The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixer Dilemma - Help needed

PwrLoon's picture

Mixer Dilemma - Help needed

Prior to finding your site I purchased a Viking 7QT stand mixer because I had burned out my kitchen aid stand mixer 2x. Initially Kirstin, my wife, was against the purchase of such an expensive mixer, but I was able to convince her by going on a baking strike. Most of the bread I bake is a whole grain sourdough rye with whole wheat, ground flax, molasses… It is a very heavy/dense good for body and soul bread. I have come to the realization that if I use your “autolyse” method I may no longer need to use my 1000-watt ubermixer to make my bread. This presents a predicament. Better bread or the wrath of Kirstin, for if I were to stop using my Viking mixer she would most certainly notice and not be pleased. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

cognitivefun's picture

Same thing happened to me.  


I actually use a food processor for my breads instead of the mixer that I had purchased in the belief that I would be using it for bread.

Now I grind meat in our Viking all the time. We buy cheap cuts and I grind them for dinner. The attachment was inexpensive and the meat tastes so much better. 

I also bake desserts in it... 


breadnerd's picture

I think there's a middle ground of using the mixer AND doing autolyse. Professional artisan bakers use both all of the time. And for a heavier dough like you're describing a powerful mixer is really the best.


I have a magic mill DLX because I heard stories of avid bread baker burning out their kitchen aids. I can really put it to work (multiple batches, whole grain breads) and it doesn't seem taxed at all. I ended up picking up a smaller KA mixer as well for smaller things (the DLX is not really the best tool for creaming one or two sticks of butter) and though I do like it, it gets very warm and sounds strained even on light loads (whipping egg whites, etc). I think you'll be happier in the long run with your viking.


Plus the mixer has all sorts of other uses! I doubt even if you change your bread methods that the mixer will be unused :)


hope this helps!

qahtan's picture


 I have a DLX and make all kinds of bread with it, but I have never noticed it getting hot or sound as if it is straining.....qahtan

breadnerd's picture

The kitchen aid is the one that gets hot, the dlx seems like it could run for hours.


I did get a smaller motor KA (the artisan) since I already have the DLX. I mostly use it for cakes an cookies, etc.

jbrawlings's picture

I'm seriously thinking of getting a DLX (we have an old Kenwood/Blakeslee which is an early progenitor to the Viking). Could you comment on how it's working out for you?  I do a lot of sourdough baking and do it all by hand because the sourdough just wraps itself around the dough hook and up the shaft, causing me to stop and scrape it off every 30 seconds.


breadnerd's picture

I like my DLX a lot. It is, though, quite different than a traditional stand mixer. I moved straight from hand kneading to the DLX, so I sort of taught myself machine mixing with it. I could see how people might have trouble going from a planetary mixer to this machine but I'm sure you'd get used to it eventually. I'll try to list some likes/dislikes:


* I love the timer, you can set it for five or ten minutes, and go wash dishes or something and not worry about forgetting it. I find I "autolyse" by hearing the mixer turn itself off, and then waiting five or ten minutes before restarting it :)


* It holds a LOT and works very easily. Today I mixed 3+ pounds wet french dough, then 4.5 pounds of multigrain, and then a small batch (2ish pounds) of potato bread. It just seems to effortlessly handly this kind of work, and I could go on most of the day probably!


* It mixes wet doughs very well, the scraper on the side is great for very hydrated doughs, and you can turn up the speed at the end to pull the dough into a more cohesive ball.


* I do tend to mess around with the dough while mixing--like poking it down into the bowl more, or rearranging the dough ball if it gets "stuck" on one side of the bowl, but I'm not sure if this is just because I like to touch and feel my way through the kneading process, or if it really needs it. If I just let it go and pay no attention, when I come back to it everything is usually well mixed and in order, so that may just be me.  It can crawl up the roller a bit for larger batches, but you can either push it down or it will move down on its own...


* It doesn't really like *small* batches. While it will happily make a triple batch of cookie dough, it's not super effective at, say, creaming one stick of butter. Smaller doughs such as pizza crust for dinner i sometimes ended up kneading by hand because it just seemed too small to be mixed normally. One of the reasons I picked up a smaller kitchen aid was for little things like this, but before that if it was too small for the DLX I could generally do it by hand....

That's probably more than you wanted to hear, but let me know if you think of other questions! 

jbrawlings's picture

Thank you.  I first learned of the DLX from "The Bread Builders" by Wing and Scott and have been patiently learning about it since.  I really appreciate you sharing your experience.  I saw the Viking mixer a couple of years ago and thought I might replace our aging Kenwood with it when the Kenwood finally gives up the ghost, but I think my money will be better spent on the DLX if I can convince my wife.

Floydm's picture

I concur with what breadnerd says. I still use my mixer when doing autolyse, I just run it for 2 minutes for the final mixing instead of 10. And when doing non-artisan breads, like my buttermilk sandwich bread, I still use the mixer for an 8 to 10 minute knead. So you'll probably use it less than you used to, but it still saves time and energy.

PwrLoon's picture

Thank you for your help.


sethian1's picture

You could sell it on ebay and buy your wife an extra Christmas (or whatever) present. ;-)

I find that my old Kenwood has the power I need when mixing such heavy bread doughs as Laura's Sourdough Rye/Wholewheat, and Vollkornbrot.

BTW, I used the suggestion in Laura's Kitchen Bread Book to use un-preheated covered pots to bake bread in in order to get a crisp crust and it worked beautifully.  Is there a significant improvement in result, in preheating the pots, that would make the obvious danger in moving very hot pots out and then back in the oven worthwhile? 


2brownbraids's picture


Hello PwrLoon,

I am in the market for a mixer and thinking seriously about the Viking 7 qt.  I think if you make holiday breads, brioche and the like, no autolyse is going to sustitute for a strong machine.  It is important,to own a good machine even if you do not use  it often for the time being, because you know when you do need it, it is there for you. 

Since you own a Viking 7 qt, is there anything you do not like about it ?  I do appreciate if you can share your view as to the use of it ( when you use it)    Thanks.



Bella's picture


I would use the mixer for your wet doughs and baked goods and new found methods for other doughs. Make sure you are alternating so that your wife can see that the mixer is getting a good workout and well worth the cost. Remember, you are not only defending this purchase but other potential purchases in the future.

Also, spoiling your wife in return is always a good idea.


mrstran's picture


I would gladly take your viking off your hands:>