The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Weekend baker machine recommendation

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Weekend baker machine recommendation

I see so many posts about which machine to buy if you're baking enough bread to feed an orphanage on a daily basis.


I only bake on the weekend, a couple of loaves and usually only 3~4 cups flour per recipe. Are there any recommendations of what machine a weekend baker should be looking at? I'm in Canada and the stores are full of KA appliances - starting at about $300 and up. After reading here I'm not sure I want to invest in a KA.....


Any suggestions?


Jackie.

Dawn Hope's picture
Dawn Hope

For the past seven years, I have been using a DLX (450 W) machine. I use Silverton's LaBrea Bakery book for sourdough rye bread. I grind my own wheat and rye and add unbleached flour. I bought the DLX thinking it would handle my heavy dough (usually producing two two-pound boules). The standard roller in the DLX does not move the dough. I purchased the special dough hook which needs my almost constant help to get the dough moving. Quite often the dough will collect around the hook and stay there without moving until I "help"  - which could be dangerous. When the dough hook works, the system is beautiful, but I have to monitor it.


I went from my KA to the DLX to have more oomph. Now where do I go?


 

xrelaht's picture
xrelaht

I have a KA Pro 600, which I got for $220 on Amazon (a steal).  It is fantastic.  It's handled everything I've thrown at it without complaining.  That said, it's overkill, and that's not always a good thing.  It sometimes has to be helped along with smaller batches, because the bowl is so huge that it won't always catch everything.


From your post, I'd suggest a smaller mixer.  I know plenty of people who have the smaller 5 cup models, and they love them.  If you shop around online, you should be able to find one for significantly less than you'd pay in a store (I've seen them for $80 in the past).

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I tried to make a single loaf of rye one day and found that, alas, it didn't do so well kneading such a small quantity of rye dough. I may just need to adjust the setting of the bowl, though, so that the dough hook actually bumps the bowl?

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

When I first read your post I thought you were looking to buy a bread machine.  Then I read the replies and realized you're looking for a mixer? 


If you are using 3 -4 cups of flour in your recipe and only bake once a week, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a mixer.  A good bread machine with dough function will do.  But if you want to experience a dough mixer, I would recommend a Oster Kitchen Center t start.  I am also in Canada and I bought my Kitchen Center in a garage sale for $15.  It's old but works like a horse.  It can handle up to 8 cups of flours at a time.  I make two medium loaves at once and that's over 3 lbs. of fgough.  No problems!


I see them in garage sale or second hand store all the time.  Try your local bargain finder and you will see them surface from time to time. 


I have a DLX yet I still find the Kitchen Center more practical due to the size of my dough.  And I am very proud of my garage sale find.



verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I used a KitchenAid 600 for about 2 years, although after killing it by baking 16 dozen bagels every weekend for Farmer's Market I'm upgrading to a commercial unit this week.  If you are just baking a couple of times a week, the KA600 is fine (and I think it's a good size because you can do enough dough for 2 loaves of bread, about 1.5 lbs each loaf).  If you are only doing one loaf at a time most of the KA 5 qt mixers are plenty, just be sure to get a spiral dough hook, they work much better than the C hooks.


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

You might want to consider a machine you can use for more than just bread. A kitchen appliance that can multitask is a good investment.


KA mixers are not horrible appliances and I think that all too often the brand gets a bad rap because of the failure of the operator to read the manual that comes with each mixer.  


If you don't read the operating instructions and abuse a machine, it's going to malfunction or break down. Price and brand have no relevancy in that regard.


I purchased my KA Artisan (five quart) about two years ago. I purchased it new for about $140, thanks to a great deal at Amazon and a generous KA rebate program. I'm not a production baker and make three loaves at a time, tops, either weekly or a couple times of week.


Throughout the manual there are warnings to NEVER exceed speed 2 when using the dough hook and to NEVER use a recipe calling for more than 10 cups of wheat flour or six cups of whole wheat flour.  I've heeded those warnings and have experienced no issues with the mixer. 


Depending on the type of bread you plan to bake, Jackie, you may wind up using the mixer to incorporate the ingredients, then do a series of folds during the bulk fermentation.  That's been my primary method for bread - although the mixer does come in handy for other foods.


I've been on a bagel baking binge of late, mixing two pounds of high-gluten flour (58 percent hydration) in the KA.  Three minutes at first speed and six minutes at second speed.  The mixer does work hard at second speed when mixing this stiff dough, but it does a great job and I've not heard any wonky or nasty sounds from the gear box.


I've looked at the Bosch Universal and Magic Mill DLX products.  They look very nice, but spending between $400 and $600 for a mixer seems silly to me because what I have fills my current needs.


My only advice is that once you've made your decision and actually purchase the product of your choice, be certain to throughly read the operating manual - and follow it.

mredwood's picture
mredwood

The KA instruction book says about adjusting the beater. Place a dime in the empty bowl. Up the handle. The flat beater should just touch & move and leave it at the same time as it rotates. I don't remember where the adjusting screw is but it's not had. KA will help you with that whether or not it is in warranty. I can look at my book tomorrow. It also says we should never run the mixer above #2 when we are needing bread. That is just an aside. one loaf works well in a food processor. It's done before you get to realize you did it. 


Costco has a 475 watt KA with a 5 or 5 and a half bowl. Real nice & does one loaf well. 


Mariah


 

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I have been using the bosch compact. I can make bread a fre loafs at a time. It never get's hot and act overloaded. I just don't need as big a machine as a DLX or Large Bosch mixer.

swtgran's picture
swtgran

I second the bosch compact.  I have a DLX for making large batches but since it is just my husband and me, I use my compact for a lot of our non standard breads.  I also have a KA I "never use".  It frustrates me.  Terry R

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Thanks for the suggestions!


I had posted a short while ago that I have a Siemens Kitchen machine ( http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11643/tea-two-and-small-loaves-best-gear#comment-65027 )


It's getting on in years and I will have to replace soon I think...I wanted to be ready to replace it if it dies on me and I think I'll look at the Bosch.


Jackie.

boilerbaker's picture
boilerbaker

I also love my Bosch Compact for baking smaller amounts of bread.  When I want to make more I use my large Bosch Concept mixer.  However, I often prefer to make just 1 loaf at a time, and use my Zojirushi bread machine to mix the dough and then shape it and let it rise in a pan, and then bake it in the oven.  I had a KA mixer that failed just after the warranty expired, so I'll never buy another one.  I did not abuse the 5 qt mixer I had, it just wasn't made well.  I am sorry that I didn't take my mom's original KA that was made by Hobart, I think.  You might try finding one of those at Good Will!  That's where we sent my mom's when we cleaned out her house.  Otherwise, if you want an all purpose mixer, consider the Bosch Compact.  My daughter also has one and then she and her husband gave one to her husband's sister as a wedding gift.  It's so easy to store and is a quality machine w/o a big price.

davidinportland's picture
davidinportland

Hi there,


Recently I found myself wanting to go back to a planetary mixer after working with a Bosch Universal Plus. So I did a lot of research and tried out a few machines and settled on the Cuisinart 7 quart and I love it. I've tested it on multiple, heavy whole-grain doughs -- using it to mix and knead. It has no trouble with multiple cups of whole wheat flour in a high hydration dough. Would it do four loaves at a time, probably not. But for two or three, it's a walk in the park. And, it handles non-bread tasks beautifully. 


I also love the fact that the tilt up head locks in both the down and up positions (so handy for scraping the attachments), that the attachments are all non-stick (big difference), and that it has a fold feature (comes in very handy). 


It's also a nice price point for the size and power ($399). 


Cheers,


-David


 


P.S. If you don't need 7 quarts, there is a 5.5 quart option with nearly the same horsepower and it's at least $100 less.

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Is this the new Cuisineart that they just came out with with 1,000 watts of power? I'd considered that when I was looking for a mixer, but at the time didn't know anyone who'd tried it.

davidinportland's picture
davidinportland

It is the new one with 1,000 watts. I've found it to be up to almost any task. I was initially a little put off because it is lighter (in weight) to even a smaller KitchenAid and I thought that might equate to durability/strength, but it doesn't seem to. And the other features (fold, head locking in up position, etc.) are real selling points that I might not have thought about. But when using it, they make a big difference.


 


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, David,


That's a good tip. We see lots of talk about DLX, Bosch, KA, but the Cuisinart isn't as common, and it sounds like a very good machine.


David

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

a couple of months of using it. I'd really be interested in hearing how it continues to perform. I really debated between the two, but eventually went with the KitchenAid.