The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A New Toy in the Toolbox, HB Eclectric stand mixer

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

A New Toy in the Toolbox, HB Eclectric stand mixer

It's not that I haven't been baking lately, I just haven't had any glamour shot worthy loaves for quite a while. I've been baking twice a week to develop a recipe for a loaf to enter into the Leavenworth County Fair bread competition in August. So far, the recipe is somewhere between Salome's Bauernbrot and Thom Leonard's Country French Loaf. I've tried my hand at a few other styles at the request of friends and family but I keep going back to get the right recipe and right techniques ready at the right time.

One of my obstacles has been to achieve a better looking crumb. I just haven't found the right steps to get that interior done correctly. So about three weeks ago I was at a benefit in Omaha for a hopeful donor organ recipient and perusing the items available in the silent auction. Amongst the mostly sports memorabilia and bar knick knacks was a Hamilton Beach Eclectrics stand mixer, licorice black in color. The opening bid was $108 and the next bid available was $125. I bid the $125 thinking that I was only pushing up the bid price. I didn't expect to win but thought that if I did, the price would be right. I was thinking that using a mixer judiciously would help develop the gluten better than hand kneading.

Well, I did win the stand mixer. It has a 4.5 qt capacity bowl, a three year exchange warranty, dough hook, flat paddle, and whisk. There is no accomadation for external attachments such as KA has on their mixers. It seems to be acceptably low noise in operation. I've only used it once for a medium sized batard (1.2 lbs) and it handled the dough easily. I haven't found any specifications for limits on dough weight due to a rather small owner's manual.

I've found some clips on You Tube about mixing dough with stand mixers. I don't expect that a KA will be all that different from an HB. If anyone can help me find more information on how to use the mixer without overworking the dough, either in books or on the internet, I'd greatly appreciate the information.

As soon as I get a better grasp on how well this mixer works for me, I'll post as to whether or not I got a good deal.

dirider's picture


What is the power consumption of your HB mixer? For instance, my KA is 350w.


Noor13's picture

I did some reading about stand mixers, cause I would like to get one some day. They generally say that you should at least have 6oo Watt in order to not overheat the mixer if you do bigger patches of dough. I have set my eye on a Bosch one, but they are quite pricy too.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

For what the rating is worth, the owner's manual lists 400W.

LindyD's picture

The wattage reported by mixer manufacturers refers to the input wattage, not the amount of power the motor produces.  High wattage doesn't guarantee good performance.

Ciril Hitz points this out in his book Baking Artisan Bread and warns to never judge a mixer by its wattage.  Those advertised watts are nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

I have a piddly looking litte Bosch compact mixer with an input wattage of 450.  It can mix two pounds of Sir Lancelot high gluten flour at a hydration of 58 percent without strain or heating up the motor.  That wasn't the case with my KA mixer, or a friend's 600 watt mixer (both required frequent shut-downs and ice packs on the motor head to keep them cool).

ehanner's picture

It is my understanding that every electrical device sold in the US has to have a plate attached that specifies the wattage the unit consumes as well as voltage requirements, and hz (60 cycle).

As you say, all that really matters is, will it work for your application.Stiff bagel doughs are notorious for smoking the KA brand. If you make small batches, even they seem to be OK.

It's nice you bid at the event. Those things are usually done out of desperation at the huge medical bills that arise when transplanting an organ. Good luck with the new mixer PG.


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I'm still learning how to use this mixer to my advantage but I'd like to add some observations.

I am getting a reasonable mixing of ingredients with the dough hook. Usually, the dough is mixed  on low speed for the autolyse in less than 90 seconds. This is with about 800g of flour, water, and starter. I don't know how that compares with other mixers but this is a small (4.5 qt bowl) unit. I can live with this.

So far, the biggest batch I've mixed has been 1200g and the mixer chugged right through without seizing up or loud complaint. I have to learn how long to mix a batch of this size but that's part of the process.

The dough hook does have one shortcoming. The flat disc like surface meant to keep dough in the bowl should be wider. It's not close to the width of a KA. Loose dough can start to top this hook at second speed if I don't keep an eye on the mixing.

This machine will get plenty of use in the next two weeks. The bread competition for the Leavenworth County Fair is on 10 August and I plan on entering two loaves. It's time to get serious!