a common thing with the mixer or just a fluke with mine.  I knew someone with the the old K-45 model, which was my first exposure to the Kitchen Aid, and that one had a very tight fit without the vibrating head.  Hopefully some other owners can shed some light on whether or not this is an issue with the Artisan.  I suppose a couple wraps with duct tape would hold it in... maybe I'll give that a try.  I've always caught the pin before it has completely come out.  I envision the head falling off and making a big gash in the vinyl flooring and having to replace the flooring.  As a result I use my Kitchen Aid hand mixer for just about everything rather than messing with the Artisan, and use my Bosch for bread.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

What a pity.  I am envisioning broken toes.  It sounds like a defect or something broke and is not holding it in place.  Did you ever bring it in somewhere?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Did you ever report the loose pin to KitchenAid?  They have a pretty good customer service department.


I've had no pins or parts fall out of my mixer, and I use it quite often to mix 2# of high gluten dough for bagels.

jdunivan's picture
jdunivan

There is a slotted screw up in the base that you have to adjust. This will fix the pin moving. You have to turn the unit upside down to get to it.

BjornErik's picture
BjornErik

Thanks!  I turned my mixer upside down and lo & behold there was a loose screw.  I tightened it and the pin doesn't move when I push it... I'll make something substantial in a couple days and see what happens when under a load. 

jdunivan's picture
jdunivan

No problem. Had the same problem.

bobm1's picture
bobm1

Baguettegirl, i have not looked at the preceding comments but i know you will find a wealth of good info and an occasional chuckle there. i have a KA Pro 600 mixer and do not ask very much from it. it went  to KA for repair after failing under light to med., but very regular duty after only a feew weeks.


being the handy sort i inspected the damage and and discovered that the gears were nylon!! looked for parts online and found everything easely and at reasonable prices. long story short, i sent it to ka where it was evauated and repaired for about half the price of new, more was done to it than i thought neccessary. i bow to the 'experts'.


needless to say, it only sees the lightest of loads from now on.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

"...after only a few weeks...."


Was it not under warranty?

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Yes, was it not under warranty?  Also, isn't the all steel/metal issue one of KA's selling points for that mixer? Did you buy it new?

bobm1's picture
bobm1

the mixer was a gift, purchased in 05. my wife bought ka based on reputation and chose the model with the greatest wattage. at that time my job kept me on the road and the mixer spent most of the time in the shelf looking good. when i retired earlier this year i began to bake a bit more often. within a month or so, i started baking every day mixing two or three batches each day. batch sizes between 400g and 800g of dough with hydration rates of 67% and up.


new condition, yes, warranty expired. KA sent very substantial packaging to ship with and handled the repairs in a reasonable time frame.


i moved on to a 20Q globe.

BaguetteGirl's picture
BaguetteGirl

Not impressive I have to say (the performance).  I guess KA did what they could under the circumstances.  Does not intill confidence to say the very least!


Thanks for sharing.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Bobm1 notes his mixer was purchased in 2005.  I've read on the KitchenAid site that they re-engineered the machines within the past couple of years.


Their advertising states:



The Professional 600 TM has a powerful motor that is crafted for commercial-style performance, the direct drive, all-steel gear transmission delivers unyielding power for professional results. The mixer can effectively mix up to 14 cups of all-purpose flour per recipe and produce up to 8 pounds of mashed potatoes. 



I doubt if they would be advertising the all steel gear transmission throughout the Internet and at their own site if it wasn't true.  To do so is false advertising and would put the company at risk of a class action lawsuit.

gardenchef's picture
gardenchef

Hi All


I spent alomst a week perusing different sites researching which Stand Mixer would be best for me. I chose the Viking 5Qt (all metal) from Pleasanthillgrain.com. Prcies pretty comparable everywhere right now (approx $444.), I got free shipping and I'm awaiting delivery.


Regarding KitchenAid I ALWAYS assumed that was the top of the line mixer, the cooking shows all use them ,etc. Come to find out the OLD kitchenaids were workhorses I guess you'd say. However, they are now manufactured by a different company. Don't quote me... but I think the original manufacturere was something like Hobart.


There a many reports on KitchenAid's of oil leaking, services repair requirements at $35-$150 for repair plus shipping. (I learned that by calling service center.)


Fot those of you interested, save yourselves some time and utilize my research. This link brings you to one of many many forums with kitchenaid mixer complaints.


http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/kitchenaid_mixers.html


Who is to say how the Viking will work? My fingers are crossed... I tired to make the most imformed decision and even spent a little more than I had planned. but if it will last 10+ years I will be pleased.


BTW I am not against KitchenAid, I have their professional bar blender (purchased on sale from cooking.com) and it is incomparable to any others I have owned ~ love it!


Have a wonderful day


Cathy aka gardenchef