The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixer Quandary

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Mixer Quandary

I'm in a bit of a quandary about a mixer purchase. So far I have done all my mixing or kneadind in a bread machine or lately by hand. I'm thinking a mixer would be nice. I like the 1000W, 7Qt Cuisinart at Costco since returns are hassle free if there is a problem. It's $499 CDN and I'm not sure how that compares to Bosch or Electrolux. The other option that interests me is a used 20 Qt Hobart purchased online. I see a few at reasonable prices now and then. Is a 20 Qt mixer huge overkill for the 3 or 4 loaves I make a week? Actually I know it is, but is it even feasible? Would a 20 Qt be able to do a reasonable job on small batches? I'd hate to buy one and not be able to put it to use. Any input would be appreciated. TIA. Dave

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

What's the max amount (by weight) of dough you typically knead at one time? You say you make 3-4 loaves/week, but its unclear whether that is all at the same time or maybe split into 2 bakings/week or possibly different kinds of loaves (requiring different kinds of dough).

Besides the simple dough capacity you need, I'm also wondering whether you make breads that require greater strength from a mixer. For example...

> do you like to make bread with mostly (or all) high gluten flour? I'm thinking bagel or bialye dough - high gluten flour puts more stress on the mixer motor.

> do you make a lot of whole grain bread (from 70 - 100% whole grain). Weight for weight, whole grain dough puts more stress on the mixer motor than a mostly white flour dough.

Plus...

> do you sometimes only want to make only 1 -2 pounds of dough, maybe for a speciality bread that you're trying out or a bread you only make now and then?

It strikes me a 20 qt mixer is a bit overkill for most home bakers, especially if your typical amount of dough to be kneaded at one time is 4 lbs or under. The 7-qt Cuisinart sounds better.

I know a number of posters here praise the Bosch (I've never used one myself).

Overall, I'm recommending that you clarify your bread baking needs in more detail. The more detail you provide, the better we can help you.

Best of luck on your purchase decision.

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

PS & FYI - I like to use a mixer to combine ingredients and maybe do some initial kneading but, basically, I'm a "knead it by hand" baker.

My favorite kneading technique is shown is this video...sourdough.com/video/hand-kneading-demonstrated-french-baker-simon-gosset

 

 

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Thanks for the input Dan and Sub. I'll certainly review my mixer needs, but on the other side of the coin I'm kind of a "what if?" guy. I hate it when I buy something and then down the road it doesn't meet my needs. And there is always the occassion where you need to bake way more than normal needs. Dave

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

I'll keep looking. I don't mind paying for quality and I usually go bigger than I anticipate needing. I just don't want to buy a used 20 Qt hobart if it won't mix small batches. Dave

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think we at TFL have to keep in mind that we use mixers almost in a professional capacity (hard and a lot), and that many of today's mixers (like those immaculate designer kitchens outfitted with the best of the best) are not really used that much (are mostly for show).

--Pamela

dlt123's picture
dlt123

I too make 3-4 loaves a week and I use a very inexpensive Oster Kitchen Center.  I purchased mine at a Senior Center Rumage sale for $12 and it came with all the attachments.

 

It works great and you can usually pick one up on eBay for a good price.  I use the dough hooks that come with the unit and it kneeds my bread perfectly.  I highly recommend this unit since it is so inexpensive and it does an excellent job.

I should note that I have had this machine for about a year, and it is still running like new.

Just giving you another option to spending a lot of money on a machine... Of course your milage may vary.

 

Dennis

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Looks great, Dennis. You've got a meat grinder and everything (I use my meat grinder all the time).

--Pamela

dlt123's picture
dlt123

Yeah for the price, it can't be beat...  With this unit you can also buy a pasta maker which works pretty good. Works for me.  :)

Dennis
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Belief has no affect on reality.
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Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

There are definately deals to be had if your in the right place at the right time. Dave

davidinportland's picture
davidinportland

Hi there,

I posted my results with my Cuisinart 7 quart earlier this week in a different spot. But, I'll recap here. I've had it for a month and love it. I use it as much as 5-7 times per week for tasks ranging from Viennoiseries to relatively heavy-duty bread making (8 cups of whole wheat flour well hydrated). It works like a champ under all circumstances. Like any planetary mixer, on occasion you have to scrape down the sides (same with KA, Viking); I also found this necessary with a Bosch that I used for a number of weeks, but just couldn't bond with. This Cuisinart replaced the short-term Bosch, but moreover replaced years of KitchenAids, culminating with a Professional 600 that seemed to fall short with almost any bread demands I placed on it.

I've had no odor, over-heating, or strain from the Cuisinart, to include a 15 minute kneading cycle last night on whole wheat dough. I've been surprised to hear people comment on it's loudness. I don't think it's at all louder than the Bosch Universal and is only marginally louder than the KA Professional 600. Keep in mind, it has a much larger motor, which will add some volume (e.g., Harley Davidson will likely be louder than a moped).

Short of the Hobart n50s I used in culinary school (and larger models that are too big for a home kitchen), I haven't been more pleased with any mixer than I am with this Cuisinart.

Enjoy whatever you choose and just use, use, use it during the period in which you can exchange/return it in case this significant investment isn't right for you. 

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

It's good to hear some good news about the Cuisinart. Dave

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

A 20 qt Hobart is a bit of an overkill for what you are talking about baking. You have to have the room for it and it is very heavy.

I have both the KA PRO11 and the Bosch Universal. The Bosch is definitely a workhorse. I make between 28 -32 loaves of whole grain breads for each weekends market and it makes great bread. The KA gets hot in just a two loaf batch while the Bosch can handle a four - 2 lb batch of whole grain dough with no problem.