The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Commercial Mixer recommendation?

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Commercial Mixer recommendation?

Hi, all.

A somewhat unusual question for most, but I'm confident we have maybe some former or even still current professional bakers "on board" who might be able to help me out.

I bake breads for the local Farmers Market. Right now, I mix my doughs in 13-quart stainless steel bowls and Stretch&Fold them on the counter. It's somewhat difficult to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients in the bowls, especially when I get to 18 pounds of dough. Since I might actually start making even larger batches, I'm wondering if I should look at getting a 30-qt commercial mixer (or maybe a 20-qt would still be big enough?). I know that Hobart is top of the line, but since I would only be using the mixer for a couple of minutes at lowest speed, do I need a Hobart? Are there other brands out there that might give me what I'm looking for, at a lower price?

I'm pretty sure I'd continue the S&F even if I had a mixer that could handle the large volume of dough. The kind of breads I make develop awesomely when prepared on the bench as opposed to in a bowl. But, I would need something that would make it easy for me to combine the dry ingredients with the water and then incorporate the salt and/or dry yeast later.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations you might have.

Stephan

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Based upon your description, I would be looking for a 30 quart Hobart mixer.  Better to go easy on a 30 quart than to push a 20 quart to its limits.  There are most defnitely other brands out there and if you were not mixing bread dough, it might be worth your while to look into those.  For bread, I would stick with Hobart.

Jeff

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Stephan,

If it's any help I bought a 20 quart re-conditioned Hobart in UK for £300 and paid just less than £100 for transportation to my house.

The machines are rock solid, so buying used makes sense to me.   They don't break down like other machines, so I'd rather have a good second hand machine than a new one which is not up to the same spec.

Make sure you buy a machine wired for use in your kitchen if you look at a bigger machine

Best wishes

Andy

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Conventional: Around here, at least, a used 40qt Hobart goes for pretty much the same price as a used 30qt. With batch sizes of 18 lbs plus and growing, go as big as you can afford (IMHO). You'll find that your batch sizes magically grow to match your mixing capacity.

Not so much (this one needs a little bit of back story): Last year, I dropped into a boulangerie located in a touristy sea-side type of town. Their bread was amazing in taste, variety, and sheer prettiness. As I was chatting up the owner, I heard what sounded sort of like a mixer, but wasn't. The owner noticed the look on my face and invited me on back to see their process.

At this point, I should say that they were using very wet doughs, similar to a no-knead style. Their "mixer" was a construction-grade beast of a drill fitted with a bit that was designed for mixing mortar. They would dump water into a 127 liter (qt) proofing container (with a hose no less). Add yeast and salt. Mix a little, add flour. Mix a minute or so, and move on to the next container. Batches ranged from 25Kg (55lbs) to 37kg (81lbs).

They started using the drill when their 80qt Hobart (that should have been in a museum) went on the fritz. As they were waiting on parts, they came up with this temporary solution that became permanent.

I looked into the costs: The drill is under $300 and the bit is $30.

This process obviously won't work on stiffer doughs, or doughs that require an extended mixing time.

You might also want to look into local food safety laws to see if this is even an option.

Cheers

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Paul,

I love that you mention the "mixer". I had actually considered a setup similar to that after having used a drill attachment for mixing up my Sairset mortar while building my oven last year. I might have to have a special hook made here at the welding shop, but that wouldn't be a problem. And I would need either heavier bowls or a way to keep them from spinning...

Food Safety Laws wouldn't be a problem, since I am considered "home-baking" and my kitchen does not fall under the Health department's rule (although I would want my food still to be safe, of course).

I'd prefer to go the mixer route, but like to have different options available. Since I work with mostly higher-hydration doughs, this might be an alternative... $300 vs. $2,000 for a used Hobart. Plus, the Hobart takes up a lot of floor space - sigh.

Thanks, Paul!

 

Stephan

simon3030's picture
simon3030

Hi, speaking as an ex-Hobart employee (UK, 10 years), they are recommended. There are cheaper alternatives, made by folk like Electrolux, Metcalfe etc, and some are imported, made in the Far East, and look a bit like Hobarts...

Their main advantage is the torque as the majority of the older machines use a gearbox drive, rather than a belt. They will manage dough prettty well, but have a weight limit for each bowl size; I had several customers claim under warranty, but when examined, the 'key' had broken - this is the weakest link in the drive, and is designed to break when overloaded, rather than break a gear. As the motor is horizontal at the top of the mixer, it just drives through a 3 speed box and planetary.

The main issue with old mixers is you're never sure of their maintenance history.....the main advantage is there are so many out there. If it has no guard and just a 'toggle' on-off switch, it is probably over 40 years old. The later ones had a No Volt Release on off - Green & Red buttons; since 1992 (in the UK) they had to have an interlocked safety guard, as well.

Still made in Barnstaple, Devon, as far as I know.

Bigger dough mixers don't have a planetary action - i.e. the beater/hook rotates one way, whilst the planetary rotates the other; spiral mixers used in commercial bakeries have a fixed hook and blade, and the bowl rotates - easier to manage the dough kneading in such quantity.

Bear in mind that all planetary mixers are classed as general purpose mixers, rather than specifically for dough. you might want to look here...http://www.hobart.ca/spec-selector/assets/pdf/F-7701.pdf and here http://www.hobartuk.com/sites/all/files/site/pdfs/planetary-mixer-range.pdf

You can buy smaller bowls & tools for larger mixers, with an adapter ring - e.g. if you have a 20 quart/litre machine (A200 or similar) you can get a set of 12 quart accessories for it, and similarly a set of 20 quarts for a 30 quart mixer.

ken mitchell's picture
ken mitchell

Hi Stephan

I use a Hobart C100, 10 quart mixer and work with 10 pound batches. Based upon my experience at SFBI, I would recommend looking into a spiral type of mixer, not a planetary type. The spiral mixer should have multiple speeds and have a bowl that will turn both directions. With the ability to reverse the bowl, incorporation is much easier as is add ins such as soakers, raisins, olives, etc.. These mixers will cost more than a planetary mixer but will do a much better job with bread mixing and development. They come in many different sizes and brands. If you are a member of BBGA, you can get alot of information from working bakers. If you are not a member of BBGA, I would recommend doing so since you are baking bread a the levels you plan to in the future.

Good luck,

 

Ken Mitchell

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

Hobart schmobart! Old is old and tired & worn out is tired & worn out regardless of brand. That being said, if you can find a Ho in good shape, go for it, but for a lot of sellers Hobart = overpriced. I bought a used offbrand for about $400 and even after a repair bill almost double that, I've got a very dependable 30 qt mixer for under $1200. 30qt is likely 110v and 1 phase instead of 40qt being 220v and possibly 3 phase, also 40 qt mixers seems to be much less common 30qt or 60qt. Don't even think about 20 qt - too small.

Obviously, if you just make dough and have the $ and 3 phase power in your home, then the suggestion to get a spiral mixer is great. You do have 3 phase power at your house right? ;) 

Added bonus to the planetary (which is of course inferior for bread) is that you can get attachments for it, like on KA but bigger. I'm getting a meat grinder for mine and taking my fermentation from wheat to meat!

moussky's picture
moussky

Does anyone have experience with Berkel, Vollrath, Globe or other non-Hobart

10-quart mixers?  We are still looking  - and would greatly appreciate comments.

German-made mixers are interesting, but 7 to 10 quart ones quite expensive.

Opinions please?   

acrosley's picture
acrosley

Hello,

For a great Artisian bread mixer, check out Empire's Spiral Mixers, (http://www.empirebake.com/bakery-mixing-equipment.asp).  They are a little higher capacity than what you're discussing - starting at the equivalent of around 50qts - but they are built to last and are very gentle on your dough.

We recently had an article featured in theBakeryNetwork.com newsletter as well if you're interested.  It can be found here:  http://www.thebakerynetwork.com/great-baking-starts-great-mixer.

Best Wishes,
Alan Crosley