The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Professional Planetary Mixers at Great Prices

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Professional Planetary Mixers at Great Prices

[I'm not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, websites, dealers, etc. below]


After breaking two 6qt Kitchenaid mixers, I moved on to a professional mixer about 8 months ago.


I searched for what seemed like an eternity for a quality-quantity mixer (good workmanship + good price). Hobart had the quality down pat, but their prices were beyond ridiculous (easily 4 to 5 times other manufactures).


I stumbled on the Bakemax brand and bought their 20qt planetary model: http://www.bakemax.com/equipment/food-service-equipment/planetary-mixers/20qt-encore-planetary-mixer/


  


I really love it.


I especially love the safety features: kill switch if protective guard opens; mixer halts when under too great a load [pauses in such a way that you'll know it's not happy with the dough you're asking it to mix], etc.)


I post this because I just noticed the same mixer is available in the United States now under the Centaur label. (I had to buy mine from Canada, as Bakemax is in Nova Scotia).


I checked the Centaur specs and they're identical to the Bakemax. It's really the same machine as far as I can tell (other than the top cap, which is red in color).


Here's the 10 quart for $895: http://www.restaurantsource.com/centaur-refrigeration--restaurant-equipment/bakery-equipment/mixers/ProdDesc-CEM110-46888.aspx


Here's the 20 quart for $1304: http://www.restaurantsource.com/centaur-refrigeration--restaurant-equipment/bakery-equipment/mixers/ProdDesc-CEM120-41632.aspx


Those are really good prices for this mixer, considering I paid about $1750 + $300 shipping for the 20qt pictured above.


Yes, they're big. The 20 qt. stands to about 6" below the my waist (I'm 5'11").


They're heavy (250 lbs for the 20 qt) too; but, you want something big and heavy when you're mixing large doughs.


Hobart should be trembling in its boots, as it's 5-quart model is $2000. It's 20-quart is $5000+.


Having used Hobart's before, I can say Hobart's are equal in construction quality, not better, than the above (except for, perhaps, their service, which you also pay through the nose for). I haven't owned my Bakemax for 30 years, however, so time will tell.


The moral of my post, I guess, is that if you're about to drop $600 on a DLX, consider going a little further and buying yourself a professional mixer. 


You won't regret it, especially at those prices.


 

Susan Lynn's picture
Susan Lynn

Much as I came to appreciate the DLX, you are quite right ... a 10 qt Hobart or Hobart clone ... or a 20-qt if you have the $$$ and the space ... would be my choice. I paid nearly $1,000 Canadian for my DLX, but at the time I didn't know about the alternatives. Should have done more research. Not that the DLX isn't a good machine, but the learning curve is steep and the stand-type mixture much more user-friendly. 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

But these big mixers are just that BIG. A DLX is still a table top mixer, so it's kind of the best of both worlds, big capactiy that can still be put in a cabinet. I cannot imagine most people have room for a HUGE mixer and the price difference is still significant.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Huge was probably the wrong word to describe it.


Huge compared to a Kitchaide, but not so huge as to take up that much space.


I just moved, and I was able load it a dolly, strap it in, roll it up the Uhaul's loading ramp, roll it down, etc., all by myself; and I'm a rather not strong, shall we say.


I took a short video to show its actual size compared to my water cooler. Those water bottles you see are the usual 5 gallon bottles.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Sorry the bowl is not visible in the video.


It's occupied with 4 lbs. of Izzy's New York Rye for Reuben sandwich & dark beer night.


:D


(Just noticed that the dressing recipe comes from Nancy Silverton's Sandwich book; oddly enough, Izzy's New York Rye comes from her La Brea Bakery book.)


Here's the Reuben recipe if anyone's interested: http://chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=555

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I now have serious mixer envy, I just got a Kitchen Aid with the 5 or 7 quart bowl can't remember which, its worked just fine for everything I do so far, but boy would that big mixer take care of my Christmas Cake marathon easily! Right now I use an old fashioned bucket bread mixer that is turned by husband power, in the past its been mixed in the big bread pan (also antique) by hand, but it sure would be nice to do it in a mixer!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I don't know what your need is for a mixer this size but I hope you are running a small pizza shop or other craft bakery.


I just mixed a batch of sticky sour rye that weighs 10 lbs with my DLX. Never a problem and if you use the hook, totally zero learning curve. The shipping was free when I bought my DLX and it was under $550. if I recall. Don't get me wrong, I like the Bakemax 20 quart if you need it for business. If you primary use is home baking, I couldn't justify the expense. $300 shipping??? Good grief! Is it 220 volt?


 


Eric

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

It's 110.


Yes, I know a lot of people like the DLX.


I, sadly, loathe it.


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The shipping cost was due to distance, not size. It was shipped to Denver from Nova Scotia.


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I don't run a bakery or pizza shop, but I did buy this with an eye toward getting experience with larger quantities. The limiting factor now, of course, is the home oven. I do make a lot more bread than I can eat, so I give it to the Denver Rescue Mission.

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I got a 10 qt Anvil last year after destroying my KA600. It's a wonderful machine, and not much bigger than the KA was. It doesn't have any attachments like the KA, but after owning them for many years I'd never gotten any.


Smaller commercial machines (in the 10 qt range) are definitely worth the money for the constant baker, they don't give out like a KA can after working them real hard. The 20 qt looks fun but I definitely don't need that much dough at a time.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

I would have gotten a 10qt too, but at the time, I couldn't find any in the range that I liked.


There was the Berkel, but both the Berkel 10qt and 20qt are belt driven, which I really did not want.


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I was worried that the 20qt would be too big for single batches, but it works just fine with the spiral hook. I haven't tried small batches with the wire whip/paddle, but I imagine they'd work fine as well.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

That's what I like most about these commercial machines: You don't have the constant worry that you'll break your mixer. They won't break under load or repeated use. It's like paying for full confidence.


(Using autolyse (resting the dough for 20+ minutes before final mix), for example, is a sure fire way to break a Kitchenaid, unless it's a really old Hobart-KA, which are indestructible).


There's also an added advantage in knowing that your mixer is not the problem area. Did I mix it enough? Long enough? Right speed? Etc. So when you're trying a new bread, it's one less variable to pin down. 


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It's not uncommon for a recipe to state a precise final temperature of the dough. In a small mixer (and this is also true with the DLX), it's almost impossible to get the dough to temp.


Not so in a commercial mixer!


If my dough is at 76 F and I need 80 F, like for some rye sourdoughs, the mixer can get me there in 1-2 minutes. It really gives you the power you need to control certain variables, like temperature and gluten development.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Part of my decision to retire my old style KA/Hobart mixer was to improve my capability to bake large batches. I also tend to gift a portion of my labors to folks I know will appreciate it.  Unfortunately my oven is the limiting factor most times. It isn't good to have the capacity to bake 2 large loaves at a time while 6 are in the cue. I find I can pace the proofing by a brief refrigeration of the second set of loaves. Today I'm doing 5 so the orphan will be cold by the time it bakes.


If I had more kitchen room and a wife who wouldn't mind living in an old barn, I would skip the mixer altogether and use a wooden trough. The more I learn about baking the more I am convinced I can make better bread by hand. This is an interesting read, posted by MC about Gerhard Rubaud. You seem to be an enthusiast.


Eric

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Mr. Rubaud is really something.


Imagine his stamina, running a bakery like that.


Agree with your "better baker by hand" comment. The interim between breaking my second Kitchenaid and buying Mathilde (the Bakemax 20qt), I baked by hand for ~14 months. It was so much work, so, so much work, and yet, I learned more in that 14 months than I did in years of previous baking.


I probably spent 6 years with PeterR's "windowpane test", thinking that was a sufficient technical for readiness, etc. 


After 14 months of hands-on, I don't even use the test anymore. I can just look at the dough and know what it needs, when it's ready, with a little help from the Thermapen. (I say this after over-proofing the rye I mentioned above, turning 4 lbs of dough into flat-bread. :D)


The bread that sent me back to the mixer was Silverton's Walnut bread. Having to incorporate the walnut oil into the dough AFTER mixing almost drove me to drink. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME, NANCY! It's also the first bread made me weak in the knees. I had to sit down for a bit after tasting it.



RugBoy's picture
RugBoy

You mention temp change with small mixers being pretty insignificant.  I'm just beginning my second year with a DLX, and I actually consider the small 3 or 4 degree increase I get during a mix to really make it easier to hit my target temp.  It's pretty easy to nuke the water a bit to hit the target if you need to.


Now...having said that, let me tell you how much I envy having the space for a floor mixer of that size.  Above and beyond the great bread, and the wonderful Zen like processes involved, to me cool equipment is it's own reward.  A few days ago my wife caught me looking at $4000 Berkel bread slicers on line, pretty well locking in her opinion that I've got equipment fetishes.


I certainly don't need one, and definitely won't get one...but it would be fun.  I look forward to more stories about your new machine.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I am a defnite gadget gal. I LOVE all my kitchen tools and am about to put out a post about what are some must haves that I don't have yet.


I would LOVE to have room for a floor mixer, or even one that can go on a stand and just stay there, but.... I don't.


On top of that, my husband would freakin' kill me if I brought how something like that. His exact words would be, "You have a mixer that you love. Why do you need that huge thing? How much did you pay for that? What would you ever use it for? You spent over one grand on something you'll use maybe twice a year? Do you know how many other ways that money could have been spent?" LOL


I'm itching to expand a bit now that I'm making all our bread. I have a new kitchen in a new to us house. My kitchen itself is a decent size, but I also have a mud room with storage room for kitchen stuff AND in the basement, I have TWO 4' long by 6' tall cabinets - all for kitchen like storage for things I don't use as often. We were in a townhouse before, so I was SOOOOOO cramped. Now I have a large house with lots of storage and OOOOO it's hard to be good.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

I'm laughing at "nuke the water".


I used to do that with the Kitchenaid (if I could remember to do it before adding to the dry ingredients). If I'd forget, there was no way to get it to temp. just by mixing, as I couldn't really add more water. I mean, I could, but that's just havoc in the making.


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Tools really are the biggest help. You don't realize so much in your own kitchen, but once you're deprived of your equipment, your technique swiftly goes to @#$% in hand basket. 


Thankfully, we have Reinhart's Pain l'Ancienne and similar low-maintenance, high-quality doughs for when we're forced into indentured (bread) servitude during the holidays.


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I really want a bread slicer too.


Someone just posted recently that she got a Berkel bread slicer for $300 on eBay. I'm jealous.


I've been eyeing these $1300-1500 bread slicers for a while, but that's still to much money for the amount of bread I bake/eat. 


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I agree, Rubaud is incredible. As a lone baker working in the mountains he produces by hand an amazing product at remarkable volumes. He must really love his life. I see he does have a large floor mixer for the hard work.


Incorporating nuts and other additions can be a challenge by hand.


Eric

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Thanks.


I think I'm going to make me one of his wooden proof boxes with swivel hinge.


Not as huge as his, but of similar functionality.


I already have to explain (to visitors) the reason for the huge mixer in the living room, so this'll be just another oddity.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Also consider Steve's homemade proof box: it uses a reptile terrarium thermometer to control temperature, a single light bulb hanging by its cord for heating, and a flexible plastic case like quilts come in.


It's cheap and easy, and if done right can be easily folded up and stashed if space is a problem (just cool off the light bulb completely before folding the plastic into contact with it). And if you need to, you can easily swap in a bigger light bulb for winter.


Steve (steveb) used to publish a picture of it somewhere on his site http://www.breadcetera.com , but I can't find it now.

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Thanks for the mention, ckollars.  You seem to be referring to a hybrid of Paul's proof box and mine (an interesting idea in its own right!).  I think the thread to which you're referring is shown here:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8947/quick-proofing-box-available-materials


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You know the problem with having a beautiful proof box like that is you also need a counter to use it on and racks to hold the shaped loaves, then a big WFO to bake in. Haha, you are on your way to a hand crafted bread bakery.


You will appreciate this: I'm giving more than passing thought to building a hearth type firebox in my kitchen. Not for burning a fire in. I'm planning on using an electric oven heater coil for the heat source. It won't cost that much to bring the heat up if you buy energy during the off time at night and bake in the morning. Clean energy at 2.4 cents a kw at night. The oven will stay warm enough to bake dinner in later in the day. That's the plan anyway.


Eric

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

That's funny; a good idea too.


Nothing wrong with racks and a custom oven; every artisan needs those at the bare minimum. :D


-


They just hit us (in Denver) with a tiered kW model.



  • 9.9 cents a kW for the first 500 kw hours.

  • 14.3 cents a kW after that


I fear receiving my August electricity bill.

EvaB's picture
EvaB

in BC Canada and it raised my power bill about 25 a month, we also have the equalized payments which takes a full year of your useage and then divides it into 12 payment for the next year, of course there are always adjustments, like rate increases and tax adjustments, but my bill is around 140 a month year in and year out, no big surprises in winter and no having to worry if its going to be more this month. But the down side is of course having to pay that every month!


I use a lot of the flourescent bulbs and have for the past 18 years, we went almost totally flourescent (the large tube type) when we moved here, and have converted most of the rest to the curly bulbs since, I think I have maybe 2 or three non flourescent lights in the whole house. It does make a difference, but we also use a lot of extra power in summer for fans, and in winter for extra heat. So it evens out.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Now this sounds dangerous! Good thing I didn't think about any of that while doing our kitchen remodel this winter. Already my teen son is trying to find a way I can use our fireplace to bake bread! LOL