The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need advice on which appliances most useful

cazaubon's picture

Need advice on which appliances most useful

In addition to baking bread, I also make lots of pies, cookies, cakes, frosting, soup.  Right now I have a Cuisinart food processor and a hand mixer, and am wondering if I should have both a stand mixer and a bread machine, or just one or the other.

What do you think, given the items I plan to make?  I have heard you can make other things such as cake batters, cookie doughs, jams, etc. in the Zojirushi bread machine for example, but not sure if it could take the place of a stand mixer.  Any advice?

BTW, forgot to mention, in the past I had trouble getting my bread to rise properly when using a stand mixer to mix the dough.  It seems like the dough stays warmer and rises better when mixed on the dough cycle of a bread machine.  Any tips to correct this problem with the stand mixer?


flournwater's picture

Stand mixer, hands down.  Leave the bread machine to someone who thinks they want one.

hutchndi's picture

The stand mixer would be preferable to any bread machine. We have had a 6 quart Kitchen Aid for about a year now and my wife absolutley loves it for all kinds of things. I have yet to use it for bread or any kind of dough, I personally think it is just simpler and more fun to get my hands into the stuff.

Paddlers2's picture

After I got my KA, the bread machine was good only for a yard sale.    Seriously,  a bread machine was great for very small, regular bread, but when i got into whole grains, it was virtually useless.   

As valuable as the stand mixer is - this website with its videos and the incredible knowledge shared here is the most useful tool you'll find....   I'm a novice myself, and learn more each day right here.

Floydm's picture

Not even close: the stand mixer.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Even in my tiny, cramped kitchen, I wouldn't go without my 6 quart KitchenAid Pro. It takes up a quarter of my very small amount of counter space, but I find it worth it to not have to stand with a beater in my hand all the time while whipping egg whites and cream, creaming butter, and kneading dough. I'm finding it especially useful now that I've gone from one nosy toddler to a toddler and a newborn. Without the mixer, I wouldn't bake as much as I do now.

mabaker's picture

Loveeeeeeeeeee my KA

I make everything with it! Croissants. Danishes, cookies, cakes....


Couldn't live without it!

Ria's picture

I simply couldn't function without my Kitchen Aid Pro. I've had a KA for 25 years. Mashed potatoes, batters, sauces, breads, pasta dough...there's nothing that can't be done in the KA stand mixer. Nothing else comes close. Although I use my food processor often, if I could only keep one kitchen appliance it would be my stand mixer. We use it almost daily for one thing or another.


Marni's picture

It is my very favorite appliance.  I used bread machine years ago for mixing dough when carpel tunnel stopped me from mixing by hand.  It was less expensive, but now I know what I was missing.  I use mine almost every day.  I have the Pro 600 and the Artisan.  I like the tilt head on the Artisan, and so get by with the smaller capacity.


Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

The bread machine has been gathering dust for years in the basement, but the KA Pro 600 gets nearly daily use.  I would not bake bread as often as I do if I didn't have this machine, and I definitely wouldn't be making any of the high hydration doughs without a good stand mixer.  It's a joy to use.

If your dough needs a warm temp to rise, then find a warm spot, spray the dough with oil, and cover with plastic.  There are plenty of ways to improvise a proofing box if needed.  It's not reason enough for me to use a bread machine.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

We bought a Kenwood mixer back in 1966 when I decided that the cost would be saved by making and not buying baby foods. That one died one Christmas Eve and we replaced it with a larger version. It was my best kitchen appliance, with five children I'd have been frazzled without it.

Over the years I've inherited other gadgets which now that there are only two of us are useful but because I make large amounts of bread at a time I still wouldn't like to be without it for dough. 

More and more I'm mixing, whisking, beating etc. by hand, it's more satisfying and uses no power (except my own, which is good for me) but it's been a boon and a privilege to have the Kenwood for a good part of my life. 

Go for it. A breadmaker is power hungry and very limited, it takes up space and even though they can be used for making cakes and jam they're in such small quanitites they're pretty useless.

breadinquito's picture

even if i knead by hand since I started to make (and bake)'ll find very useful when, for example, have to knead 5-6 pounds of panettone dough...cheers from quito, ecuador. Paolo

Russ's picture

Definitely the mixer. There is nothing a bread machine does that a stand mixer can't do in larger quantities.

As to your rising problems, what are you doing in your current set up? I have a cooler that I use sometimes, putting the dough in there along with a quart or so of hot water. I also sometimes do fermentation in the oven, just turn it on until it warms a little then turn it off, leaving the oven light on to help maintain heat. Then I proof on top of the preheating oven with the loaves in a large plastic bag. But whatever you're doing without a stand mixer should work just as well when you get one.



Janknitz's picture

The microwave is essentially an insulated box and works great for proofing dough.  Heat 1 cup of water to boiling, put the dough in the oven next to the heated water and close the door.  It will keep your dough warm and cosy for hours and solve your proofing problems.

As you get deeper into the bread thing, you may learn the benefits of a long, cold rise and really understand why we're all telling you that a bread machine is not all that useful if you are trying to produce really great tasting breads.  


plevee's picture

I find that covering the water container with plastic wrap prevents excess condensation in the MW which is a pain to dry out afterwards. It  can also cause rust in the seams.  Patsy

yy's picture

I agree with most of the other commenters - a stand mixer is infinitely more useful than a bread machine. If you're getting a kitchenaid, my suggestion is to buy one of the models with a bowl lifting mechanism rather than the head tilting mechanism. They tend to have a more powerful motor, with fewer moving sections of the machine you have to worry about. You won't save much counter space buying a smaller model, because the footprints are pretty much the same.

Leolady's picture

Stand mixers are more useful than bread machines. 

Especially since I don't own a bread machine, but I have plenty of mixers!

pjaj's picture

Stand mixer - no contest. If you must buy a bread maker remember it only does one thing (apart from taking up space in your loft after a few months!) whilst a decent mixer will complement your food processor and between them there's not much in the way of mixing, whipping, chopping, slicing etc etc they can't do.

There are several threads in these forums that discus the merits and shortfalls of the various brands. Just use the search for the names, Kitchen Aid, Kenwood, Braun, Hobart and so on.

Paddlers2's picture

When the house is chillier than usual and I want the dough to stay a little warmer, I pre-warm the bowl a little in the oven (just to a little over 90 F).   Works like a charm.

pjaj's picture

Or just use warm water for mixing. I've found that, contrary to advice, I can use water that is almost too hot to put your hand in - 900ml for 3 minutes in an 800W microwave. So long as you have mixed all the other ingredients together first, including the instant yeast, the cold ingredients plus the very warm water = warm dough that rises quickly and well.

jweissmn's picture

Of course if I had to choose only one I'd pick my stand mixer.  BUT a good Zojirushi bread machine has its uses.  It does an excellent job of mixing standard straight doughs and certain wet doughs, and the slight heat on the rising part of the cycle is valuable in my normally cold kitchen.  Also, you can put it on a timer and have pretty good dough ready for morning baking - lets me bring loaves to work with me.  Stand mixer can't do that.

I'd never actually BAKE  in the thing, but it does a fine job on certain things and can be very useful if you're trying to turn out a lot of loaves on a short schedule.  You just have to know its quirks and use it for what it's good for.

hanseata's picture

 I used my bread maker, just for the dough cycle - until it broke. If I would find a great bargain on one, I might buy it, but a stand mixer rules.


pointygirl's picture

Baking aside the other thing about a mixer like a Kitchen Aid is that it is a strong motor base that can do a lot of other things.

I use my meat grinder not only for meat and sausages but to grind nuts and soaked, wholegrains for my breads. (more uniform than my food processor and no accidental almond butter).

I also have a freezer bowl to make ice cream without having to store another motor base in my little kitchen.

There are many other attachments like pasta rollers and the like for various interests.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I now do the vast majority of my bread dougn - including chapati dough - in my Zo.  Pizza dough too.

I have a KA mixer and since buying the Zo I have not found any need to use it except for high hydration dough.  My KA is older - about 25 years old - so unfortunately the new 3 qt pan/beater that they make for the newer 5 qt mixers does not fit my machine.  If it did it would extend the usefulness of the KA by a LOT.  The thing about a KA that's big enough to handle bread dough is that it's too big to handle more modest jobs like creaming butter and sugar for cookie dough or cake batter or what have you.  Unless you want to double or triple the recipe, which I do not as the two of us already have a hard time finishing off those kinds of goodies.


sarafina's picture

I have all of your list, the cuisinart, hand mixer, 5qt KA and a Zo machine. They all do different tasks really well and they have a fair amount of overlap where performance stays within the accecptable range.


If I could only have one because of space... well it would be the KA... It is for me the most versatile and sucessful at performing a broad number of tasks well; pasta, bread, grinding, grating , mixing, whipping, slicing... It really is a workhorse.


However since my kitchen measures wall to wall 11' x 5' I can't imagine HOW SMALL a kitchen I would have to have to be reduced to just the one!!

I like my toys and I use them all alot.; -)