The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Which stand mixer should I buy next? Help me spend my $$$!

lisacohen's picture
lisacohen

Which stand mixer should I buy next? Help me spend my $$$!

Hi there,


Well I just found out about this site and can't believe how much information is here and I can't wait until later tonight after I tuck the kids into bed so I can wander around and check everything out!!!


I'm posting because my KitchenAid stand mixer just died during a double batch of dough that I was making for some recipe testing work that I was doing (on level #2). I've had it for 11 1/2 years (I remember because I got it as a wedding present)... it's been great and I am so sad to see it unusable (I haven't tried to get it fixed.. maybe this is an option - but I'm thinking that there has to have been some advances in the last 12 years that I could take advantage of). I'm not sure my KA stand mixer's time was coming anyway or if it's been the amounts of dough that I've been asking it to handle lately. But either way I'm looking for a new stand mixer.


I was wondering if I should go ahead and get another KitchenAid and if so which one, or if I should go with another brand. I searched on the forums the threads I found were from 2007 so I thought I'd post here just in case some newer models have come out that are highly recommended. I want one mixer than can handle heavy duty double batches of dough, whole wheat doughs, as well as just one batch of dough, and also small amounts like cookies, pancakes, brownies, etc.


I guess I should also not that I already have the pasta attachment for the KA that I love since it rolls out fresh pasta so easily.


Thank you in advance for any suggestions that you may have.


Lisa


http://lisacohen.typepad.com

pigreyhound's picture
pigreyhound

Lisa,


     I am in the same predicament, so I hope you get some replies!  My KA is dying and I was thinking I would just get a larger KA.  I have the 4.5 qt, but thought I would buy the 6 qt.  However, I would love to get more feedback from bakers on other mixers.

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I can't comment on it's longevity. I've only been using it for bread for maybe 6 months. If you know its limits, it does a good job. The specs claim up to 14 cups of flour, but there is no way I woudl try that in it. OTOH, for most of us, that is a ton of bread (Most basic recipes I know are like 3-5 cups of flour, and when I need a bunch of bread at once, I just do multiple batches). I seem to recall Cook's Illustrated rating it as their favorite stand mixer.


 


The smallest Hobart should be built like a tank, but it is much more expensive (as in, burn up like 4 kitchenaids expensive)


For bread, many folks seem to like the Electrolux or the Bosch, because they have higher torque motors and can do huge batches of dough. I'm not sure, however, how they do for other things *say whipping cream) or small quantities of stuff (I'm not saying they can't deal, I just don't know).You might search on both of those, they are often talked about here.


 

janij's picture
janij

Go to their site.  I would get a DLX- Electrolux.  I got one for Christmas and am EXTREMELY hapy with it.  It makes larger batches of dough than the Kitchen Aid will.  It is so much quieter than the KA's as well.  I still have a 6 qt KA, but I got the DLX because I was nervous about blowing this KA up.  I blew up my 5qt a couple yrs ago.  With that said, look at the Bosch as well.  My sister in law has one is extremely happy with it.  It is cheaper than the DLX.

davidm's picture
davidm

I have the 6 quart KA mixer, and it does what I need without any trouble. I just mixed a double sourdough batch (4 loaves, 3 lbs flour plus a 16 ounce mixed soaker) and it managed just fine. This is about the upper limit of its capability though. Any batches bigger than that I have to do in two bites. This works perfectly for my style of working, but if I were regularly baking much larger volumes then I might wish I had something bigger.


Lisa, there are more powerful mixers from other makers out there, but then, as you say, you won't be able to use your pasta widget. I'm in the same boat, as I have the meat grinder and the grain mill attachments, and like and use both quite often.


I  should add that the KA warranty and service people are pretty darn good, they stand by their products without any hassles, at least in my experience.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

For me it is the DLX. 8 pounds of dough is no trouble from French to bagels it doesn't even groan. Easy to load, easy to clean.


I suggest you search this topic or bosch vs DLX but here is a good thread.


Be sure to read the last post from Mike Avery who is a frequent contributor here and baking instructor himself. The many folks who have KA stand mixers here have continuous stories of failure and KA isn't helpful when asked about max capacity ratings for firm dough. If you get a DLX or Bosch you will never need another mixer, ever.


Eric

baltochef's picture
baltochef

Any of the currently available stand mixers will do a respectable to outright excellent job on cake batters, cookie doughs, whipping egg whites and cream, etc..It is when the home baker wants to move past 1-2 loaves of soft white bread, to move past single loaves of sticky bread doughs like 100% whole wheat or rye, or to move into making 3 plus loaves of any kind of dough that the average stand mixer starts to show its shortcomings..


Most of the stand mixers being marketed to the home baker simply do not have powerful enough electric motors capable of handling large batches (3-6 loaves) of white bread, or medium size batches (2-4 loaves) of heavier, stickier whole wheat doughs, rye doughs, or doughs with a lot of heavy added ingredients such as flavored chips, nuts, and dried fruits..


Now, before I get 5,423 people writing in saying that my ( place brand name here) such & such mixer, has lasted (place number of years here) so & so many years making (place type of bread dough here) such & such type of bread dough and it has never given me a minutes worth of trouble; allow me to say this..


I am a professional chef that has used all manner of kitchen equipment , both residential kitchen equipment & restaurant / bakery equipment in both restaurant / bakery settings, and in my own, and other's homes..When it comes to everyday light, or what most people would call normal, usage; the brand and the price spent generally does not matter a whole lot..When it comes to heavy usage, brand and the amount spent often matter A LOT..


The rule of thumb when it comes to picking a kitchen appliance is that you have to have an electric motor that is going to be easily capable of handling the largest amount of food that you envision putting through the appliance..The appliance must be designed to process this amount of food..If it is not it will fail in virtually 100% of all cases..It might fail in a single usage, or it might take a while, but fail these appliances will..


In blenders I like the Vita-Mix line, with my personal favorite being the Vita-Prep 3..In food processors I like either a used Robot Coupe commercial processor, or the Cuisinart line..As long as Cuisinart processors are not abused by being over filled they will give decades of reliable service..Cuisinart has processors ranging in size from 1.5 cups to 21 cups..In centrifugal juicers I like the Breville line..In stand mixers I like the Kitchen Aid mixers for cake batters, creaming, cookie doughs, whipping egg whites / yolks, and ONLY for small batches of bread dough that are 60%-75% white flour..For heavier doughs the only mixer that I have used that has never struggled to make heavier, stickier bread doughs is the Electrolux DLX..


I have owned a Kitchen Aid 6 qt. mixer, a Kenwood 7 qt. mixer, and the Magic Mill Assistent DLX 8 qt. mixer..I have used the Bosch and the Viking mixers..I have also used Hobart pro mixers ranging in size from 5 qt. to 120 qt..I have watched bakers use pro mixers that resemble in shape the DLX, with various hook configurations..The open bowl design a la the DLX is definitely where the pro mixer designers are focusing their energies..


In my opinion if bread doughs are a primary focus for a stand mixer, then the DLX with its direct drive motor to bowl design far out performs mixers with the motor cantilevered above the bowl driving the implenment..In the best of both worlds one would own both a DLX for bread doughs, and one of the other stand mixers for everything else..


For myself, I chose to own a DLX for bread doughs, and a heavy-duty hand mixer for those things that the DLX does not shine at.


The key to kitchen appliance longevity is knowing WHEN TO STOP & TURN THE APPLIANCE OFF!!!!!..Some tasks simply cannot be accomplished in a residential kitchen appliance..The motors just are not big enough to handle what many home cooks want to subject them to..I know some otherwise suprisingly intelligent people that are always ruining kitchen appliances because they equate expensive with indestructable..Then, they want, nay they almost always demand, that the manufacturer replace the appliance under warranty..When the appliance was not defective, it was simply abused..Then, they ruin the replacement appliance and go on to bad mouth the manufacturer for poor design, and or quality control..Especially, if they fail to recieve a third appliance for free under warranty..


Bruce

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

And I agree, knowing what you want to do with it is really important for determining what to buy. One point I should have made in my other post- KA flour power ratings only apply to basic white flour, figure less for bread flour or whole wheat, and even less for crazy dense doughs like bagels.

lisacohen's picture
lisacohen

Wow thanks so much for so many responses already!


I know that whole wheat breads will be a large portion of my bread baking (since we're trying to eat healthier... more veggies, whole grains, etc.) and, consequently, bread MIXING so I will definitely take a closer look at the DLX. Can I make small-batch cookies, cakes, brownies, and most importantly my Saturday morning double batch of pancakes for the family (that they then eat for the rest of the week for breakfast) in the DLX as well? I'd rather not have to go out and buy two seperate appliances for this right now if I can avoid it at the moment (both for space and cost reasons - it would be over $1000!)... although I'll have to figure out the pasta machine thing at some other point. I don't want to buy another KA immediately if I can't do whole grain breads in there without blowing another motor. But I don't want to get the DLX if it can't handle some things that I have a weekly need for (whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes - my 7 and 4 year old would revolt if they didn't get their pancakes and I refuse to buy the junk in the freezer section of the grocery store - they aren't made with LOVE, I tell them!). :-D


Lisa


http://lisacohen.typepad.com

xaipete's picture
xaipete

My vintage model, purchased in 1976, has performed wonderfully for me over the years. I did burn the motor out once but I think that was shortly after I purchased it. It's feet deteriorated about 5 years ago but I put on new ones (unfortunately, I chose ones that side and now I have to watch it when kneading to make sure it doesn't walk off the counter like it did once!). I reported problem with the pin sliding out on me when kneading several days ago, but since I took it out and cleaned it (washed a bunch of dark silver gray stuff off of it, dried it, and put it back in), it has stopped sliding out. I am able to knead doughs with over 8 cups of flour and sprouted wheat that I've ground with the meat grinder attachment weighing over 2 pounds with no problems. I have thought about replacing it with a newer model, but it's working so well for me I really can't complain. I've even heard that the color is coming back in vogue!


--Pamela

davidm's picture
davidm

Avocado green, yeah I remember. Harvest gold appliances too. And shag rugs.


And you've heard the color is coming back? Oh god, say it ain't so!


:)

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I have to admit that I do keep it covered with the white Kitchenaid cover!


--Pamela

baltochef's picture
baltochef

Pamela


Your vintage KA mixer was built to much better standards than current KA mixers are..When Hobart sold off the KA division was when the quality started to decline..I have seen KA mixers from the 1970's and 1980's that were used every day in restaurants without failing, although I will admit that restaurants seldom use these machines for bread doughs..They usually turn to a professional mixer, usually a Hobart in the past, for such needs..Now there is Globe, and other manufacturers competing against Hobart..


On a lighter note my three favorite kitchen colors from the 1970's are Burnt Orange!!!, Avocado Green!!!!, and Bronze!!!!!..These were the three defining colors of the 1970's, although I seem to remember a bright Canary Yellow, and an ugly shade of blue sometimes accompanying those three..


Bruce

gr8bskt's picture
gr8bskt

Hi Lisa,


I was in your same exact shoes this past Fall.  (I make WW sammie bread from home-ground grain; pancakes, cookies, etc--just a mom feeding my brood of growing boys).


Bought a Viking 7qt to replace my beloved KA.  Wish I could rewind and avoid that mistake.  Expensive paperweight.


Finally did a last-ditch search here on TFL because I couldn't bring myself to click Buy It Now for the Hobart.  It was that desperate!


My searching turned up rave reviews for the DLX for its construction, durability, delivery on product promises, and versatility.  I was pretty married to the idea of "planetary action", but after watching the DLX video--forget it, just gimme that spinning bowl!  (There's a link posted for the video, just search on "DLX".)  Learning curve is no biggie, and there's plenty of tech support here <smile> if you have a question about how to use it.  Heaven knows that every question I've had has been answered expertly and in no time flat.


I ordered mine from Pleasant Hill Grain (30 day "please use it" guarantee--love them!), along with the attachment set.  We couldn't be happier.  It puts up the most wonderful WW bread dough, wonderful cookies and everything else.  Hub's used the meat grinder for amazing Italian sausage (making chili tonight with bison that I actually need to go and grind up here in a bit), etc, etc, etc.  It does everything I throw at it.  Oh!  Did spaghetti, too, bad recipe (bad cook!), but DLX was a dream.  Granted, I've only had it just over a month, so I'm not your best recommendation for longevity, but I haven't regretted it one second, and I use it about every day, sometimes several times a day, more than I ever used my KA.  Should probably actually get a second bowl now that I think about it...


- Jennifer : )

gr8bskt's picture
gr8bskt

PS--I should mention that I bake our bread once a week, often twice.  I do up a double recipe (3 or 4 loaves) each time:  about 14 C dry (whole wheat medium coarseness from nutrimill) + 5 C wet (give or take) and the DLX doesn't blink (guessing at least 8-10 lbs).  It laughs at double batches of cookie dough.  Awesome tool.  Kids have dubbed it "R2" (as in R2D2), which means it is much-loved here by more than just Mom.  LOL


- Jennifer : )

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

I've only seen a commercial for it (pretty bad one but I won't judge the machine on the poor acting or writing of an ad) but I've yet to see/hear anyone who's had a chance to give it a whirl.


The bigger one is 1000w and 7 qt. and running $550 at Sears.ca


Curious how it stands up to doughs. My little KA Artisan is struggling with the weekly 2-loaf load.


 

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

I've looked at them they seem to use a lot of plastic.  Externally, the case seems to be mostly plastic which I imagine will discolour and become brittle over time.  I'm not sure if it uses plastic/nylon gears but I sure hope not.  I worry about kneading for 10-20 minutes in a mixer that is made of plastic.  Also, given its weight (or lack there of), I cannot imagine it will remain stable while kneading with a high hydration or any other heavy dough.  So, while the bowl may be 7qt, I'm not sure it will be stable kneading a dough of anywhere near the 16C flour capacity they list.

Rodinka47's picture
Rodinka47

I have just purchased a 2013 model. The exterior is all die-cast. I really enjoy using it. As with any mechanical appliance you need to make appropriate adjustments in order not to stress over time the engine. America,s Test Kitchen has given the 5.5 Qt a most recommended, along with the KA 600 Professional. 

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

I should add that I too worry about my little 15 year old KA 4.5...  It seems to struggle a little with some doughs and its capacity is low.  Nevertheless,  it does get the job done for the moment.  Eventually, I think that I'll either find a used 10-12qt commercial mixer or buy an 8qt DLX for kneading.

dw's picture
dw

My first stand mixer was a 5 qt KA.  It did wonderful with small batch doughs; hated ww.  It died twice and repaired twice.  The next step was a 7 qt Viking which I am extremely happy with.  The Viking handles ww, sourdough, and large heavy doughs with ease.  The KA still works, used mostly for cake mixing and corn bread batters.

swtgran's picture
swtgran

Have a small KA.  I had never had a stand mixer, after 33 years of marriage, and thought I might as well take advantage of a $99 price for a new 325 watt one.  It is very pretty but I just could not adjust to having no room to add ingredients without lifting head of the thing.  It can only do one WW loaf without a groan.


I decided I wanted to save energy by making several loaves of sandwich bread at once and freezing rather than heating the oven every other day.  I bought my DLX and love it.  It is perfect for those big jobs, but the bowl is heavy and big for the little ones, even though it does them great too.  There is also a plastic bowl and wisks for cake mixes and what not, that works great too.


Then I saw a clearance price on the 400 watt Bosch Compact on HSN.  It seemed to be a really good price and had extra accessories.  I received it this week and it does a spectacular job on up to 3 loaves of bread.  It is so light weight it can be kept in a cupboard but it mixes smoothly and doesn't hiccup.  I did not even have to scrape the bowl and it was so clean I barely had to wash it.  The bowl is much lighter weight and easier to handle for everyday.


I can see the Compact becoming my daily mixer.  I am pleased that the price was so good and it is a smaller, lighter weight unit. 


If I could only keep one, it would be the DLX.  It can do large and small jobs and it is built like a tank, but I like the smaller job convenience of Bosch Compact.

toyman's picture
toyman

I have a 4.5 qt KA that I started making pizza dough with.  It could make small batches ok, but it was pain when the dough climbed the hook.  So, I started using my Cuisenart 11 cup food processor with a dough blade & dough setting.  It worked a little better but still only small batches.  Then I got into baking bread.  I have a wood fired oven and can bake 6-10 loaves at time, so I started making large batches by hand.  My wife and I would grab our 2 biggest tupperware containers and mix up 7-8# of dough each and go from there.  So, no appliances.  Then I did some research and found the DLX.  It says it can handle up to 15# of dough, but I've only gone as far as 10# (or so).  It seems to have the umph to mix it, but I don't believe the 8qt bowl can contain that much dough.  My DLX from Pleasant Hill Grain, came with the dough hook, scraper, roller, 8qt ss bowl, smaller plastic bowl, & double whisks.  My wife bakes the cookies and is used to her KA, which still works fine, and is sometimes hard to get out of her old ways, although she says she wants to try her cookies in the DLX.  So, where am I going with all this????  My suggestion would be, get the DLX.........and get your KA repaired.  They've been around forever, parts should be available, and it should be pretty reasonable to fix.  Then you can decide from there.  If the DLX handles the small stuff, you can probably get your repair money back selling your KA, or you'll have 2 machines that will do what they are intended to do without fear of breaking!  Good Luck! 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I had have an occasional problem with dough climbing up the dough hook, but pretty much solved it by spraying the top of the hook with pan spray (e.g., PAM). The pan spray limits the dough's ability to climb over the hook.


--Pamela

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

I have three Bosch Universal mixers which I got at various times for good prices on Ebay.


The one I use every weekend is a 1968 model according to a service center (he looked up the serial number).


I use it for cookies, cakebatter, heavy doughs and egg whites.


I also bought the continuous feed grater/grinder and it is used quite often.  Waiting to use the food grinder to make sausage.


If the lady who recommended the Bosch to me didn't live so far away down in Texas, I would kiss her for her suggestion.


Bob

lisacohen's picture
lisacohen

I could KILL my husband (okay not really, but maybe slip a little mushrooms in his burger next time). I put the broken KA off to the side in the garage, where we usually put our donations that we will give to charity, because I couldn't part with it and wanted to see if I could get it fixed locally (and it takes me a longer time to part with certain things than others, obviously) and I just discovered that he threw it away in the garbage this morning and they already came to pick it up! GRRRRRR!


I think from everyone's suggestions here I'm going to get the DLX. It seems like an amazing machine and Pleasant Hill Grain has a good price and SO MUCH STUFF TO LOOK THROUGH... so of course now I've put "research/get a grain mill" and "buy a rice cooker" on my list of things to do and to save for. Browsing around over there is *dangerous* and yet SO MUCH FUN!! I spent the entire night last night browsing this site and PHG!!


Thank you SOOOO MUCH for sharing your mixer experiences. This forum is amazing thanks to all of you who took time to respond. I am forever grateful! And I look forward to sharing many baking stories with all of you in the future... today's batch is challah... mixed mostly by hand since that's what I was mixing up when the KA took its last breath.

Bixmeister's picture
Bixmeister

I have the KA Artisan and the Electrolus DLX.  I like the Artisan for most breads, but when I need more torque as in a stiff dough or if I want to make multiple recipes batches I switch to the DLX.  I use the DLX for making sausage also.


 


That's my $.02.


 


Bix

jlsdc's picture
jlsdc

I have tried to knead the dough several ways using the dough hook as well as the roller attachment. I have watched videos and called customer service. I just don't get the same consistency and density of dough that I get with my Kitchenaid - even though that mixer quits every time in the middle of kneading because the motor can't handle the stiff dough. 

Love the Ankarsrum's quiet motor, design and wide bowel. But because the bowel moves and not the attachments, the dough gets stuck to the attachments and doesn't get kneaded.  

Any suggestions on how to do it differently would be much appreciated. One other note: I used Peter Reinhart's recipe - so I make a sponge first (4 cups flour) and then add another 3.5 to 4 cups more in the mixer.

Thank you!

 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Honestly, the dough IS getting kneaded.  If you don't believe it, make up some dough and add food coloring to half of it.  Put it all in the mixer.  The food coloring dyed dough will SHOW you how well it is kneading.

How long are you kneading it?  10-15 mins is what I've seen recommended for bagel dough in a Verona/DLX/Electrolux/Ankarsrum mixer.