The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

KitchenAid

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

KitchenAid

So, I am pondering a stand mixer. Most likely a KitchenAid. The question, of course, is what model?

KitchenAid® Ultra Power Plus Stand Mixer

With a 300-watt motor and 4 1/2-quart capacity bowl, this tilt-head stand mixer delivers the power to mix large batches of batter and heavy dough. Choose from slow stir speed and very fast whip and eight more speeds in between. The 67-point planetary mixing action mixes your dough or batter completely. Features a multipurpose attachment hub. Includes pouring shield, flat beater, wire whip and dough hook. Measures 13.9" H x 8.7" W x 14.1" D. One-year replacement warranty. UL listed. Model # KSM100PSWW $269.

KitchenAid® 5-Quart Artisan™ Stand Mixer

This attractively styled stand mixer is reason enough for you to get busy in the kitchen. With a powerful 325 watt motor, it can handle any task you put to it. The tilt-back head allows for easy access to whatever you're mixing and the 5-quart bowl features an ergonomic handle for comfort. The durable, all-metal construction is built to last. The unique mixing action reaches every part of the bowl. Five rubber feet protect countertop, while helping to stabilize the mixer. 10-speed control. Includes: flat beater, dough hook, wire whip, pouring shield and 5-quart, polished stainless steel bowl. UL listed. Hassle-free replacement warranty within the first year from purchase. Model # KSM150PS. $299.99 

 

KitchenAid® Professional 5™ Plus Series 5-Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer

Mixer has the powerful ability to mix large batches of heavy batter and dough with its 450 watts of power, 10-speed controls, enhanced electronic sensor and Soft Start™ mixing feature. The 5-quart polished stainless steel bowl is ergonomically designed and has an ergonomic handle. Hub cover is hinged for additional attachments. Includes burnished flat beater, burnished PowerKnead™ dough hook and professional wire whip. One-year replacement warranty. UL listed.  $319.99

 

KitchenAid Professional 610 Stand Mixer

No other KitchenAid stand mixer offers more power than our exclusive top-of-the-line model. It can easily handle commercial-size batches of batters and doughs. For optimal aeration when whipping eggs or cream, the mixer has a professional whip with 11 stainless-steel wires that operate 33% more quickly than typical whips. A convenient lift mechanism raises and lowers the bowl. Building on an American tradition that began in 1919, this classic appliance is hand assembled in Greenville, Ohio.

  • 6-qt.-cap. bowl, made of two-tone stainless steel and fitted with an ergonomic handle.
  • Includes a flat beater, dough hook, wire whip and clear plastic pouring shield.
  • 590W, 14 1/2" x 11 1/2" x 16 1/2" high.
  • Made in the USA.
  • A Williams-Sonoma exclusive. $399.95

 

(Williams-Sonoma has a specia deal where you get the grinder or slicer attachment free with KA purchase within the next month or so, fwiw)

 

How much power/bowl-capacity do I really need? I like making whole grain breads and, so far, have done all of my mixing and kneading by hand. Will having a KA really make THAT much of a difference in my life/baking to make it worth it? I admit, I've seen some recipes that call for 30 mins of kneading that have put me off as I don't have a mixer.

JoeV's picture
JoeV

Hmmmm...I've only been baking bread for a year, but in that time I have not seen a recipe that called for 30 minutes of kneading. I would think the final product would be comparable to taking a NY Strip and cooking it to well done. That's got to be some dense bread.

 

I own the 300 watt KA and bake bread weekly. There have been a few times I would have liked to have hte Pro, but I've managed to get by with the smaller machine.

If I were buying a new machine today, and money was not a problem, I would get the Pro, just to make sure I was equipped for any eventuality. If money is a concern, the smaller machine is still a good machine for the average baker. I used mine last week to make 30 loaves of bread in one day...not even a hickup.

Happy choosing.

 

Joe

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I could, truthfully, have mis-read. But I seem to remember it being something of Reinhart's - one of those truly hearty, colon-cleansing breads that have a resemblance to a birdfeeder brick ;)

Money is a bit of an option. I can get 20% off by buying the Artisan model at Bed, Bath & Beyond (and also have some gift certificates there). They don't have the Pro, which is exclusive to Wiliams-Sonoma. Granted, I won't get the free attachment - though I am wondering if it might be worth it to pay full price and get the food grinder or slicer attachment. Hmmm. If you get the Pro line at Williams-Sonoma you can get a free icecream maker attachment, which is the -last- thing my waistline needs!

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I wish I had an answer for you about which to buy, but I have been struggling with that one for so long. You might consider a factory refurbished one to save some money:

http://www.shopkitchenaid.com/sub_category.asp?HDR=outlet&CAT=outletrefurb

 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

If you're going to bake semi-professionally you might want to consider the Professional 610.  Otherwise, assuming you truly want to bake regularly and want a tool that will do all the most difficult tasks for you, I'd suggest the Professional 5.  I spent the better part of a year trying to make a choice from the KA line and ended up seeing the Ultra Plus on sale; so I bought it.  I'm not sorry.  It is truly a good machine.  But it's a little smaller than I'd like it to be, not quite as heavy as I'd like it to be, and for another $125 I could have taken the Professional 5 home from the same sale.

My philosophy is that you will never be disappointed in the performance of a mixer that does more than you ask of it.  But you may find yourself wishing you'd have gone just a little bit higher up on the scale when faced with a challenge that you machine has to struggle with.

And I wouldn't purchase a "reconditioned" anything.  I've worked professionally in retail sales with "reconditioned" appliances and the quality of the reconditioning process depends on which contractor got the reconditioning job.  Quality control isn't as good with some companies as it is with others.  "Factory" recnditioning can mean sometimes mean "factory authorized" reconditioning.  There are good ones and bad ones and I simply wouldn't bother with them.

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Though the price of a Refurb is tempting, I'm the kind of person who likes 'new' things. Maybe it has to do with rarely having had 'new' things ever since I went to college - but there you have it. One of the happiest days of my early adult life was buying my first brand-new car, rather than used, even if it was an inexpensive Scion - which has actually appreciated in value. Scary, that.

I just wish you could test-drive a KitchenAid. Hehe. Maybe Williams-Sonoma will let me bring in some dough and give it a go on the floor model ;)

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I've got a pro 600 (which I think is pretty similar to the 610) and it is a good mixer, but it really isn't up to doing huge batches of stuff, and I think is only good for 1/2 dozen bagels (or so I've heard). You could look at the "FLour power" ratings and see what you need. My understanding is that you should probably divide those numbers by 2 for whole wheat.

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

I just sold my pro 600 and bought a Bosch. The Pro was woefully under powered and struggled with dough batches it was advertised to handle easily. It heats up quickly.  Also, the Pro does not handle other stand mixer jobs well like small wisking batches. In comparison and for a test, my wife and i whipped one egg white successfully with the bosch yet the Bosch will handle 15 lbs of dough.

Don't just buy cheap. It can and should be a lifetime investment.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

One thing to consider when choosing between the bowl-lift vs head-tilt type models is the height of your cabinets above your counter. The bowl-lift ones are taller and if you have low cabinets, they may not fit underneath for storage.

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I have had my Pro for years and love it. My husband got me the red Artisan last Christmas because he thought it would look pretty in the kitchen. I don't buy "man stuff" for him and his projects...don't mess with my kitchen! The pro can do much more ,and with ease. The Artisan seems cheaply made. I use it for my light work.

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I just did a live-chat with one of the KitchenAid Reps. Her advice - go with the big boy.

"Well, our largest model handles about 8 cups of whole grain or 14 cups of white flour.  If you plan to do a lot of mixing and kneading those kind of things, you may want to go ahead and get the larger one."

I'd been eyeballing the Artisan model for a long time, thinking it'd be about what I needed, but no such luck.

"The Artisan is capable of 9 cups of regular flour or 6 cups of whole grain."

In short, I'd kill the Artisan model right quick.

She did make one statement that made me quite curious:

"Our mixers only take about two minutes to knead what you do in ten minutes by hand.  That is why it is important to read that guide and adjust the kneading time.  It really should only take about 2-4 minutes to knead after the ingredients are combined."

 

I've been doing all my kneading by hand, and don't really recall much notes as to differences in amount of knead-time between mechanical and hand-kneading, so I've been hand-kneading most doughs between 5-10 minutes, max. Reinhart's books all seem to be assuming you're going to be using a stand mixer for the most part. Should I be adjusting my knead time for hand mixing, or is it simply that his methods of pre-doughs and long ferments really cut down kneading time?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, SulaBlue.

I have a KitchenAid Accolade (a more powerful version of the Artisan) and a Bosch Universal Plus.

I have found that the kneading times given by both companies are waaaaaaay short. The times given in cookbooks that tested recipes with the same make and model mixer you use are likely accurate.

Bottom line is:

1. Let the dough tell you when you are finished kneading, not the clock.

2. Although manufacturers market mixers as if they are time savers, that is not valid, in my experience. There are other real advantages that vary with personal preferences and the type of mixing for which you want to use the machine.

By the way, if you are planning on mixing large batches of dough, heavy/stiff doughs (whole grain, bagels, challah) or large batches of heavy dough, for sure, you should consider moving to another class of mixer - a Bosch or a DLX, for example. (Just to complicate your life further.)

David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I don't know what the companies say although I probably still have my original KA book, but recipe kneading times are often way off. Peter Reinhart's WGB recipe for Sprouted Wheat bread has you knead if for a couple of minutes (something like that); I knead it for 20 plus minutes. I go by how well the gluten is developed rather than a certain amount of time when dealing with non stretch & fold type recipes.

--Pamela

flournwater's picture
flournwater

"Let the dough tell you when you are finished kneading, not the clock."

If that statement isn't in somebody's bread making book, it should be ...

mredwood's picture
mredwood

Oh yes, I must get my 2 cents in. I bought my pro at bed bath and beyond about 2 years ago. I used my 20% off and was delighted. Within the month I started having "issues" with it. Overheating easily and making unacceptable noise. The customer support people said they would send another, they didn't have my color and they were oos on my next choice color. Customer support was wonderful. Same for my kitchen aid coffee grinder. Back to mixers. The new one overheats but not as quickly. It will not do what it says it will do without overheating. That being said it works wonderful. I use it at least twice a week for bread. If I had it to do over and I had more money Yes I would buy something with more power. But I don't and for my purposes it's fine because it's mine, it works and it's paid for. If you believe sometime in your life you will get something more powerful get the Pro. I say by the biggest, best you can afford. The mixer can do so much more and once you have it you will think of things you can do with it. I know that the specials that are offered are not specific to the dealer. They are KA specials and the forms often are in the box or on line. If it were me I would get a grain grinder with it. They are nice. I wouldn't use a food slicer I have a food processor. Ice cream maker I don't know. I wouldn't want to stress the machine. The pasta maker does a nice efficient job.  

The only other good deal is Costco. A 450 5 or 6 qt. for 279. The good thing about Costco is you usually have 90 days to return it and they never hassle you.

How much you knead will be determined by the dough and feel as others said. 

mredwood's picture
mredwood

Mine is the 6 quart. It will make a dozen bagels. oh yes if you do buy another year warranty. It's about 14. dollars and worth the peace of mind. This is bought from KA on line. Inquire first.

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Well, I just got off the phone with my Mom, and she's been sitting on a boatload of Reward Points on her credit card for years. They make it a bit of a hassle to redeem them if you don't own a computer (which she doesn't), and she's cashing hers in for BB&B gift certificates, so, looks like I'm going to be going with the KA Pro-Line 6-quart. Now, the only question is: flip-top or bowl lift? Is there a difference in performance, or only what fits under your cabinet?

Granted, they sell Cuisineart, but I never hear anyone say anything about them, though they do look to have just come out with a muscle-machine that's the same price as the KA Pro 6-Quart.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=14620451&RN=437

Anyone got experience with Cuisineart?

sybram's picture
sybram

Get the KA 6 Pro if at all possible.  It's my experience that there is NO comparison.  I had a 5 qt and loved it.  I have a large family (22 grands), so it made lots and lots of cookies, etc.  I finally gave it to my DIL and got a Professional 6.  The grandest thing is that the flour shield really works.  In the other one, I threw flour all over the kitchen, even using the shield.  I don't know if it's the deeper bowl or something else, but the flour actually stays inside.  The instructions say 10 cups flour maximum capacity.  I adhere to that if I'm making Sunday dinner rolls with butter and eggs in them, but if I'm making bread with just flour and water, I will go ahead and double a 6 cup recipe without any problem.  My thought is that I'm making up the egg and butter weight with a little more flour.  If my reasoning is off here, let me know, but I haven't encountered any problem doing this.  I feel so strongly about this mixer that I personally would wait as long as need be to save my money to get it.  Happy baking. 

Syb

baltochef's picture
baltochef

As a chef that has used many of the mixers discussed on TFL (sole exception being the new Cuisinart stand mixer) I will go out on a limb and state the following..

The best constructed stand mixer where everyday bread making is going to occur is the Swedish-made DLX mixer..The Bosch mixer I would rate pretty close to the DLX in power, with a few points subtracted for a smaller bowl capacity and overall workmanship..For everyday bread dough making where ALL types of doughs, smooth to sticky, are going to be made, then my nod would go everytime to the DLX..It is the closest thing to commercial quality in a stand mixer that I have experienced that is sold for home consumer use..

The DLX and the Bosch mixers are head and shoulders above the rest of the home consumer oriented stand mixers, which is evident when one looks at their prices..The old saying that "you get what you pay for" holds true for both of these mixers..

The modern KitchenAid stand mixers are simply NOT made to the standards of workmanship that they once were..For the vast majority of users this is a non issue..For serious bread bakers, or for ANYONE that aspires to be a serious bread baker, it should be a consideration..My personal experience regarding the quality of workmanship and durability with the newer KA stand mixers (1 personally owned, 2 used in restaurants) simply does not match up to the experience I have had with the older KA stand mixers with machined gears..The older mixers are quite simply better built machines..Most of the older KA mixers that I have experience with were used in restaurants for small jobs, and were used harder than most home cooks ever will..The older mixers held up very well in these commercial environments as long as they were not abused..The newer KA mixers would not last 6 months in such situations, IMO..

For all-around kitchen mixers the KA mixers are probably the better tool..The paddle and whisk attachments, plus the variety of other attachments that can be easily attached to the PTO (Power Take Off) port, make the KA's more versatile tools..One cannot work with as sticky of doughs, nor the weights of doughs in even the Pro 6 model KA mixers, as one can with the Bosch or DLX mixers..

When I was in culinary school in 1984 we had a Hobart 5-quart stand mixer..It had the same lever to lift and lower the yoke that the bowl rests on as did the larger Hobart commercial mixers, and as do some of the KA stand mixers..It had the 3-speed position switch that the larger Hobart mixers had..The primary difference between it and the Kitchen Aid 5-quart stand mixer of 1984 was in the quality of the electric motor in the housing, as well as the quality of the materials and workmanship, especially in the gears, but also in every aspect of the machine.The KA stand mixers all had the sliding rheostat speed control switch, which many still do..

In 1984 the 5-quart KA stand mixer, which other than the color (the Hobart commercial mixers were all painted battleship gray) and the speed control switch, appeared to the naked eye to look exactly the same as the 5-quart Hobart stand mixer..The price for the KA was roughly $100.00-$150.00..By comparison, in 1984, the Hobart commercial 5-quart stand mixer had a wholesale price of roughly $1800.00..

The KA was designed to be used under light to moderate loads for short periods of time..The Hobart was designed to be used under heavy loads for hours at a time, and under light to moderate loads all day long..The closest thing in today's market to the quality of the Hobart 5-quart stand mixers (still being sold, BTW), are the Bosch and DLX mixers..

Purchase what you can afford, but do not be fooled into thinking that the newer KA mixers have that Old-Time KA quality as when Hobart still owned the KA Division..

Bruce

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think I paid something like $130 for my 1976 avocado green 4.5 qt. KA and it stills works perfectly fine. It doesn't seem to have any difficulty handling double batches of 100% whole wheat bread.

If I ever have to replace it, I might look at commercial machines, e.g., Berkels.

--Pamela

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I fear that I'm not in quite the league most of you here are. I certainly don't buy my flour by the 50# bag (and wouldn't have anywhere to store it if I did!). I really don't plan on baking more than twice a week. Maybe more around the holidays. It's just my husband and I, and as a diabetic I can only eat a limited amount of bread at one time.

That's part of my fascination with whole grain sourdough, btw. Much lower impact on blood sugar than white bread.

baltochef's picture
baltochef

SulaBlue

If you are going to want to bake bread twice a week at home from scratch, than that would make you a serious baker of bread, IMO..If you are diabetic, and whole grains are your emphasis, than this also would make you a serious bread baker, again IMO..One does not have to purchase flours and berries in 50# sacks to be a serious bread baker..If whole grain breads will form the bulk of your loaves, then I would give serious consideration to the Bosch mixer with its direct-drive motor-to-mixing bowl interface..The Bosch is a far better choice than the KA mixers when it comes to heavy, sticky bread doughs..It's just not as nice, nor as well made as the Electrolux DLX mixer..Its bowl is 1 quart smaller at 7 quarts..Which is 1 quart larger than KA's largest mixer..With a lot more torque than a KA to handle heavier, stickier batches of dough..The Bosch costs less than the near $600.00 that the DLX is priced at..

Just my opinion..

Bruce

damnbaker's picture
damnbaker

I tried the Cuisinart with less than satisfactory results.  I had the 7 Qt, 1000W motor model and I went through three of them before i gave up and got my money back.  Two would overheat very quickly and one started leaking oil from the part that you put the attachments into.

I regularly make two loaves of 100% whole wheat bread with a bit of oatmeal thrown in.  Granted it's a heavy dough but the machine advertises that it should handle a whole lot more than two loaves worth of dough.

I'm saving my pennies for a DLX or a Bosch.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

A Hobart made KitchenAid is a wonderful and extremely useful tool for many many kitchen functions however it is not going to knead much more than two loaves of bread.  As for a Whirlpool made KA, I don't think that I would want to own one.

Jeff

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Hobart made Kitchen Aid mixers rock. I own two 5-quart capactiy lift-bowl Hobart-made models. You can find them on eBay for about $100. The problem is, should you buy from an auction site, you don't know what condition they're *really* in, so you should be prepared to take a risk.

As I write, I have about 4-1/2 pounds dough undergoing bulk fermentation. The dough was mixed and kneaded with my Hobart KA mixer. The formula is a sourdough bread at about 67% hydration and the flour mix is 20% whole wheat, 60% "strong" bread flour (about 14% protein) and 20% "regular" bread flour (about 12% protein). This is a dough formula that puts reasonable stress on a mixer but is not unduly stiff. My Hobart KA handled the mixing and and about 3 minutes of kneading (after all ingredients were incorporated) with no strain and no heat build-up in the motor.

I also own a Hobart-era grain mill attachment and a Hobart-era meat grinder attachment for these mixers. I mention them since these attachments put a reasonable amount of strain on the motor. I have used both on a regular basis for over 20 years. My mixers handle the load and the attachments still perform well and show no wear.

==============

Having praised my Hobart-made KitchenAid mixers, I should note that many bakers on TFL who are looking for a versatile and well-made mixer that can handle larger quantities of dough and/or very stiff doughs (such as dough for bagels) seem to favor the Bosh or the DLX.

Ultimately, it comes down to your needs and your price point. A Hobart made KitchenAid mixer in good working order will meet a fairly demanding standard for the home baker and save you $$$. However, I realize that many readers would prefer to purchase a current mixer from a reliable company, rather than taking a "risk" on older equipment.