The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice for purchase of a new mixer--again!

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joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Advice for purchase of a new mixer--again!

OK, I've joined the club--that is the searchers for new mixers.  My 10-year-old K/A is still OK but starting to make squeaky noises, mostly at the join plate next to the body where the back of the bowl snaps down.  I've had it serviced twice in the past couple of years and am now observing the rules (y'know--the manual) and staying in second gear (er-speed).  But now I want something with more oomph and larger capacity; 7 qt. seems just about right for my kitchen, as I want to be able to make more loaves than the three 1.5-lb ones that the K/A can handle (but, remember, it's starting to squeak!).  And I want a better kneading action.  I've read a lot of posts on TFL, looked online (Pleasant Hill Grain, www.webstaurantstore.com, E-bay).  (I learned that Cyril Hitz likes the Viking.)  If you've had experience with the Vollrath 7-qt. table model 40755, the Pro-7 qt. Viking, the Waring WSM7Q (7 qt) or the Electrolux DXL 7 qt, I'd love to hear it.  Already have read lots about the Bosch Universal, but, hey, feel free!  The Waring online is very, very reasonable!  (Surprisingly, I just heard from a local friend who dissed the DXL--I'm going to give it a test run in a couple of weeks).  I want to buy this mixer within a month or so, so I'd love to hear all your stories.  Actually, I've volunteered as team captain for a group who'll bake many, many challah loaves for a giant Food Fair our synagogue is putting on this coming August 19 (if you're in the vicinity of Santa Rosa, CA, keep your eyes peeled.)!

Thanks!  --Joyful

Comments

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I have seldom been as happy with a purchase as I have been with my DLX. I bought from Pleasant Hill Grains a little more than a year ago, and their service was excellent. When I called them recently to order the new cake and batter whisk, the lady I talked to was as nice as could be. The new whisk is included with the mixer.

The mixing and kneading with the standard SS bowl and roller/scraper is fascinating in its action. I seldom make more than 2.5kg (5.5lb) of dough at a time, so seldom use the dough hook. The roller and scraper give a stretch, twist, and squeeze action. I have made cakes and cookies using the roller with no problems. The lighter plastic bowl for the whisking is easier to pour with, with its handle and spout projection. For a cheesecake, I think the roller does a better job of creaming and folding in without causing large bubbles.

The whisks are used with the included bundt-like pan shaped bowl, much like the Bosch (the beater drive looks the same).

I don't have any of the accessories, so can't speak to their values. I can offer an unconditional recommendation in favor of the DLX for anyone wanting to machine mix and knead bread dough; even large amounts of stiff dough such as for bagels. If you have another, more conventional mixer, I have little doubt it will soon be relegated to the back of the cupboard.

cheers,

gary

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Joyul,

I, too, am a thrilled customer of Pleasant Hill Grains and I also purchased my DLX from them.

My previous mixer was a Bosch Universal.  I replaced it with the DLX because of how it handled smaller quantities of dough, sticky doughs, high hydration doughs and stiff doughs.....

I bake bread daily and have been more than pleased with with DLX.  It handles ANY size of dough I toss into it and is great a breaking up my stiff leavens.  (I use the roller to initially mix everything and then switch out and use the hook to complete the kneading once the autolyze phase has been completed.)  

I have not used it for anything other than doughs for bread so sorry I can't speak about it in that arena.

The quality is superb.  The ss bowl is included - not an extra cost as it is with the Bosch if you want one.  I love the varied speeds.  Boach had only 4 speeds whereas the DLX can be set at any speed you want.  I also love the timer.  If I want 5 minutes of kneading - it is done with a simple turn of a dial.  I love that it doesn't walk around on my counter - I can actually go into another room to get something without worrying that I will hear a huge clatter in my absence.... I love that it is quiet, that it is a snap to clean, that the bowl is totally open and flour etc. don't get tossed out of it without a lid in place and that there is no center column to navigate around when removing dough once it is kneaded.

In short, I LOVE this machine :-)

Good Luck in your search.

Janet

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, joyful.

I have the Universal Plus. It has a very powerful motor, is pretty quiet and rocks and rolls but doesn't walk. I understand this model is improved over the older Universal model I suspect Janet had.

The truth is, I still use my KitchenAid more often, but for stiff doughs (challot, bagels) and for large batches (more than 4 lbs of dough), I always use the Bosch. I did get the SS bowl, mostly because I think it's a little easier to clean.

I don't think you could go wrong with either the DLX, from what I've heard from users like Janet, or the Bosch.

I haven't used the Bosch for small batches, and some say this is a problem. I also bought my Bosch from Pleasant Hill Grains, and they seem to know what they sell, so I would go with their advice. I chose the Bosch over the DLX mostly because they reported problems with getting service from the US distributor of the DLX. That issue may be resolved now, but ask.

I'm sorry I can't help you with the other machines you mentioned.

David

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

...as I have no experience with any of these (dont'cha love the interweb?), but the Waring looks like a bargain to me. For that price, you could buy it, hate it, sell it, and probably come pretty close to breaking even.

I have ordered from webrestaurantstore.com and will do so again. Shipped fast, good pricing, happy with what I bought.

Your captain of team Challah? Is there a team Rugalech and do they need a taste tester? ;)

Crider's picture
Crider

Check out the Cuisinart 7 qt. and see if it is the same thing.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Wow, what a wonderful group TFL'ers are!  Gary, Janet, David, tn gabe, Crider, my thanks for your help!  All anyone can do is speak from experience, as every brand wants us to buy.  Gary, I do make bagels regularly, and I even saw a youtube of the DLX mixing bagels--what a different sort of action from the K/A!  David, it does sound like the Bosch Universal has made improvements, as indicated on the Pleasant Hill Grain site.  I have already begun a dialog with their customer service and will follow up.  Janet, you definitely are "in love" with that DLX.  I'll be able to know more when I "test drive" my friend's in a couple of weeks.  tn gabe, no plans for rugelach for this fair, but there will be coffee cake and flourless chocolate cake (I'll ask if they need a taste tester!), and they're ordering babka from somewhere called "Green's" in the East (Philly, I think).  Somewhere on TFL, I read that the Waring is made in China, so maybe that's the reason for the bargain.  Crider, I also saw on TFL good reviews about the Cuisinart.  I also read (TFL again) that Viking is Cyril Hitz' choice--but also read the company is stopping production of the mixers.  Wonder how much is truth and how much hearsay.  So much to research in the coming weeks to do!  This is a big purchase, so I want to be sure I'm getting something that will be a "big brother/sister" to my K/A Pro 6.  

Thank you all! --Joyful

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Joyful,

My Bosch is relatively new.  I bought it a couple of years ago when I first started baking as I had never heard of a DLX until I discovered this site.....I used the Bosch for over a year and struggled with the decision about replacing it so soon.  During the process I did purchase a Bosch Compact to use for smaller doughs and I really love it for a lot of things now due to the ease of using it and how light it is.  My daughter uses it regularly when she bakes cookies and brownies and loves it too.

I still ended up with the DLX though and bought it last summer.  I bake daily - small amounts of dough and large amounts of dough so it has been well used and my only regret is that I didn't know about it 2 years ago when I bought the Bosch.

Just to let you know about Bosch and PHGrains.  Bosch has an exclusive contract with them which means that their profit from selling them is higher than it is with other mixers.  In fact, due to the contract,  the DLX can't appear on their Home menu page. The only way I knew they offered them too was by doing a 'site search'.

I know the decision is tough.  Only way to do it is to 'jump off of the cliff' and see what happens.  Sounds like you have done a lot of research already so you are way ahead of where I was a couple of years ago.

Good Luck and Have Fun,

Janet

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Hi Joyful,

I love your ID; what a fun name. :)

We also began with the KA Pro 600. I never got to the point of making bread with it, because I learned (after the warranty expired) that it had a plastic gear box and was terrified of wrecking it and any potential resale value. However, I've since learned that there is a place online (both ebay and on their own site) that sells lots and LOTS of replacement parts for KAs. The parts are all very reasonable, and if you or someone you know is reasonably mechanical, it might not be a huge job to fix what is ailing your mixer -- and more cheaply than a shop could do it.  (The website is: http://www.mendingshed.com/). However, since you've had it "doctored" twice already, I understand your readiness to move on.

My hubby bought us a new Bosch Universal for Christmas because a neighbor has one (and she makes wonderful bread.) We hadn't even heard of the DLX/Assistent, but found out about it here once the purchase was made. (We went through a brief "Should we return this and switch?" dilemma before using it, however! There's a thread about that.)

The Bosch has been just fine, though it did need a repair right away (a belt issue). I can now attest that the customer service is terrific, just as you may have read from others. I have been able to do a single loaf no problem (4 1/2 cups flour by volume - haven't tried less), and of course more is no problem either. Cookie dough will tend to clump around the center column when using the cookie paddles, but there is now an optional bowl scraper attachment that takes care of both the column and the sides of the bowl when mixing cookies, batters or the like.

I must admit that once we decided to go with the Bosch and subsequently unboxed it, I was a bit dismayed at how plastic it is. (Well, duh, of course it is....) Maybe that was more true of the accessories (we have the blender and slicer attachment) than the main unit, which is sturdy enough. Perhaps it's that common perception that something metal is more valuable than something plastic that got me. I know there are folks who have used their Bosch machines for decades with no problems and absolutely love them, so that gave me some peace of mind. Also, the fact that the bowl is light and has a rim around it makes it very easy to pick up and maneuver once removed from the mixer, a real plus if you have just kneaded quite a few pounds of dough. :)

Operationally, the Bosch is quite straightforward. There isn't much "technique" to master (though there is a little), and most people seem to get it quickly. For some folks the Assistent does have a steeper learning curve. I'm sure you've read some of those types of posts, which generally have a hopeful but frustrated tone to them. Maybe that's why your friend isn't gung-ho on his or her Assistent? Most owners seem to figure it out sooner or later, with the help of online videos, others and experimentation.

From what I've read, the Bosch excels at lower hydration doughs, and the DLX/Assistent at higher hydration. If you really want to get into an in-depth research expedition, check out the mixer-owners group at Yahoo. Quite a few regular posters there do have both types of mixers, and can give you a good sense of what each excels at. Better yet, do a search on something like Bosch vs. DLX in the older posts. There is actually information overload there!

If I had to do it over again, I think I'd want to try them both out. It's terrific that your friend will let you test drive the DLX they own! Do check return policies with different companies. Some are very generous, others are not. Just in case! :)

Personally, if I ever found a used DLX at an unbelievably affordable price somewhere, it would be hard to pass it up. They intrigue me with their elegant simplicity, durability and reputation! However, the Bosch is doing a fine job without a lot of fuss, and that's worth a lot.

Happy hunting, Joyful!

Marguerite

warren's picture
warren

I have the Bosch Universal and I love it.  I have used it to mix up to 8 pounds of dough and it wasn't  even straining. This was for a 4 dozen batch of Hammelman's hot cross buns. Just used it this afternoon to make 2 dozen dinner rolls ( Reinhart's light wheat bread recipe) and it worked great. Have not tried on higher hydration doughs, but will give it a whirl soon. Plastic hasn't been a problem for me.

isand66's picture
isand66

I have the Bosch Universal as well.  I bought this after both of my KA mixers wore out the plastic gear.  I have since replaced both of them myself with the help of a friend and my wife banned me from using them for bread!

I have used the Bosch for high hydration doughs without a hitch so I have no idea why someone would say it does not handle this type of dough.  If you are making small batches of dough it is not the best but for most recipes it works perfectly for me.

In my opinion the plastic bowl is actually better than the steel since if you let the dough dry in the bowl it peels right off without having to do any heavy scrubbing.

 

Good luck in your search.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I so appreciate your responses, my TFL "colleages."  Janet, Warren, Marguerite and isand66--your remarks are so helpful.  I found your comments about Bosch and PHG so interesting, Janet.  BTW, I did write to their customer service about the Viking and found out that they have just a few left and will sell those and then that's it, as Viking is no longer making mixers.  I will check out the mixer owners Yahoo group; thanks Marguerite for that suggestion.  I found www.breadbeckers.com and www.breadforlife.com to be very informative sites (found those on some old posts on TFL).   The former has videos of both machines operating, and the second has writers expressing their choices and reasons for them.  Clearly both Bosch and Electrolux are the top two choices, and I think either would work well for me.  I'll be sure to post my decision when it's made.

Thanks one and all!

Joyful.