The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New owner of Verona Assistent

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bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

New owner of Verona Assistent

HELP!!!! Just purchased the Assistent last wk of course everything I read about their manual is true. The DVD is just as bad. Bread Beckers has been a great help w the roller/scraper but they don't have any videos using the new cookie/cake beaters which came with mine. If anybody has used these, could you tell me if you have used it for chocolate chip cookie dough or any other cookie or cake recipes. I would appreciate detailed instructions for speed for
creaming and then mixing all other ingred in. Thanks.

bread lover's picture
bread lover

groups.yahoo.com/group/Mixer-Owners/

 

they helped me get used to my dlx

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Hi Bdatxmama,

I recognize you from the mixer-owners group as well as TFL. So sorry you haven't had many more replies here, or too many there either. Hopefully this post will "bump" your inquiry back into play.

I know you bought your Assistent just a few weeks ago. Did the manual look like this one:  http://www.assistent.nu/Get/Document.aspx?ID=2591&file_name=maual_n30.pdf ? Was a CD with it? Apparently they recently updated the manual, so I'm curious to know if the new one is as cryptic as most people find the old one, if it's the new one you received.

If you don't mind me asking, is it the photo-only approach that makes the manual so little help? Would it be more helpful if there was some explanatory description of how to actually USE the mixer? :)

I do hope you are coming along nicely with the learning curve, and have managed to find a bit more help along the way.

:)

Marguerite

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

Hi Marguerite, that is okay on the helping, everyone is busy as am I, hopefully, I will get some comments here soon.  I will probably be calling the company here in the next few days.  I have gotten a # to talk to someone in the company that can help with the speeds on their machine.  The manual does look like the one you showed in the pdf document.  It did come with the cd.  It only has a photo-only approach in the manual so it did not help at all.  I think if it there was more explanation with it, with regards to when to use what speed and for how long, I think that would be great.  I think I have figured out their little picture of the dial for the speed with the green on one side.  Still it doesn't give me enough info. as to when to use what speed and for how long. 

I made cookies in it using the bread becker videos and that helped me on the speed.  I made bread today but had several interruptions by my children and my 3 loaves turned out terrible.  They taste good but look like little bricks.  I was watching the video as I was making it and had to stop it several times and at one point Ashley says that once you add the flour you have to move pretty quickly, which I think I let it run too long on the first 4 cups of flour. 

Let's see the other two things that went wrong was I forgot to add my sour dough starter.  The recipe I have, if you add a cup of sour dough you have to take out a cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water, so my dough was 1/2 cup short of water plus no sour dough.  Then I ended up moving too quickly with throwing in my flour and added way too much at the end of my mixing and even though I added a couple of tbsp. of water, it still was not enough to fix the fact that my dough was already in a ball instead of in a donut shape.  Oh well, I am going to try tomorrow, but my children are not allowed in the kitchen, to ask me questions (isn't it funny, you come it the kitchen to cook, they have 50 million questions, when your on the phone they have 50 million questions, when your taking a shower, they have 50 million questions, the moment you do need them - no one is around).  I also took lots of notes, so that hopefully along with the video, wl. help me.

Take care.

Peggy

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

...to the little people in the kitchen! I must have giggled as I read your reply, because what you said is so true! They are so dear and such a blessing, but they can challenge your socks off. :) I hope you have been able to get some quiet space to figure things out, and that the call to the manufacturer was also helpful. I'm sure others would love to hear what they had to say!

Blessings to you!

Marguerite

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

I have 5 of them and they are a blessing, some are not quite so little though.  My oldest is almost 16 and my youngest is 4.  I was able to make a second batch the next day and still had issues w. that one too.  I made sure that I did not leave my sour dough out like I did the day before and I followed bread becker's instructions that when the donut follows the arm into the center your dough is ready - no more flour is needed.  I kneaded it for 6 mins. and it was not like bread beckers, it was very sticky and not smooth.  So I decided that because of the sour dough that I did not have enough flour, so I tried adding more, kneaded it again for 4 mins. more, it was still sticky (their video show it being smooth and when you touch it, it was not sticky).  At this point, I was not sure if I should do more flour or not, so I took a chance, what could happen, sure they could end up like my last batch which looked like bricks, but were soft and tasted great.  So I added more flour and kneaded for 4 mins. more, still not looking like theres so I just put in a lot more and next thing I know it was in a ball so I only kneaded it for 2 mins. since they said the ball is to be formed in the last 1 to 2 mins. (even though w. this amount of flour there should not have been a ball, as she stated in one of her videos).  It was really beating my arm and I didn't want to break my arm off, so I moved it in further and that seemed to help.  Once the 2 mins. was up, I took the roller and scraper out and placed it in my oven to rise for an hour.  It doubled nicely but when I went to punch down, it was so sticky my hands was covered in dough, I put some flour on my pad and on my hands and got them into my bread pans, I let them rise for another 30 mins. then 10 mins. on top of the stove while it preheated.  One loaf had risen more than the other two.  I baked on 350 for 30 mins. one had risen just past the edge of the pan and the other two rose only to the edge of the pan.  The bread cracked around the top edge on the two sides and around one end.  I had some yesterday from the taller loaf for a sandwich and it tasted good, it was soft and not too crumbly.  So practice will definitely make perfect.  I think the problem was that I changed my recipe to add in eggs and sour dough, I figured how much water and flour I would need since it says that you have to cut your water down for every egg you add and you have to cut your water and flour dough for how much sour dough.  I did that but forgot my sour dough so I did not have enough liquid, and since the bread beckers video says that you have to move pretty quickly when adding your flour I just started dumping it in too fast and had one to many cups in.  On Wed. I made sure I already had my sour dough measured out, but now I did not take into account that now my dough would be more wet so the amount of flour that I used on Tues. probably would have been perfect for my dough on Wed.  But because I was afraid that I would add too much I just added a little at a time and just lost count as to how much I was actually putting in, which obviously was a lot less than what I thought it was.  Sorry such a long reply, if you have any tips, I would appreciate them!!!!!

Peggy

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I have an Assistent that took a while to master as I was coming from a KA600. I found that the mix times were longer and that I needed to run at as high a speed as possible to get the result I wanted.  For a 1400g, 75% hydration batch using high gluten flour and no autolyse, I mix with the roller and scraper for 8:30 to 9:00 min at speed 6 (the highest speed mark that has an open symbol). Typical dough temperatures are 80-84°F at completion.  A batch takes about 6:30 to finally pull the scraper blade in so that it becomes a significant part of the kneading process and not just a scraper.  When done, the dough is still sticky but the gluten is well developed.  I generally do one stretch and fold at 90 min just to see how it is developing. Sometimes I do a second one at around 2:30.

When I was just getting started with the new mixer I was mixing at lower speeds (typically speed 3) and it was taking 35 to 40 min to get full gluten development.  So increasing the speed is a big deal in terms of mixing time.

When calculating hydration levels, I find that anything liquid counts as water, starter counts in proportion to the water and flour, and anything dry counts as flour.

For an example of mixing a lower hydration dough (55% bagel dough) with the roller and scraper, look here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNHRiHcPgMU

That takes a long time to fully develop as well.

jalyns's picture
jalyns

HI, we are the Canadian Distributor for the Assistent and I just read about your questions for the Assistent.  I have made many batches of cookies with the Assistent.   To use the new cookie beaters I cream the butter, sugar and eggs at a fairly high speed till fluffy then beat more gentle at about 3 oclock to incorporate the other ingredients mixing for a couple minutes. Hope that helps.  I personally have to agree as great as the Assistent is the manual is not so great.  With the popularity of the Assistent in Europe that seems enough. Unfortunately in North America the Assistent is just gaining popularity and we need more information, we at Jalyns are hoping to do a set of videos in Canada soon to help out our NA Assistent friends in the mean time great sites like this are helpful:-)

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

Hi, thank you for your tips, I appreciate that very much.  I finally had to get over my intimidation of having a new machine and just use it.  The Bread Becker's video on their website were very helpful.  So I have made bread twice and done lots of desserts.  My bread making has not gone super, the bread has been fine but learning how to do it has been difficult.  I have not had time to practice in that area as I have w. desserts.  I made pizza dough yesterday and was hasty again and dropped my last 1/2 cup of flour in too quickly and instead of having a ball at the last two minutes of kneading, I had a ball from the beginning.  Bread Beckers says you have to add it in slowly to get the donut effect but the dough looked really sticky so I just threw in that last 1/2 cup and wished I hadn't.  But the dough looks good, did not get to make my pizza last night so I placed it in the fridge and will be making it tonight for dinner.  Keep in touch on your videos, I would love to watch them.  The Bread Becker's I like the best due to the fact that they video from the top of the bowl, as she is adding the ingredients, and you get to see how it looks as she is going along.  I would like to see a new video using the new cake/cookie whisks as they don't have one yet.  Thanks again, love my machine, it was well worth it, I also purchased the slicer shredder attachments and both of my daughters love running cheese through it.  My oldest says it is so much better than grating by hand.  Let me know what your web site is so I can add to my favorites, so I can keep an eye out for the videos.  :0)

jalyns's picture
jalyns

So glad you enjoy your Assistent.   Trust me I have flopped many times at first and still do now and then, thats part of the fun of trying new recipes .....Give your Assitent time as you were told it is different if you are used to another type mixer but before long you will have it mastered and never look back:-) Anyway you can find the Canadian link at www.assistent.ca we have a blog as well where news and recipes are added regularly.

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

I'm looking at purchasing the Assistent mostly because of comments on blogs like this one. What I can't seem to find out is whether I can use it (and how) for pastry, which I make not quite as often as artisan bread. Currently,  I use the paddle attachment for my KA to cut very cold butter into the dry ingredients for either flakey or mealy pie/pastry with the size of the final butter chips determining how flakey or mealy is the crust. That's what I learned at the San Francisco Baking Institute and I've had great luck with the technique.  I'd like to retire my KA, but don't know if the Assistent will replace it for these applications. Can you advise me?

 

 

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

Hi, I was told that it does not do pastry very well.  I do pastry too but not as much and so the Assistent was perfect for me in that aspect.  I just use a pastry cutter to make my pastry (when my KA was working I would use that), it turns out just as delicious as it did w the KA.  I know that this probably doesn't help you on whether you should purchase an assistent or not.  There maybe someone out there that has used the Assistent for pastry but I am not sure how they would do it, the roller and scraper I find work better on softened butter.  The cookie paddles would not work either because I think you would probably break them on cold butter.

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

That's what I had thought. So, obviously, something that works so well for one thing (bread) just isn't as good for everything. That said, can you say, with conviction, that you are pleased with your choice of the Assistent? My husband says he can't figure out what I'm fussing about. Our breads are delicious from the KA. It's an old Hobart model that feels like it's not going to give out quite yet. I think it's lost some of the upper speeds, but I rarely use those.  Is the quality of your output genuinely improved? Is the process better? Or is it just that you can make more of what you bake?

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

I love my assistent, I love everything it makes.  I saw someone elses post on mixer owners, I guess you posted there too and they said that you can use the whisk bowl and flat whisk (I am guessing she was talking about the cookie paddle with the white bowl), but she did say you would have to soften the butter.  I will have to try that sometime and see if it works, but honestly, the cookie paddle will not work once you start adding your liquid because it will break.  I was told that it is designed for really soft doughs and I usually only use it to make cakes, I have been afraid to use it to even make my chocolate chip cookie recipe because the dough seems way to hard and I don't want to break the cookie paddles.  The roller and scraper does an amazing job making cookies anyway.  I wish I had an hobart KA, I loved my KA but it was not a hobart and I broke it twice trying to make bread.  I love homemade whole wheat bread and the KA was just not cutting it at all. The assistent allows me to make large or small batches in it.  I would still love to get my KA fixed again because it was great for doing desserts.  It would be nice to have something extra here so that if my girls want to use the KA to make a dessert, I still have my assistent avail. to make something else.  Have you ever thought about sending your Hobart in to have it checked, maybe, it needs a good oiling, etc. I would probably see if Hobart will take it and give it a thorough check and then have them let you know the cost if it does need any word.  Bake to the quality of output by the machine, compared to my KA I think everything is definitely much better w my new machine.  A friend of mine owns the old Hobart KA and felt that it was time for a new machine, she really liked what I had to say about the Assistent and bought one from a kitchen company over Amazon and she loves it.  She has been using the same recipe for years to make cinnamon rolls and her husband raved on how light they were now w. the new Assistent compared to how they were in the KA.  I do like that I can make six loaves of bread because I usually freeze them for later.  I think that is how I broke my KA in the first place because I was trying to do a double batch in it.  Honestly I read somewhere a couple of years ago when I was looking to purchase a new mixer that one lady has the same KA I have and she was following the bread recipe that comes w. it.  She has broken it everytime and the guy who fixes it told her to stop making bread in it, that it is not designed to make bread.  So w. that being said that made my decision easy that I needed something that was built like a truck to make bread and the Assistent definitely is.  Compared to the bosch is also has more stainless steel parts in it but price wise it is definitely more expensive but for me it was well worth the price.  I think your KA because it is an older model built by a great company, you have a better quality machine than the newer models.  Another friend of ours has the Hobart KA and they have had it for more than 20 years and it is still going strong.  They have come out w. a new KA that is suppose to be even better but don't know much about it. I had the 6 qt. professional and I did not want to take a chance and buy their new commercial one and regret the buy.  I like that I also don't have a huge head of a mixer right in my view to see into the bowl, I like the open bowl concept better.  Anyway, I have run on and on and probably have not helped you make your decision any easier. 

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

Thanks for all your information. I know I'm fretting much too much about what should be a straight-forward decision. So I appreciate your comments. 

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

No problem.  I don't think you are frettting at all.  I read all the comments on the mixer owners group on yahoo that they sent to you and it sounds like you can make pastry in the DLX.  I will have to try it next time that I need to make my dough. I think you should always take your time when it comes to an expensive purchase.  When I got my KA it was a quick decision and I have regretted that decision ever since.  So when I broke it the second time, I did my homework, I looked all over the internet, posted my questions here and on mixer owners.  I got a lot of mixed messages on whether I should get a bosch or a DLX (you are either a bosch lover or a dlx lover), but what helped my decision in the end was Bread Becker's.  They said that the DLX that they bought first is still going strong but their bosch lasted only 15 years. Now, they use theirs a whole lot more than I use mine, but that was the first main reason.  The second is that the bosch has more plastic internal parts vs the DLX and the bosch company was the one that said that they have plastic internal parts.  I am pretty sure the DLX either has none and it is all stainless steel inner parts or it has way less plastic internal parts than a bosch.  Anyway, I liked the fact that I could make bread in it and make lots of it, I also can make dessert and make lots of that as well.  I use that cheese grater a lot for it, so that is also quite handy.  In the end I probably could have bought the bosch because it could have done everything that I needed as well, but I am glad that I bought the DLX.

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Peggy, I hope things are coming along beautifully with the Assistent by this point! You've had such wonderful input from the folks here. :)

I just ran across this posting on a pizza making board, I thought it might also be helpful regarding mixing speeds, time frames, etc.: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7605.0.html. Though it begins in the "pizza" context, it also covers bread a bit later. It's quite detailed, and also very interesting, with contributions from an Assistent pro.

 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Thanks for helping me decide on whether to buy an Assistent or "some other brand."  Jalyns, I'm looking forward to following your blog and seeing the videos.  My purpose is mainly bread, challah in large batches, "Vienna" style dough, mixed-grain sourdoughs with "white" and rye starters, and those tough guys--bagels.  I've got the attachments I want for my K/A Pro 6, so I'd probably just get the basics, and I bake very little in the way of pastry and cookies.  I've been lucky enough to have a friend who loaned me her trusty old Assistent, and I've found it so easy to mix up both challah and sourdough (bagels are next).  I watched the Bread Beckers video and also the Assistent manufacturer's videos (Swedish name beginning with "A") a few times, and they really helped me get the hang of it.  The challah dough actually took a little less flour than I would normally use in my recipe using my K/A, and the dough and subsequent baked loaves were slightly less dense than usual--beautiful crumb and great flavor.  I didn't find the need to mix longer than I usually do.  I do have a concern with price, and the "other brand" is several hundred dollars less, also has a 7-qt capacity and is highly rated and prized by its owners.  And it's more like the K/A in its operation, so much less of a learning curve.  So I shouldn't be complaining, really (two good options), but it's difficult to decide.

Kate1239's picture
Kate1239

hi, FWIW, I created my own mini-manual for my new Assistent Original, using the pictures and then following with the written instructions from the N-28 manual.  I also used descriptions of each of the accessories I bought.  I'm laminating these sheets to keep in the kitchen.  I find the internet videos are very helpful.

bdatxmama's picture
bdatxmama

Hi, I appreciate the advice, where did you get the N-28 manual?

Kate1239's picture
Kate1239

"Visit www.assistent.nu for more information." 

Click on "Products" tab.

Click on "Manuals".

When I received my machine and attachments, inside the attachments boxes were additional instructions, showing all the parts numbered.

My personal manual (for my use and to inform my heirs that they had better not just stick this in a flea market!) is on 8 1/2 x 11 paper encased in clear plastic with holes in a 3-ring binder.  It includes:

From the basic manual:

 - Important Safeguards, and Safety Instructions

- All advertising pictures and descriptions

-- for the displayed accessories, I marked which accesory kits I did not buy.

- Features of the Assistent and the basic written instructions provided in the main manual on all accessories

- A page just on cleaning the equipment

- Then for each equipment set, I have the pictorial instructions, and at the top of the page I list what can go in the dishwasher, and what must be washed by hand.

-- Bowl, roller, scraper and spatula

-- Dough hook (which I annotated to say it is used only for very tough doughs)

-- Double beater & Cake & Cooke Beater (with picture labeled)

--Grinder, with note that vegetables should be parboiled prior to mincing.

----From the grinder box, I included the picture of the grinder assembly with all parts, and then listed all grind plates, with a description of its intended use:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

for example: 

4.5 mm - regular grind plate because most common sausages fit into this category.  It's also what you would use for grinding hamburger

2.5 mm - used for fine mincing, such as for fine ground and emulsion type sausages like salami and pepperoni (for 2nd grind after 1st grind with 6 mm or 8 mm plate)

6 mm - coarse ground sausages like Italian sausage or kielbasa; sometimes used for Round 1 grinding

8 mm - coarse grind, used for Round 1 before using 2.5 mm fine grind

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I retyped the complete Assembly and Cleaning instructions for the Grinder.

-- Sausage Stuffer

-- Strainer (and again I included the parts breakdown found in the strainer's box, which included detailed instructions on its installation and cleaning.

-- (Hard) Grater with parts breakdown and instructions found in Grater box

-- Pasta Discs

-Vegetable Slicer has pictorial instructions. 

--next page I show all pictures of drums for vegetable slicer and annotate as to appropriate use

-- That is followed by parts and assembly breakdown.  I then added a table that refers to the numbers given for parts in the diagram

5. Medium Drum  -  root vegetables and green vegetables for consumption raw. 

                                     - Almonds and nuts for baking.

                                     - Fruit (apples) and cheese.

6. Slicing Drum - Potatoes for Ferench fry chips, onions, root vegetables.

                                 - Fruit and Green vegetables: cabbage, radish, carrots.

7. Coarse Shredding Drum - Root vegetables (potatoes to "rosti", cabbage, soup-vegetables.  Green vegetables

                                                       - Fruit for soups and pies: apples, pears

                                                       - Almonds, nuts and bar chocolate for toppings (coarse chop)

                                                      - Cheese and cheese rinds.

8. Fine Shredding Drum - hard cheese, nuts, chocolate, stale bread.

9. Stripping Drum - For celery, carrots

10. Potato Shredding Drum - Grating potatoes for potato pancakes

-- The next page has the assembly and cleaning instructions typed in English

-- The next page has the safeguards

========================================================

This system is working well for me. .

Melesine's picture
Melesine

What a great idea of setting up a home manual for your heirs. My daughter has finally started using my assistent.