The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An introductory greeting, and an apologetic DXL question.

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Ramshackle's picture
Ramshackle

An introductory greeting, and an apologetic DXL question.

Ok, so, i'll try to keep this brief, although I tend to wander a bit with my writing.  So...


First of all, greetings from Philadelphia.  Been bread baking for about eight months, and been lurking somewhat on this site, mainly just to see if I'm doing things fairly correctly.  Based on how long the bread lasts (not long), I'm fairly certain I'm doing ok, but certainly would like to get better.  I keep a 1.2.2 firm starter that I use to create other starters specific to each batch, and tend to bake at least once a week.  Love nuts, seeds, and specialty flours, as well as enriched breads.  So that's the introductory part.  Now...


Before I pose my two questions, let me say that I have spent the better part of several days now researching mixers, reading user reviews, watching videos, travelling to examine them, and basically feeling like my brain is spinning in one every time I see the word Bosch, Electrolux, Viking, KitchenAid  I know there is a ton of information on this site, and I perused most of it, as well as many other sites.  I started out kneading by hand, still do to some extend, but at this point I'm often asked to make bread for whatever occasion, and it's easier to do in the mixer.  I have been using a KitchenAid 5qt Heavy Duty one, which has accorded me just fine, but it's not mine, and now I need one.  So.  I've seen good and bad about most brands, a few horror stories about KitchenAid and Viking, and for the most part almost nothing negative about the Electrolux.  I've been leaning toward buying one, but wanted to pose two questions regarding it's use: 


1.  From all that I've read, the DLX is clearly amazing at mixing large batches of dough.  Now, I'm a single guy, and I can only eat so much, and my freezer is already overflowing with bread.  For the most part, at least right now, I'm mixing primarily single batches of about 500g flour, which work just fine in the kitchenaid.  I've seen a few posts noting the fact that the DLX is not so great at small batches of dough, which might render it's purchase, at least for me, pointless.  So, anyone mixing smaller amounts in the DLX, and if so, how's it working for you? 


2,  While I primarily mix bread doughs, I do also have a sweet tooth, and find myself making cakes, sweets, chocolates, and pies, so the ability of the mixer to cream butter and whip eggs is an important part of my decision.  Clearly the DLX is amazing at mixing bread doughs, but how does it work when you need to whip a half dozen eggs?  I know it comes with a smaller bowl and a double wisk, but wanted to hear about it's abilities in that regard. 


Like I said, I'm certainly leaning towards getting one, and certainly intrigues by this learing curve I've been reading about.  So hope this wasn't too much for a first post...


Cheers and thanks. 

Ramshackle's picture
Ramshackle

And yeah, I just realized I got the "DLX" wrong in the the title; fingers moving too fast I guess, as I got it right throughout the content...

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Welcome to TFL from one newbie to another Ram! I'm also a single guy baking and cooking away and having a hoot doing it and my waist is starting to show it!! It's fun to go to parties and see your efforts gobbled up quick like!


Your question about mixers is hard for me as I don't have any experience with mixers except my KA Artisan 5qt. In the last 2 1/2 months I've gone through almost 50# of flour keep the little mixer hopping! The only time I was concerned about it was last Friday night when I was preparing a very stiff brioche dough. The little guy was struggling with it and just about the time the dough was ready I took its temperature with a IR thermometer and it was 117*!! With that being said if anything were to happen to it I probably buy another one.


Being an ex-mechanic I did become kind of a "tool snob" so the desire to have some big and fancy machine is alway in the back of my mind, but I've been strong enough to resist it!!


Welcome aboard,


Royall


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Royall, I've been using my KA Artisan to mix Hamelman's bagels over the past months....at least 12 baker's dozen.


This is a 58% hydration dough and while it may sound crazy, I've found placing an frozen gel pack on the mixer head helpful in keeping it cooled.   That and giving it a rest during the second six-minute mix at second speed, if needed.  


Like you and the OP, I'm a single (gal) baker and while I've researched the Bosch and DLX mixers, I think either would be overkill for my needs.  


When and if I ever blow up the Artisan, I'll probably go for the heavy duty KA pro or something similar as I use my mixer for other applications.

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

What a "cool" idea Lindy! The gel packs that  you mention, are those the "blue ice" packs that you use in lunch boxes?


Depending on the direction my baking takes me, I would probably stay with the same model. I bough one of those "wiper" paddles for this machine and for cakes and light cookie doughs it is great! It was about a 45 buck investment but it sure whips out a cake batter quickly! Did I say I used to be a "tool snob" or "tool junky"!!!

LindyD's picture
LindyD


 The gel packs that  you mention, are those the "blue ice" packs that you use in lunch boxes?



Blue, white - for lunch boxes and first aid purposes - as well as for mixers!  They're pliable and sit nicely on top of the mixer head.

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I use the bosch compact for small batches. It doesn't get hot.

misterrios's picture
misterrios

And I love it. i regularly make 1kg flour batches and, the machine handles them quite well. I don't make batches smaller than that very often, partly because I give away bread when we can't eat it. The freezer is full of fruit and vegetable stock, so there's no room to stick bread in there.


However, if you are only making 500g flour batches, then you will probably have to manipulate the roller a bit more so that the dough doesn't just stick to the roller.


In any case, the mixer is wonderful for bread in large or small batches. I have heard of other people having success with other things, but I only have limited experience. I have creamed sugar and butter in the thing, but the butter has to be at room temperature to work effectively. As for the egg whipper, I have made whipped cream in it quite well and then went beyond to what I really wanted, which was butter. I have also beat egg whites in it, and they formed awesome peaks. It won't do one, but at about three or more, it works wonderfully.


I have read, however, that the Kitchen Aid is much better for cakes and such, and the DLX is awesome for bread. Not being a sweets baker, nor a KA owner, I can only give you my DLX opinions.


Hope this helps!


Daniel

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Ramshackle, you and I are in the same boat as far as the need for tools go. I have been learning to bake for a little over 3 years and come from a background where I enjoy the tools that come with any hobby. I'm also a woodworker and a hobby mechanic so believe me I know about needing to buy the right tools. I started off 30 years ago buying a Kitchen Aid stand mixer back when they were made by Hobart. I still have that mixer stored away waiting until my daughter thinks she needs it. A couple years ago I bought a DLX so I could make larger batches of dough. The DLX does have a large bowl and will easily handle 8 or 9 pounds of stiff dough without any trouble.


The whisk and bowl works great but I don't hardly use it with the things I do. I also have a grain mill attachment which I use for grinding rough grind rye berries.


Having said that, I haven't used it in 2 Months. If you are a single person or a couple, there is no way I would suggest to you that you need a mixer of any kind. I feel a little guilty about having spent so much on a device that I clearly don't need day to day. I bake 4-5 loaves in pans at a time for friends and while those days are slightly easier using a mixer, many times I think it's just easier to skip the hassle of the mixer and do it by hand. I have settled into a mode of operation where I mix briefly, rest, knead briefly and rest. I do a few sessions of stretch and fold and get a feel for how the dough is progressing in my hands.


Honestly, I think a mixer slows down your progress in learning to bake good bread. I suggest learning to handle or continue to handle your dough by hand. The dough will be less oxidized and taste better. If you find yourself wanting to bake in a large volume on a regular basis, then, maybe you need to drop some serious cash in a tool.


Eric

Ramshackle's picture
Ramshackle

Eric,


Thanks for the sound advice.  I think i'd gotten it in my head that I need to do more instead of trying to do things better.  So I'm gonna go back to using the hands for awhile, stash the cash for when my loads become too large, and slow it down a bit and focus on making better breads.  I like that idea.  Cheers. 

vince hav's picture
vince hav

well im just getting started and i dont have a mixer yet :-( but being also single guess il be getting one before too long. but talking about ice packs...ive used rice bag ice packs for sprang ankle. you know put a bag of rice in the freezer and take it out when you need it. it conforms to shape well. would that work?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Rice packs are great frozen - also make great foot warmers.  Just nuke a rice pack in the  microwave for a few minutes then tuck it in between the bed sheets to keep your feet toasty.  


Eric has made some excellent points.  A mixer is great for stiff doughs but when working with higher hydration dough, your hands are just as good and you'll learn faster by using them and feeling the development of the dough.