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baltochef's picture

Stand Mixers And Bread Baking In the 20th & 21st Centuries

Yesterday's resurrection of a year old thread regarding advice on the purchase of a Viking 7 quart stand mixer brings to light several very critical factors that MUST be taken into account when one is considering the purchase of a stand mixer that will be regularly used to knead bread..

1. How many people do I need to feed bread to on a weekly basis??..

2. How many loaves of bread, on average, will this number of people eat on a weekly basis??..

3. What type(s) of bread(s) do these people enjoy??..

4. Do I ONLY want to, or need to, knead simple, basic white bread doughs on this machine??.. Or............,

5. Do I want to knead ALL types of doughs, from barely sticky to very sticky doughs, and from very slack to very firm doughs, on this machine??..

6. How often, on a times-per-week basis, will I need to use the stand mixer to knead bread in order to feed this number of people the types, and quantities, of bread that they (and I) enjoy??..

7. Even if I feel that at present that I ONLY wish to make white sandwich breads, is there even the REMOTEST chance that I will develop an interest in baking other types of breads that will impose far greater demands upon a stand mixer than will kneading basic white sandwich bread doughs??..

8. Even if I feel that at the present I will ONLY need to bake 1-2 standard size 5"x9"x3" (or smaller) loaves of bread at a time, is there even the REMOTEST chance that I will need to knead, and bake, a greater number of loaves at a time at ANY point in the future??..

9. When I am factoring in all of the data in order to make an informed decision, AM I taking into account NOT just my daily / weekly needs as regards to bread baking; but also my HOLIDAY needs as regards to bread doughs??..

10. Considering my special occasion, and my holiday needs, how many TIMES per year will the demands upon my stand mixer exceed my regular weekly demands??..

11. What increase, percentage wise, over and beyond my weekly needs, will my special occasion and holiday needs place upon my stand mixer??..

12. MUST my stand mixer do triple duty as a tool that prepares cookie doughs and cake batters??..

13. If my stand mixer must perform triple duty, MUST it perform all three tasks equally well??.. Or..............,

14. Will a stand mixer that EXCELS at kneading bread doughs, but that is LESS convenient at working cookie doughs and cake batters be acceptable??..

15. Is there ANY chance that I would consider owning more than one stand mixer; one mixer that excels at bread doughs, and a second mixer that excels at cookie doughs and cake batters??..

16. If desserts play an important role in my baking needs, am I willing to ACCEPT the limitations that stand mixers which excel at cookie doughs and cake batters will have when it comes to kneading bread doughs??..

17. How much money do I realistically have to spend on a stand mixer(s)??..

Before Hobart brought the first Kitchen Aid stand mixer to market virtually ALL American home cooks kneaded their bread doughs by hand..It was not until the 1980's and 1990's that stand mixers capable of kneading bread doughs other than standard white sandwich breads became commonly available; and began to show up in the average American home kitchen..Serious bread bakers have been purchasing the Magic Mill Electrolux DLX mixer since the 1960's..This was especially true within the Mormon community, which was where I first saw a Magic Mill mixer and a Vita-Mix blender sometime in the late 1970's..

Kneading bread doughs imposes a far greater demand on the mixer's electric motor, and it's drive mechanism, than does making most cookie doughs or cake batters..Very stiff cookie doughs demand almost as much from a stand mixer as do bread doughs..

AS I have stated before here at TFL, most electric kitchen appliance failures that I have witnessed during my 54 years on this planet are due to the ignorance, and or willful stupidity, of the user..NOT knowing (or not caring) when to STOP, and to turn the appliance off before it overheats and incurs damage is the reason that 99% of all electrical kitchen appliances fail..In only 1% of all cases is a manufacturing defect responsible for these failures..

If I was going to pass along a recommendation for what mixer to purchase for a baker that wanted the best of both worlds, I would recommend the following..

Used primarily for bread doughs, but works OK for other tasks--- the Electrolux DLX 8-qt. stand mixer--(SS 8-qt. mixing bowl, fluted roller, scraper, dough hook, spatula, seperate white plastic bowl, drive spindle, and twin wire whisks)..

Used primarily for cookie doughs and cake batters, but works well with 1-2 loaves of breads, especially the less sticky doughs---a used, in good shape, Hobart-era, Kitchen Aid 5-qt. stand mixer (with new SS 5-qt. mixing bowl, paddle, whisk, and dough hook)..

Based on my experiences with 5 different Hobart-era KA stand mixers in various restaurant settings; I feel that a used Hobart-era KA stand mixer is a better choice than the newer models..Both era KA mixers are loud, but the post-Hobart mixers are much louder than ther Hobart-era counterparts..The machined metal gears in the Hobart-era mixers far exceed the reliability, and durability, of the plastic gears and housing in the current KA mixers..

If one is not going to regulary exceed 2-3 loaves of bread doughs, then all of the other mixers other than the DLX will do a bang up job..It is when they exceed the 2-3 loaves amount of doughs that bakers start to incur trouble with the majority of these mixers..Even the Bosch, which in theory should perform nearly as well as the DLX mixer, seems to have some quality control issues..The mixer with the fewest complaints, hands down, is the Electrolux DLX..Which kinda stands to reason when one takes a look at the prices for the other stand mixers compatred to the DLX..


Below is a rundown of most of the various stand mixers available for purchase here in the United States..This is by NO MEANS a complete list..Fairly complete, but not fully so..

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers  These prices are taken off the KA Web Store, lower prices may be out there to be found..

4.5 Qt. Tilt-Head Mixers--Classic, 250w motor, $199.99 (white)

                                    Ultra Power, 300w motor, $269.99 (3 colors)

                                    Cook for the Cure Ultra Power, 300w motor, $249.99 (pink)

4.5 Qt. Pro 450 Bowl-Lift Mixer, 300w motor, $289.99 (black)

5 Qt. Tilt-Head Mixers--Artisan, 325w motor, $299.99 (24 colors)

                                 Artisan, 325w motor, $229.99 (Mango color only at this price)

                                 Custom Metallic, 325w motor, $499.99 (3 finishes)

                                 Cook for the Cure Artisan, 325w motor, $299.99 (pink)

5 Qt. Bowl-Lift Mixers--Professional 500, 325w motor, $299.99

                                Professional 5 Plus, 450w motor, $319.99 (7 colors)

                                Professional 5 Plus, 450w motor, $289.99 (Caviar brown color only at this price)

                                Commercial 5, 450w high-torque motor, $429.99

6 Qt. Bolw-Lift Mixers--Professional 600, 575w motor, $399.99 (12 colors)

                                Pro Line, 575w motor, $399.99

Blendtec 5 Qt. Stand Mixer, 1000w motor, $299.99

Bosch New Universal Plus 6.5 Qt. Stand Mixer, 800w motor, $439.99-$469.99 (depending which accessories one decides to purchase w/ the mixer)

Bosch Compact 4 Qt. Stand Mixer, 400w motor, $149.99

Cuisinart 5.5 Qt. Stand Mixer, 800w motor, $299.99

Cuisinart 7 Qt. Stand Mixer, 1000w motor, $399.99

DeLonghi 5 Qt. Stand Mixer, 780w motor, $349.99

Electrolux DLX Assistant 2000 8 Qt. Stand Mixer, 600w, $599.99

Hamilton Beach Commercial 7 Qt. Stand Mixer, 800w motor, $429.99 (machined gears)

Viking Pro 5 Qt. Stand Mixer, 800w motor, $444.99

Viking Pro 7 Qt. Stand Mixer, 1000w motor, $549.99

Waring Commercial 7 Qt. Stand Mixer, 850w motor, $454.99


As the above list indicates, to the uneducated consumer with little to no knowledge of electric motors, and or engineering, there is a WIDELY varying difference in the specs for what appears to the casual glance to be fairly similar appliances..One could take 10 electric motors all rated for 1000 watts (approximately 1 horsepower), and if those 10 motors were all installed in the exact same appliance, and if that appliance were used to perform the exact same task 10 successive times; then 10 widely varying results would in all likelihood be obtained..The prices for those 10 electric motors could vary by as much as 10 times the cost from the least expensive to the most expensive..This is why it is so very difficult for the home bread baker to decide how much they are going to spend on a stand mixer..

Going strictly by the specs listed above, the fairly obvious conclusion would be that the Blendtec 5 Qt. stand mixer with its 1000 watt, claimed 1.4 horsepower, electric motor would be the hands down pick for any discriminating consumer..However, the specs for the Blendtec mixer are misleading..It is by no means as powerful and efficient as the 600w motor powering the Electrolux DLX mixer..

Two things to keep in mind are the QUALITY of the electric motor in the appliance taken in conjunction with it's wattage rating..A 1000 watt motor is fully capable of being out-performed by a 500w-600w motor that is of much higher quality..The price of the motor is often the determining factor in what motor is chosen by a manufacturer when designing the appliance..

Another thing to keep in mind is the means by which the power and torque of the motor is transfered to the tool that actually kneads the bread..The Bosch and Electrolux mixers transfer their motor's power to a short spindle that the bowls of these mixers interface onto..The Bosch mixer uses a drive belt to transfer the power from the motor to the drive spindle..I believe that the Electrolux DLX also uses a belt to drive the spindle, although I cannot find any reference on the net to confirm this..A call to Pleasant Hill Grain, where I purchased my DLX, could neither confirm, nor deny, the existence of a drive belt in the DLX, although their tech person suspected that the DLX is driven by a drive belt..This contradicts my earlier beliefs that the DLX was a direct-drive connection from the motor to the drive spindle..I believe that I hay have been incorrectly stating things as regards to the DLX's power transmission methodology..

Most other stand mixers use less efficient means of transfering the power of the motor to the tool(s) doing the actual work..This is why so many of these mixers need more powerful motors in order to compete against the Bosch and Electrolux mixers with their much higher ratios of power transmission..




calliekoch's picture

Great Sourdough Article in The Independent (UK)

I came across this article today. It has good history and basics of sourdough:

dausone's picture

Refreshing and storing Reinhart's barm sponge starter

Ahoy! So here it is, my first post here on tfl and it coincides with my first attempt at sourdough, which is no surprise, so please forgive the naivete.


I have a couple of questions regarding the refresh and storing periods of Reinhart's sourdough barm sponge on pages 74 and 75 of Crust and Crumb. Reinhart instructs that you feed your barm every 2 days and he also says that just after feeding the starter you let it ferment at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours, depending on climate, then refrigerate overnight before building it into dough. But if I am not going to be building dough for a few days do I just leave the starter in the fridge and take it out in 2 days for my refresh, again letting it ferment at room temperature? If so, do I have to let the starter come to room temperature before feeding or can I just feed straight out of the fridge?


I know the answers are probably right in front of me but I would feel a lot more confident going into this with some concrete yes or no's from those who have mastered this process. Wish me luck and thanks for the comments and suggestions in advance!



Let This Night Explode's picture
Let This Night ...

Steam-injection for a Conventional Home Ovens

Steam-injection for a Conventional Ovens.

Finding yourself a piece of red clay quarry tile is one leap toward great bread - but what about the steam necessary for the beautiful crust?  have any of you professional bakers found cheap (or every moderately costly) meathods of converting Aunt Ann's oven into a aristan bread factoy?  I'm a professional baker and have been for a number of years, so this is a power I know how to use and use well. 

I'm trying to find a way to bring those great products home with me


hansjoakim's picture

There is a light that never goes out

Hi all,

It's been a while since I posted something here, so I thought I should put up some photos I've taken of stuff I've hauled from the oven over the last month or so. I've been occupied with the bread and pastry books by Friberg and Suas, so all of these recipes are taken from those sources.


I've baked most of the sourdough breads from ABAP, and I've found the sourdough rye and sourdough multigrain to be excellent breads. I've made a variation on the rye twice - first as a boule:

Sourdough rye

... then as a batard:

Sourdough rye


Here's the crumb of the batard version:

Sourdough rye

This is a very nice, well balanced base recipe for a filling everyday rye. The versions above are approx. 55% ryes, mostly whole rye. Curiously, this rye is made with a stiff white starter, so the flavour is very mildly sour. In the above loaves, there is about 0.3% fresh yeast, so the loaves are bulk fermented a good 2 hours, and given a final proof of just under 90 minutes. There is a delicious rye flavour to these loaves! As I said, I find the recipe to be a great "base" recipe for adding in other things as well - I added caraway and anise seeds to the batard above, and I'll be making this again with other seeds and some whole grain soakers in the future.

Below is a photo of the sourdough multigrain from ABAP - also a terrific formula. Here enjoyed with herring, a fresh salad and sour cream.

Sourdough multigrain



My freezer's been out of croissants for months on end, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to get my act together and haul out that butter block from the fridge! I used the simplest croissant recipe from ABAP (i.e. no preferments or sourdough), but gave the dough an overnight retardation in the fridge during bulk fermentation. The dough came out relaxed and easy to work with.

I'm using three single turns during lamination of croissant doughs, and this time I formed ordinary croissants (since I'm making these so rarely, I wanted to practice shaping a bit). After a few minutes in the oven, and the melted butter scent is filling the apartment, it's time to crank out that victory beer I've been saving:

Croissants in the oven


I was very happy with how these turned out - as full and rich in taste as any croissants I've made before with a preferment in the dough, but this time with a much lighter interior. I couldn't get a decent photo of the interior cross section, but it was incredibly light and fragile, almost like a spiderweb by the look of it!


Layer upon layer upon layer upon... yum...




Easter time is the season for oranges where I come from, so I candied some peel from oranges I had and put them in cream scones together with dark raisins. A real treat!


I like my scones very cake-like (I hate those hard, chewy bricks I sometime get at the store... never again!), so I just blend everything together in a bowl (by hand or using a rubber spatula), before gently pressing the sticky mess into a springform. Slice, wash and bake! I cream washed these before putting them into the oven, so they came out a bit paler than cream scones with a proper egg wash.


Still good for breakfast, though.


After pulling those croissants off, I wanted to take things two turns further, and opted for a go at the puff pastry dough from Friberg's book. I've only done croissants three times before and never any puff, so this was definitely an eye opening experience. A massive chunk of butter where gently incorporated into a shaggy dough, and given five single turns. After the final turn, I rolled the dough gently into a rectangle 2-3 cm thick. In the photo underneath is about 2/3 of the dough (the other third was in the prepping stages of some puff pastry diamonds - more on those below) wrapped in cling film. (By the way, if anyone has made the puff dough from Friberg's book, and you don't mind, would you send me a message? There are some things in preparing the butterblock that I'd like to clear up!)

Puff pastry dough


As I said, this was my first experiment with puff dough, so I had no idea about the powerful punch this stuff packs when it gets into a steaming hot oven. Check out the oven spring:

Puff pastry diamonds

If there only could be a way to put 243 layers of butter into that rye dough... I used 1/3 of the puff dough to make some puff pastry diamonds with chunky apple filling and some with pastry cream (not shown here).

Puff pastry diamonds


Finally, for something a bit different - I'm not much of a cake baker, but I'd really love to learn how to do it properly. I've only made one layered cake before (a simple lemon curd cake), so I picked one of the simplest layered cakes in ABAP, an Opera cake. The Opera is typically made from a biscuit viennoise or a joconde sponge base, which is cut and stacked alternately with coffee buttercream and a chocolate ganache. A strong coffee soaker adds to the caffeine rush of this cake. Do not eat it on empty stomach. Or if you are pregnant. Or if you have a heart condition.

I used the recipe for the joconde sponge from Friberg's book (finished sponge, messy bowls and working notes below), and took the rest from ABAP.

Joconde sponge

I can mix a decent buttercream and form an edible chocolate ganache, but for me, the challenge is always in putting the many components together in something that you'd like to serve other people...!

Although my cake is a far cry from this sexy slab of Opera, I was still quite happy with how it turned out:

Opera cake

The layer breakdown:

Opera cake

LindyD's picture

Is your sourdough starter old and ugly?

You could always try this.

Courtesy of PJ Hamel and King Arthur Flour.

fsu1mikeg's picture

Bought some Italian flour--Now What?

I wasn't planning on it, but I just happened to come across some important doppio zero flour at the farmer's market.  At $1.69 for a 1000g bag, I thought what the heck.  I have yet to open the bag, but I know from reading about doppio zero flours that it's very finely milled and not very high in protein.  The bag seems to indicate it's good for cake, bread, and pasta.  I am only interested in using it for bread or pizza crust.  What I am unsure of is how to utilize this flour in a bread recipe.  Does it need to be mixed with a strong bread flour to produce decent bread?  Or is to be used as it is?  The brand is something like Delvededre; the four description is farina granaro tenero (sorry if I butchered that, but I'm going by memory).





ques2008's picture

oh no, not another one!

Hi Folks,

You guys have seen this many times over and I was hesitant to post it, but I really wanted to acknowledge the generous spirit of TRAILRUNNER and MARNI who were kind enough to give me the link on how to make a woven round challah.  This was like a month ago and I finally got around to doing it last Good Friday.  I was quite nervous at first, and the instructions given on the site were rather confusing but I managed to get it right on the second try.  I'll have to do it soon again lest I forget the technique.

I followed the technique posted by Tamar Ansh on chabad dot org, but I took the recipe from triple w sugarlaws dot com for her braided bread recipe.  I find that her recipe seems to have the right proportions because the dough just comes together beautifully.  I've come across recipes where I had to over-knead or underknead but hers was the ideal mix.

So trailrunner (Caroline) and Marni, you did ask for photos, so here it is!

round woven challah


ermabom's picture

How much dough in a pullman pan

I just got a 13x4x4 pullman pan. I made the recipe from KA and it filled the pan perfectly. Unfortunately, I didn't weigh the dough before I put it in. I just tried 23 oz of dough and I don't think it is going to fill the pan. Instead of trial and error, I was wondering if anyone knew what weight of dough is ideal for this pan.  

dmsnyder's picture

San Joaquin Sourdough: another variation

I have continued to play with my formula for what I call "San Joaquin Soudough." This continuing series of experiments started with my curiosity as to whether the baguette formula of Anis Bouabsa could be applied to other types of bread than baguettes. The short answer is, of course, "yes."

The basic approach I have been using is described in detail in the following blog entry: 

The present variation used 10% KAF White Whole Wheat flour, 90% KAF Bread flour and a slightly higher hydration - 76%. The techniques for mixing, fermentation, etc. were as I have described before. So, the ingredients were:

Ripe 65% hydration sourdough starter....100 gms

Water........................................................380 gms

KAF Bread Flour.........................................450 gms

KAF White Whole Wheat Flour...................50 gms

Sea Salt.........................................................10 gms

Instant Yeast................................................1/4 tsp

The combined effect of the different flours and the higher hydration was to yield a dramatically different bread with a much more open crumb structure - really ciabatta-like.

Now, I did bake these loaves under an aluminum foil roasting pan for the first 12 minutes and then for another 18 minutes uncovered. The oven spring was massive. My scoring was obliterated. Examination of the crust coloration of the bloom revealed that the bloom occurred very early in the bake and very rapidly. (The coloration was even and not different from the rest of the crust. See my Scoring Tutorial in the TFL Handbook for further explanation.)

With the higher hydration and covered baking, the crust softened quickly during cooling. The crumb was like a good ciabatta - very tender yet still chewy. The taste is very mildly sour, even on the day after baking. It made a delicious sandwich with Toscano salami, Beaver Brand Sweet Hot mustard and lettuce. (Sorry, Mini. It definitely would drip mayonnaise in your lap.)

This bread presented me with a number of surprises, but I'm far from disappointed. I'm happy to have a "new" bread in my repertoire.