The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

stand or spiral mixer, must pick one cant afford both please help

bigronda's picture

stand or spiral mixer, must pick one cant afford both please help

hello, i wish to open a cafe in a number of months and to do the baking of cakes/muffins/some breads myself. I have only
a little baking experience but am working night and day practicing to improve with every book/dvd i can get.

I really would like to move to a proper planetary mixer as hand kneading, while a good skill to develop, is slowing me down.
The catch is that a decent one will set me back about €380 while I can buy a floor standing spiral mixer for €680 ( The first would be more practical for learning but would become redundant for a cafe and I think buying both would be foolish and i have to mind the cash I have. Would it be feasible to practice with a spiral mixer, whats the minimum amount of dough that could be mixed in a 20l/8kg mixer like this one?

Any suggestions or help would be very much appreciated, or comments on spiral mixers in general and what to watch out for when buying one.

proth5's picture

determine if you are willing to buy a mixer that will mix only bread products - or if you will be mixing other things like cakes, quickbreads, cookies, etc - or anything that will require creaming butter and sugar.

Then consider that a spiral will mix bread and bread like doughs.  Not cakes, not egg whites, not most cookies.  It will do a superior job for bread, but that is it.

Then consider that with the proper sizing, dough hook shape,  and power, one can mix bread in a planetary mixer.  It will not mix as fast and you must be careful to put the liquid in first and make other mixing compromises, but it will mix bread.  I know of bread bakers who use planetary mixers with great success.

Then pick the mixer to meet your needs. 

Some smaller spirals do not have a reverse or a proper breaker bar - these are things you will want if you buy a spiral.

Best wishes.

mimifix's picture

Have you ever worked in a bakery or cafe; or other food service? (A place similar to the type of business you want to own.) If not, I suggest you get that kind of experience which will be invaluable for the success of your own business. Good luck!

Ron James's picture
Ron James


Spiral mixers are dedicated dough mixers (although I did work with one that had a removable hook which could be replaced with a paddle beater. It whipped the batters too much, though). The advantage of spirals, is vigorous mixing, and fast dough development. Years ago we used horizontal "barrel" mixers (still used today in very large operations). 

Having been in the business for 37 years, I would recommend a  planetary mixed. I strongly recommend Hobart. Unless you're planning a "full-blown" scratch bakery, a 60 Qt AND the accessory 30 Qt reducer bowl and adapter will work well. They work fine for both bread and cakes. We bake a good amount of Artisan breads every day, and it works fine.

Two pieces of advice:

1. Stay away from the newer Hobart "Legacy" mixers. We bought a new one (40qt) and had the motor shaft break twice in one year. They used electrical reduction to vary speed, and have a mother board that can short out. The older Hobarts use geared transmissions and last forever (my 80qt is over 30 years old!).

2. Your mixer and oven will be your most important purchases...don't skimp! Also beware of the no-name equipment on ebay. Most of it is China knock-offs. They look nice and work fine on a small scale. If they need repairs or parts, well...good luck.

Hope this helps.

Ron James

bigronda's picture

Thanks Ron, appreciate that. Have you any opinion on this machine by Quattro?(link below) cannot find a new Hobart on ebay in the price range with delivery to Ireland at the moment

Ron James's picture
Ron James


I checked out this mixer, and don't really know much about it. I found the specs and they say it has a 1/2HP motor with three speeds, and it is gear driven. Looks like a Hobart clone. It looks prety nice, but can't really say without seeing it in person. Here the thing with 20 QT (ltr) mixers. They're great for smaller batters, and I use the 20 a lot. But, as far as bread or sweet dough, their limit is about 7 lbs of dough (total). Also you have to mix only on first speed. A faster speed will seriously over heat the motor (1st is fine for bread, but you kinda need 2nd for sweet doughs). Bottom line: this size is great for cakes, cookies, etc., and only limited bread work. Hope this helps. let me know if I can assist you further.



Reliable proven technology
Number 12 attachment hub
Safety micro switches on bowl cover and guard
Powerful 0.5hp cooled electric motor
3 speeds with 100% gear driven transmission
118 / 205 / 374 rpm
Stainless steel bowl and guard
Beater, whisk and dough hook as standard
Fitted with 13amp plug
230v 375W
480mm x 530mm x 770mm

fpatton's picture

That one is the same one sold as Uniworld here in the States. They are re-badged with several different labels, including Bakemax. Mine came with the "Sibo" label, which is apparently the correct name of the factory. (My restaurant supply house got it directly from the importer, who is local.)

I've been using mine for a month and love it, though I use it for family baking only (every couple of days) and wouldn't swear that it would hold up under commercial use. I did read a comment by thomaschacon75 about used Hobarts being used Hobarts, which sent me down the path of getting a new Chinese mixer, since new-ish Hobarts were out of my price range. On top of that, my restaurant supply house, who also does a lot of repair work, told me about Hobart gearboxes costing hundreds of dollars.

Finally, none of the 8/10/12 quart mixers I looked at were rated for heavy-duty doughs, which is what led me to 20 quart. For commercial use, you would undoubtedly want more capacity.

If you'd like to read about my initial experiences, you can see my write-up here: (Yes, I named it.)



bigronda's picture

Your a gent Ron, thats great info to have. Its an extra 100stg for the 30 quart, money well spent perhaps?

ehanner's picture


I don't think you can make an informed decision until you know what specific products you want to bake. Unfortunately a big spiral mixer sized for your projected output is an essential purchase. That said, if you are looking at producing 3 dozen muffins each morning with occasional frosting, a much smaller mixer will do, one that also has a whisk. I know bakery operations that have produced 200 loaves a day without a big mixer, strictly by hand. It isn't the kneading you need, it is the mixing, stretching and folding tubs. The S&F isn't time consuming, it isn't hard and it produces great Artisan style breads. I would say, first satisfy your pastry needs, sweet breads, muffins, and gnash, whipped toppings and such.You can always spend the money later if you see a need for a HD dough mixer.



Ron James's picture
Ron James

If you can afford a 30 Qt, go for it. As time goes on you will need more mixing capacity.


Grampa Knuckles's picture
Grampa Knuckles

If not wanting a large commercial mixer but good sized one, consider the Assistent Original.  Its made in sweden and used for by bakeries and home use as well.  Holds about 7 litres and is willing to work hard when others that size quit.  Worth checking out, not sure where youre from most available in most European countries and USA and Canada too.