The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What would best serve us? Bosch or DLX?

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

What would best serve us? Bosch or DLX?

I know this is a question that has been bouncing around countless times on countless boards (because I've read A LOT of postings), but I'm still stumped -- and have to make a decision fast because of a very sweet thing my husband did.

For a little background, I've been baking our bread for almost a year now, after receiving (and being inspired by) a beautiful whole wheat loaf from a neighbor who owns a Bosch. We've been using a Zojirushi to do the hard work, though I take the dough out for its last rise and finish it in the oven.

I bake around 3 loaves per week with freshly ground flour.

As neat as the Zo is, the bread has never been quite as good as our neighbor's, my hubby has felt. (And it isn't the recipe.) So, for Christmas he totally shocked me with a Bosch mixer (800w). Wow! At the time, we thought it was the best out there for bread, but I've since learned about the Electrolux DLX/Assistent/Vernona, and I'm not sure anymore. (He wouldn't have a problem with exchanging; he just wants what will work the best for us as well.) The cost difference between the two isn't hugely significant (he bought accessories we don't necessarily need), and would be worth it if the DLX would be a better choice.

I have read that the DLX needs to be "babysat" a bit, and with two kids under 5 that might be a problem. The Zojirushi has been a blessing in this regard.

It would mainly be used for bread, but also sweet quick breads (I just made 11 loaves of cranberry orange bread for Christmas gifts) and cookie/biscuit batter. Also, for health's sake (when making bread) I "soak" the flour after initial mixing (minus yeast and salt) with a tiny bit of vinegar added for 12-24 hours before popping in the yeast and "really" making the bread, so it might need to sit in the mixer bowl for a while.

Any thoughts on what would serve us best for long haul?

Many, many thanks, and apologies as well if my asking the question AGAIN is nauseatingly redundant!

-- Marguerite   

 

Petek's picture
Petek

I'm also looking at either the Bosch or DLX. Would use either mostly for yeast doughs. I think I'll go with the DLX because I've read that the Bosch doesn't handle small jobs (such as the dough for a single loaf) as well as the DLX.

tikidoc's picture
tikidoc

I got a Verona this fall and so far have been impressed with it. I have not really needed to babysit it at all, the once exception being very dry doughs like bagels. For wetter bread doughs, I have not had to babysit at all, and it has a timer too.

That said, I hear the Bosch is a great machine too. I also have a Bosch Compact and it is a great little mixer, and can easily handle doughs that used to lock up my Kitchen Aid (deceased). It did need lots of babysitting because it is very lightweight and bounces around on the counter if not held, once the dough comes together.

My understanding is that the Electrolux excels at wetter doughs, and the Bosch does a little better with dry ones, although both can do both adequately. I can say the Electrolux can do the dry doughs, but this is where the babysitting takes place. Quick breads, cookies, meringue, etc are all great, and it is fine with smaller batches.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Marguerite,

I have a Bosch, a Bosch compact and a DLX.

My experience is that it is hard to find one mixer that will suit all of your baking needs.

My experience is that any mixer is going to need a bit of baby sitting when mixing doughs unlike bread machines that need no watching over.

I am a new owner of a DLX so my experience with it is limited to about a months use.  Before purchasing it I used my 2 Bosches for breads.

The regular Bosch was my first mixer, I began baking about 1 1/2 years ago, and I hadn't even heard about the DLX or I probably would have gotten it due to it's capacity,  open bowl (no center column to have to work around), standard accessories that include a very sturdy ss mixing bowl and 2 attachments for mixing bread doughs (Hook and roller) plus the auto. timer and much wider selection for speed.  In other words - in my opinion - you get more for your money; price is higher than the Bosch but you get more as 'standard' equiptment.  It also takes up less counter space.

Both machines clean up easily.

DLX handles smaller amounts of dough better than the Bosch does.  (I got my compact Bosch (to mix smaller amounts of dough) before I knew about the DLX and I really like it for that as well as for mixing up cookie and cake batters.  It is a great little mixer - very light weight and very easy to use and clean.  THe dough hook is a lot gentler for mixing doughs than the hook on the larger Bosch.)  

Bosch has a great warranty and repairs or replacements are a breeze.  The DLX has only one place authorized for repairs and that is in New Jersey.  My machine is really new and I am hoping it NEVER needs repairs because it would cost a forutne to send it to NJ and I am sure it wouldn't be a quick turn around with only one shop to handle all of the US repairs....but it was a risk I was willing to take.

As for letting doughs sit...I bake with freshly ground grain and sourdoughs most of the time and, I too, let my doughs soak but I do not leave them for hours on end in the mixing bowl.  I autolyze for 30 - 60 minutes in the mixer but my longer soakings are done in ceramic or glass bowls and then are added to the mixing bowl once I am ready to mix the final dough.  The DLX bowl would probably be more conducive to leaving dough in it since it doesn't have a center column like the Bosch does.  It comes with a lid that fits snuggly so your dough won't dry out.  The Bosch has a splash guard but it doesn't fit as tightly as the lid on the DLX.

I am not sure what else to add here other than the only way you will find out what best suits your needs is to simply jump in and buy a mixer and give it a go.  You can always buy another one later on if you need to....just like you are doing by replacing your bread machine.  There really is no easy answer and you might find out that your really don't need a mixer at all if you read about and learn how to mix and knead bread using the stretch and fold technique that a lot of TFLers talk about here.  It only needs your hands and not at whole lot of time....just a few stretches and folds every 30 minutes or so and the breads turn out great....

GOod Luck with your decision.  If you don't have a retailer who sells mixers Pleasant Hill Grains sells both the DLX and the Bosch and they are a great company to do business with.  Excellent staff. Excellent customer service that is genuine - equally good before the sale and after the sale.  The DLX doesn't show up on their home page (Bosch has exclusive rights  and doesn't want other mixers on the home page......).  You have to go to the seach box and type it in and then it will pop up or you can google DLX mixers and PHGs site will be a link you are directed to.

Not sure if you have read the other posts there about the DLX but there are quite a few and I found them helpful when I had to make my decision.

Take Care,

Janet

 

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

So far, the verdict seems to be DLX! Thank you, Petek, tikidoc and Janet. It will be really interesting to see who else puts their two cents in and in which direction they will lean. :)

Janet, I really appreciate your detailed answer and also the suggestion to use the stretch and fold technique. I had no idea there was a method other than straight kneading. (You can tell that I haven't been hanging around in those forums.) It sounds much more feasible with the demands of young kiddos.  I checked it out and tried it on a loaf this afternoon. A tasty brick was the result, but I think I hurried the dough along too fast (can't rush whole wheat, right?) Wouldn't it be nice to need no mixer at all?  Anyone know of a good sandwich-type whole wheat recipe that does particularly well with the S&F technique?  (I realize that S&F can be used on most any recipe, however.) I think the intervals between stretching and folding must be key, and it would be nice to know what is optimal in this particular application as well.

But the mixer.... Any other comments are extremely welcome! :) 

bonnie1345's picture
bonnie1345

Of course the dealer goes for the DLX, it cost a couple hundred more.

The DLX is a good machine, so is the Bosch. I have had a Bosch for 12 years and it has never let me down. As far as which machine makes better bread...............that's silly. Both do equally well at kneading, for that matter so did your bread machine. I hope I don't offend but it may be you haven't really got the water to flour ratio down well. To follow a recipe exactly for bread is not a good thing, you have to learn what the dough is suppose to look like and feel like. If you measure with measuring cups the variables are even more. A good place to go to discuss mixers in depth is the Yahoo group "Mixer-Owners) All are either Bosch or DLX owners for the most part. If you do I recomend you go back to the older messages and read them first. A lot of mixer information there. It boils down to a matter of choice. Neither mixer is better, depends on what you like and want.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

The book I started out with that really revolutionized my 100% whole grain breads and that I would recommend to you is Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  I have baked most of the loaves in that book and all have turned out really well.

His first loaves are a Master loaf and then a Sandwich Loaf which fit the description of what I think you are looking for.  They both use pre-doughs so the grains have a long time to soak and develop flavor.  I use my mixer to blend the two together but once all of the ingredients are combined the S&F technique works just fine.

You can also start off with the S&F technique by blending all of your ingredients in the beginning and then letting the rough dough sit for about 40 -60 minutes.  They you can do S&F every 30 minutes or so until the gluten is well developed.  Might only take 3 S&F 'sessions' - might take more depending on your circumstances.  Once the dough has been developed you can then do a longer bulk fermentation so the grains have a good long time to soak and soften - overnight is what I do mostly and then bake in the morning after proofing.

Any dough can be S&F'ed...it really is just kneading in a different manner.

You will just have to find what works best for you in your daily routine.  I began by using PR's pre-doughs that I mixed in the evening and then I did the final mix the following morning followed by a short bulk fermenting than an even shorter proofing period.  That routine changed when I began using sourdoughs and after following a lot of recipes people post here that use the over night bulk retarding method in the refrigerator.  I always make sure my doughs have at least 6 hours of 'wet' time and this method assures that and I get to sleep while it is happening.

Just know you will have a learning curve with anything you do - an adjustment time that may be awkward during which you will want to quit baking all together or simply revert to your old method.....persevere and it will pass :-)

Good Luck,

Janet

 

P.S.  Laurel Robertson also has a great whole grain bread book.  All the recipes use her method of hand kneading but all can adapted to PR's technique or a sourdough routine as well.

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I have been using a DLX for many years now.  It barely shows the wear and tear.  I agree with the advantage of the large open bowl spun by the motor underneath.  When I'm using it I don't get flour all over the place as I regularly do when I use my KA. 

I found my DLX used and at a low price at an estate sale.  If you're not in a hurry, it would be worth the wait.

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Thank you, wonderful bakers, for your comments! I am learning so much. :) Janet, I did use the S&F technique on a second loaf (with 45 minute resting times) and it turned out exquisitely. Mike Avery's videos were tremendously helpful. For comparison I made dough from the same recipe in the Zojirushi, and that loaf was not of the same quality. It had a finer crumb, but not the silkiness and full flavor of the S&F loaf. I did not preferment either loaf for simplicity's sake, but will do that next time. I think true sourdough is the next baking frontier for me!

I will have to check out Peter Reinhart's book -- have seen it mentioned so many times here, by you and others. And thank you for sharing so generously of your time and wisdom! 

Bonnie, no offense taken at the water question. All stones must be turned! I have been adjusting that -- to the point where my favored recipe is pretty much a new formula and won't bake properly in the bread machine. I guess that's a good thing! Thank you also for the tip about the Yahoo group. :) Good stuff.  

Richkaimd, I would looooove to find an Assistent (or a Bosch) at an estate sale. (I actually go to those quite frequently, and the first room I aim for is usually the kitchen!) Wouldn't that be terrific? What a blessing that you found one! I wonder just how many of these wonderful mixers reside in southwestern Idaho?

As for me, I am thinking this S&F method is a good way to go. Making sure I have a good solid 5 hour block of time at home will be key, and thankfully it's quiet, so I can even continue the process during little ones' naps. :)

And the Bosch, sitting so primly in its big box (with attachments) in the living room? I guess I have a little less than a month to figure out what to do with it. We could keep it. If we return, restocking will be $60, plus postage. Or, we could exchange for a DLX with growing room to the tune of $90 or so more (plus return postage). Sell the Zojirushi if so, right? And I didn't mention the 5 year old KA 600 in the pantry (that I am afraid to use for bread). It's in mint condition! Sell if so, right? (We got a great deal on it and purchased partially with a wedding gift card -- thinking we could use it for bread. Since then I have learned to do a lot more research!)

I'll keep cogitating. Thank you again so much for all the terrific input. You have expanded my horizions! :)

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I live in New York but found my DLX in Virginia.  I spent a lot of time hunting around on the net and struck gold.  You can, too!   The cost of the device plus the cost of the shipping came in well under the cost of a new one.

johnr55's picture
johnr55

I have owned Bosch since the late 70's, still have my original Magic Mixer along with an almost-new Universal.  I have owned a DLX since I bought it in the 90's from a Magic Mill dealer.  I have two Compacts.  Heaven only knows, people are opinionated about what they like!  And I am too, I guess.  I use the Bosch much more than the DLX, though I still love the DLX also.  I prefer bread in the Bosch over either the roller or especially the dough hook on the DLX.  But I can do both.  For really small bread recipes, like 1-loaf recipes, I prefer the Compact.  Its spiral hook motion is great with 2 loaves or less and it's so light and easy to bring out and put away!  I still think those little machines are a design miracle.  I see comments on here, though, about the Universal not doing as well with smaller batches of dough as the DLX.  I've certainly made 1-loaf recipes in the Bosch and have had no problem.  For the DLX, of course, you'd use the roller for that.  As someone who's owned both brands for many, many years and used them for dozens or more loaves, they're both great.  BTW where did they get that dopey name, Verona?  I'm glad my DLX doesn't have that on it. 

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

We decided to keep the Bosch, after a lot of hemming and hawing (and hawing and hemming.) There are things I liked about both, but when it came down to it, it seemed like it was pretty much a tossup. Sure, I would have liked a comes-standard stainless bowl, continuous speed control and a timer, but I know the Bosch is a fine machine also -- and after all, it's the one that has been sitting in our house (albeit in the box) for the last two weeks!

In the process, I learned so much about bread making! Perhaps that made this whole process worth it. :) Thanks to everyone who threw their 2, 5 or even 10 cents in. John, it was so helpful to hear from folks like you and Janet who have both. Thanks too, Bonnie, for directing me to the mixer-owners group on Yahoo. What a neat group!

That isn't to say that I wouldn't snap up a DLX found at an estate sale or such for a very good price. They intrigue me, and I'd really like to try one sometime!  

I really appreciate everyone's help, and hope to learn much more about bread here on The Fresh Loaf in the months to come!

Gratefully,

Marguerite

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Marguerite,

Congratulations on settling on a mixer!  Bosch has really good customer service so you are in good hands in the event you ever need yours fixed.

Happy Mixing and Baking :-)

Janet