The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Time to get a real mixer

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gcook17's picture
gcook17

Time to get a real mixer

Since I bought a Kitchenaid 6 quart Pro 600 mixer I've been asked several times about how I liked it. At first I was guardedly optimistic because it's hard to critique a product that you've only had a short time. Several months after I got it, my brother told me his KA mixer (a different model) had broken down twice and had to be replaced both times. The second time they made veiled accusations that he was doing something improper with it. After that a few other people I know who use their KA mixer to make bread reported the same thing: "The only good thing about the mixer was that it would probably break down before the warranty expired," they said. Awhile after the 6 month mark mine started heating up and occasionally exuding grease or something. About that time I got an offer for a 3 year extension on the warranty. It was clear the mixer would probably die sooner or later, maybe after the factory warranty expired so I paid for the extended 3-year warranty and filed it away when it arrived in the mail.


Well, the mixer quit working. The motor runs but nothing on the outside turns so I assume the gears inside are broken. The first thing I noticed when I pulled out my extended 3-year warranty was that it was only for one year. I hadn't paid attention when it came in the mail as I assumed they would give me what I had paid for. No matter, the 1-year extension had barely begun. The lady I talked to was helpful and promised I would be receiving a new mixer within five days. She said they aren't worth fixing so I would probably not be required to return the broken one.  Hmmm.


It's been over a week and this morning I was wondering where the promised mixer was. Then, about noon, I got a phone call informing me that they found a cheaply priced mixer of the same model on the web and would send me a check to cover the cost of that one. The check will take another 7-10 days to arrive. I was irked by the runaround they were giving me, but then I saw the silver lining. I can just take the money they give me and use it toward buying a better quality mixer.


 Maybe, the KA will last a long time if you only use it for stuff like meringue, whipped cream, and cake batter...I don't know.  Anyway, my revised recommendation would be to buy something more strongly built for mixing bread dough.  I'm leaning toward the TMB Baking Micro Spiral SP5...any other recommendations?


-greg

noonesperfect's picture
noonesperfect

How much is TMB asking for the spiral mixer?   I do most of my kneading by hand, so I doubt I could justify the cost of the spiral mixer right now, but I'm starting to look at the possibility of either a small Hobart (maybe 20 qt) or the spiral mixer for some large scale baking in the future.


Thanks.


 


brad

gcook17's picture
gcook17

I think they run about $1300 which is why I've put off getting one.  I believe students at the San Francisco Baking Institute get a discount.  I've seen them and watched someone use one and it looked like it would be the perfect mixer for bread making.

Crider's picture
Crider

There's parts available to fix it. I might be interested in buying it.

gcook17's picture
gcook17

I'm going to check on the parts at the link in the following post and see what's available.  If I decide not to try to fix it (for light duty only). I'll let you know.


Thanks,


greg

QARunner's picture
QARunner

I had a KitchenAid 625 limited edition which broke after 18 months of light use. I opened the machine and discovered the gearbox cover was made of plastic which had cracked and allowed the gears to move and stop meshing. Numerous accounts like this on google search or Amazon reviews.


In my opinion, Kitchenaid is not designed to knead bread dough. It is ok for light batters and mixing cake. It may be worth opening the mixer top to ascertain cause of breakdown. You can find spare gearbox parts from


http://mendingshed.com/k6map.html


I purchased a metal gearbox cover and so far the mixer works. You may be able to purchase spare parts relatively cheaply and get another couple of months out of your mixer - at least until something else breaks. In the end, you will need to buy a mixer capable of handling dough. Something like Electrolux.

gcook17's picture
gcook17

Thanks a lot for the information.  I opened it up and found a lot of metal flakes and a ground up gear.  I ordered the replacement part and will see if it works when that part is replaced. 

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

jeesh.


well, KA and BP are only separated in honesty by a couple places in the alphabet.


I've got a KA - it's been fine - but I am aware there's different models with good/bad/trash components, engineering and quality.


perhaps we should start a histogram - model vs time-to-failure?

LindyD's picture
LindyD


perhaps we should start a histogram - model vs time-to-failure?



I purchased my KA Artisan in 2007.  Have used it primarily for kneading bread dough (including 58 percent hydration bagel dough), never taking it above speed two.  I have the grain mill and food grinder attachments and use those as well.  The KA still runs just fine.


I did realize that I was pushing the machine to its limit with nine minutes of mixing bagel dough each time I made bagels (which is at least twice a month).  Not wanting to burn up the KA and lose the ability to run its mill and grinder attachments, I found a Bosch compact mixer.  The little Bosch doesn't even get warm mixing the bagel dough.


Yes, things go wrong with appliances.  But they also go right in many cases.

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Tried to post a reply to this thread several times, but for some unknown reason the spam filter is being triggered.  Any suggestions?


CJ

amauer's picture
amauer

I wish I had known all of this a couple of years ago. My old Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (15 years or so) had absolutely nothing wrong with it, I just wanted a bigger bowl to mix. Got a new one, gave my old one away (!), and it gets very warm and raises it's voice if taxed. I know not to use it above 2 for kneading, but it is nothing like my old one churning away without complaint. I heard the older models had Hobart motors. I would get anything associated with Hobart if I could afford it. According to KA what I am experiencing is "normal". I bought it because of the KA reputation of the past. Not so sure anymore.

siuflower's picture
siuflower

I brought my KA in 1987 and it still working perfectly. I use it to knead breads and all my baking. The motor never give me any trouble. My machine was made by Hobart and I was planning to buy a newer model after hearing all the problem with the new models. I change my mind and thankful I did not give away my old faithful.


 


Siuflower

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I've had the KA Artisan for 3 or 4 years now and have never had a problem with it. I bake standard one or two loaf recipes (e.g., BBA) once or twice per week and have never felt like the mixer was being taxed beyond its capabilities.


Had I known about TFL before I bought it and read about all the problems people have had with KA, I might have purchased a different mixer. But so far I have no complaints.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I got a KitchenAid Accolade from Williams-Sonoma about 3 years ago. My understanding was this is like the Artisan model but with a more powerful motor and was the last non-lift model made with metal gears. It was exclusive to W-S, supposedly, although I saw it on the KitchenAid web site for a brief time shortly after i bought mine. 


My Accolade has been great, and I've used it for Challah, but not bagels. I've also run it for up to 15 minutes at faster speeds, following Leader's instructions for some of his slack dough breads in "Local Breads." The only problem I've had is with the bowl coming loose from the stand when kneading large batches of relatively stiff dough.


From all I can gather, the current Artisan's are chancy, at best. if I were buying a first mixer of that capacity now, I'd go with the Bosch or DLX. (I have a Bosch which I use for larger batches and stiff doughs.)


Ease of clean-up is important to me, and I wonder about the mixers with non-removable bowls for this reason.


David

GloriouslyHomemade's picture
GloriouslyHomemade

I have had my KA (Prof 600, 6Qt model, 575 wt) since 2005.


When I first got it I mixed a few loaves of very dense WW bread when the KA started smelling like it was burning and it got super hot until the motor finally just stopped working. I panicked as I'd had the machine for 3 weeks or so and called CS center. They advised me to never go above speed #2-3 for mixing heavy doughs. I let the machine cool down and it re-set itself.


Five years later, I bake bread about once a week - 2-3 loaves at a time, no more. I also use it for other stuff throughout the week so I guess I use it about every 2-3 days. I've never had a problem since that first experience (followed their advice to a T) but did notice it getting a little bit warm when I mixed bagels for the first time a few weeks ago.


Not sure if I got a model made before a recent manufacturing decline or if I've just been lucky.


Hope you get a fabu mixer that lasts forever! :-)


Jeannette

dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

I just bought an older KA Heavy Duty, off Craigslist, from an older couple that closed their restaurant. This mixer had not been used because they had heavy commercial mixers. It was in great shape and showed no wear.


After reading the complaints on the KA I'm glad I did not invest in a new KA. Will keep you posted on how it holds up.

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

The following was on amazon.  the issue is not so much the metal gears, but the fact that the metal gears where held in the housing with plastic pins that eventually failed.  See the following from KitchenAid and their willingness to stand by an out of warranty item that fails:


311 of 318 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 starsProduct Info regarding gear housing upgrade from KitchenAid, October 7, 2006

By  Living it up

This review is from: KitchenAid KP26M1XPM Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, Pearl Metallic (Kitchen)

Due to the very high number of complaints about the problems people were having with heavy duty tasks (which is what the mixer should have been made for!) due to cheap plastic housing holding the heavy duty metal gears, I contact KitchenAid to find out if this design flaw has been fixed. It has been and here is their response (note that they are saying that if you receive one of the models with the plastic housing they will replace it under warranty with the new metal housing. It is also important to note that the people who've had the problem have almost all stated that KitchenAid had great customer service and replaced their mixers with no ones with no problems.

RESPONSE FROM KITCHENAID: Thank you for visiting the KitchenAid website!

I would like to reassure you that our engineering and product teams have addressed the gear box issue. In fact, we have already implemented a change in the manufacturing of the Pro 600 Stand Mixers to a metal gear box. Although these will be changed out on additional 5 qt bowl-lift models that include all metal gearing, the time line on that is not known at this time. Although a transparent change, this will insure the long-term durability we expect.

I would like to emphasize to you that should you purchase a Stand Mixer (with all metal gearing) which has not been assembled with the upgraded metal gear box, and you should have a problem with your mixer (as a result of the plastic gear box (failure), we will most certainly extend your warranty to resolve the issue properly and effectively.

If you have additional questions, feel free to reply back to me. Or, you may contact either our KitchenAid Customer Satisfaction Center at 1-800-541-6390, or you may visit our secure KitchenAid Live Chat.

gcook17's picture
gcook17

It's repaired now and ready for lightweight jobs like whipping cream and making meringue.  The gear that is driven by the worm gear was all chewed up so I replaced it.


Thank you to QARunner who told me about this great place to get parts: http://mendingshed.com/k6map.html.  I ordered two instances of the gear that went south and all new bearings just in case they were worn.  The parts were lower priced than I expected.  I was a little surprised by the price of the can of non-toxic grease until it arrived and I saw it was about a quart...enough for yearly gearbox rebuilds for a number of years.


The replacement was easy.  After removing all the gears and bearings I cleaned out all the old grease to make sure no metal shavings were left and cleaned the parts I was reusing.  The only tools you need are a pair of circlip pliers and a square drive screwdriver.  Although it's not necessary, a gear puller made it easier to get the bad gear off the shaft as it was somewhat snug.


In answer to the posts about plastic parts being the cause: the gearbox housing and all parts inside the gearbox were metal. 


Here's the bad gear.  All the teeth were very worn:



The teeth that failed are on top



 


The worm gear doesn't look worn:



-greg

dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

This is how a worn gear is supposed to look. The worm gear is steel and the shaft gear is bronze. Looks like this machine has done a lot of work.

gcook17's picture
gcook17

All the gears were steel. 


I only used the machine 1-2 times per week for a little over one year.

QARunner's picture
QARunner

Glad you got it repaired. Yes, they give away the gears but make it up on the grease!