The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Which mixer is best for me?

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FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

Which mixer is best for me?

I am a bit stuck. 

I had the Bosch compact but it become defective with the accessories hitting the bowl.  Some people seem to have this problem while most others don't.  At least from the information I have gathered.  

I went ahead and bought a Kitchenaid Proline 7Qt Stand Mixer to replace the Bosch. I got a pretty fair price on it.  From the start the dough hook didn't fit on the mixer and the beater was missing nylon coating in certain areas like it was worn off.  After two weeks of waiting for parts I finally got around to turning it on and mixing some dough. It was a light loaf of around 623g of APF and about 355g of water.   This is a recipe my Bosch could handle without issue.  The Kictehaid though, even for being a $600 mixer struggled under this load.  It just sounded as if it was struggling and only on the second setting.   The bosch shows no noticeable strain at all.  I got done with my 5 or so minutes of kneading and it did an OK job.  Still some dry areas in the dough which the bosch never have me but we could have just added a few more minutes or maybe a bit more water.  I am finishing up.  I get my dough ready to proof and of course I notice there are metal scrapings all at the base of the mixer.  Seems as the metal bowl rubled around under strain it scraped a bunch of metal of the mixer and the bowl.  Great.  Then I notice that there is metal dust in the connector portion of the dough hook. Using a Q-Tip allowed me to get it out and there was a lot. That likely comes from the rubbing between the dough hook and the connector piece.  These are both really unacceptable so this one is going back. 

 

The Bosch Universal looks nice but it doesn't seem to handle small batches well and the special bowl with the hooks coming from the bottom center doesn't look very impressive.  Plus that area is bound to leak grease over time.  An experience I have had with similair products like bread machines from Cuisinart. 

The Ankarsrum looks nice but is more expensive again.  The plastic bowl is made of BPA and the accessories like the dough hook seem to be aluminum rather than stainless steel like everybody else use.  The dough roller seems like a nice feature but the rubber ring at the top looks like something that will in time wear down and dry out and start to get into the food.  I also can't seem to find any accounts of getting service done on these.  Where do we have to send it when it breaks?  Do they pay shipping, is the service fast?

 

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

BPA: Not an issue unless you make it one. the US FDA, European Union, Australia and New Zealand, UN WHO, Canada and damned near everyone else have found the use of BPA in plastics to be safe. It's up to you.

The Assistent dough hook is made of 10mm stainless steel.

The roller is the primary mixer/kneader. When kneading dough, the roller does not ride against the bowl's rim. When mixing batters and liquids, there is little, if any wear on the drive rubber. In three years use once or twice a week, i have seen no evidence of wear or of the rubber losing its elasticity.

I have no experience being in need of service nor have I heard first person accounts of service issues; its always, "I heard ...".

If I ever need service, I will call Pleasant Hill Grain for advice. I do, however, expect my Assistent to outlast both them and myself.

cheers,

gary

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

Hi Gary and thanks for your comment.  As for BPA I don't know if it's an issue.  I consider all plastics to be bad and would always prefer stainless steel bowls.  It's better for us and the environment.  I don't really know if BPA is safe or not.  I just know it has to be better without it, though considering it's replacement does not do more damage than BPA does now. 

Glad to hear of the roller as well.

 

I'm glad to hear that the dough hook is not aluminum as I have read.  Do you know anywhere it may state this so I can read a bit more on it.  Searching hasn't found me much. 

suave's picture
suave

Do you have any idea what making of stainless steel entails?  It is not all rainbows and unicorns either.

dsadowsk's picture
dsadowsk

This is from the FDA website at  http://www.fda.gov/%20newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm064437.htm

  • FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. These steps include:
    • supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
    • facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
    • supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
  • FDA is supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.
  • FDA is seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA.
gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

From your reference:

Quote:
Studies employing standardized toxicity tests have thus far supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA. However, on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. In cooperation with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA. (emphasis added)

The bolded text is consistent with findings from around the world. This, "on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects," tells me they are going to torture the product until it gives up the answer they want.

My take is that the BPA question is political, not chemical or physiological. Until and unless a direct causal correlation is found through well designed trials, and not from observation or tweaking the data, This simply reeks of a politically driven agendum or an attempt to expand bureaucratic powers.

As I said earlier, if it bothers you, avoid it. Telling ghost stories to scare one another does no one any good.

cheers,

gary

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

The State of California would not agree with your assessment.

Jeff

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/California-decides-chemical-BPA-is-toxic-4428719.php

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

California and I disagree on many things. I can't think of another state that has so often jumped the gun without proper evidence.

N.B. The lead photo's caption reads, "Orinda resident Greg Kelly looks for a number seven, which represents containers with BPA …". Not true. The "7" labels plastics that do not fall into the other categories. BPA is only one of many ingredients that are relegated to that class, and may or may not be present.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I agree, California has put labels on everything from shoe polish to tooth brushes as being potential causes of cancer.  The problem with all these labels is that they are so prolific that consumers learn to ignore them, they are just background noise much like the pictures on every cigarette package are only seen by non smokers.

Gerhard

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

It's another politically motivated fiasco, like the agitation that led to rotenone (an organic pesticide) being dropped by manufacturers who were bullied into it via fear of the high cost of having to perform new tests - so that the result is that the USDA still considers rotenone to be an allowable organic pesticide, but nobody in the USA manufactures it for that purpose anymore.

You can, however, still buy liquid rotenone by the barrel to use for the worst possible application of this organic pesticide, eg fish kills.  Fer cryin' out loud ....

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Organic does not equal healthy, cyanide is an organic compound but healthy?

Gerhard

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I had thought that the fact that the USDA still considers rotenone to be an acceptable organic pesticide - as in approved for use on fruits and veggies that are to be certified organic - would have covered that base.  So let me point that out explicitly, since the need to do so seems to be there - the USDA considers rotenone to be an acceptable pesticide for use on produce intended for human consumption that is to be certified organic.

EDIT:  *expression of sparkling, dry, wry wit follows*

Oddly, cyanide and arsenic are not included on that list.  Go figure.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

The difference likely lies with rotenone being quickly degraded in only a few days after application, whereas arsenic and cyanide are long lived non-organic (though naturally occurring) compounds. Pyrethrum is another organic, plant derived insecticide approved for the "Organic" label.

cheers,

gary

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Hmmm, no recognition of my sparkling, dry, wry wit.  Oh well.  LOL!

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

The breadth and depth of ignorance where "natural" and "organic" are concerned is truly Homeric in scope. It is usually best to assume the worst. :-(

cheers,

gary

gerhard's picture
gerhard

So is cyanide found in almonds, apple seed, peach pits....... a non-organic compound?  Not trying to be argumentative just always thought that those were organic sources.

Gerhard

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Inorganic cyanide is usually in the form of a cyanide salt, which can release a cyanide ion (cyano group). These are highly toxic. The  organic forms are called nitriles and are covalently linked to a carbon group and seldom release a cyanide ion. The cyanide ion is simply carbon and nitrogen, as -CN.

Any more on organic chemistry and I'll have to start making things up as I did poorly when I studied it 50 years ago.

proth5's picture
proth5

including "because I can" own a good quality Kitchen Aid, a Haussler spiral and have recently acquired an Assistant (Anskarum).

Of course, when it comes to bread, a spiral can't be beat.  It is, however, a costly option (and I have also owned an SP5 from TMB Baking - which is a very sad story and broke down never to be repaired. Very few people have owned both the SP5 and the Haussler - and let me tell you there is no comparison - the Haussler is far superior in every way) so I use that. But without an attachment kit it will do nothing but bread mixes.  A spiral does one thing - but it does it very, very well.

But I am really starting to love the Assistant because I do a lot more "stuff" than bread. It handles small loads excellently. Some day I will give it a workout on bread - but its performance on my other tasks has me absolutely sold.  If I could own only one mixer - it would be the Assistant.  Yes, big footprint (but not as big as the Haussler) and high price (not nearly what the Haussler has) but it performs beautifully.

I am also very well versed in hand mixing techniques and still love the Haussler for breads. If you do cakes, cookies, confections and etc. you need more than a spiral and for cakes hand mix is problematic. If you are using a mixer for only a couple of loaves of bread a week - you probably don't even need it.  But we all need our toys and I fully understand that, too.

I've done larger bread mixes in a Pro Kitchen Aid - and although they got done, I had a great deal of trepidation about the thing. A real Hobart would have handled them with ease. So, yes, I have also worked with Hobarts (as well as other commercial mixers) and real "industrial grade" spirals.

I'm not of the target group that need fear BPA's so I haven't looked into that aspect -so I won't comment on that. I know that people have strong feelings about BPA and I will not mix in.

I will also comment that Pleasant Hill Grain as an outstanding supplier.  Yes, you can save a few bucks (maybe) going through another source, but, you need to ask yourself if it is worth it in the long run.

About the only mixer I have not worked with is the Bosch, so take this gap in my knowledge for what it is worth.

You need to determine what you want a mixer to do to determine what is best. (And frankly, depending on your timeframe - something "better" is bound to come along a few years and you will do "hand smack to forehead" in any case.)

My opinions only and I hope they are helpful.

Good luck with your choice.

 

Dreasbaking's picture
Dreasbaking

I've had no problems with the Universal doing small batches.  Good luck with your purchase.

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

That's good to hear.  So many people complain about it.  What do you consider small batches.  I'd love to just get the Universal because it seems perfect but people say that for 1 or two loaves at a time it doesn't do that well.

Dreasbaking's picture
Dreasbaking

To be honest, I've done mainly larger batches of bread with it.  And I do mainly whole grain. But I have done single loaves, probably about a pound and a half of whole grain sour dough with no problems.  It's also handled a smaller pizza dough with a starter with little problem.  I will admit that I had to scrape the pizza crust down a bit, but that was mostly because the starter is tough to combine into the liquid - it was still easier than messing around with that dough in my kitchen aid (ended up doing it by hand instead of in the Kitchenaid).    I'd rather deal with the occasional scraping for small doughs than dealing with a Kitchenaid that can't handle a pound and a half of dough. 

I have no problems with it for single batch cookie doughs - i use the cookie paddles and the scrapers for cookies. 

If you generally liked your Compact, then I'd guess you will most likely love the Universal.  I'm curious - how long did you have the Compact before having problems with it?  Bosch is currently is extending the basic Universal warranty to 4 years.

Now, with all of that said, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I do home bread demonstrations using the Universal - I also sell them.   I fell in love with the Universal when I was first introduced to it.  I feel it is very well priced and of higher quality than it's competitors.  

Good luck!

 

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

i had it for about just under 2 years.  Then the accessories like the wisk and dough hook started to hit the bowl.  I got the KA and that one sucked too. 

Dreasbaking's picture
Dreasbaking

If it helps, the design on the two machines is totally different.  The compact works for many, but the Universal is designed to be a real workhorse - twice the motor capacity and such.  If you are doing lots of bread, it is the way to go, in my opinion.  Let us know what you decide!

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

Drea when will others retailers like PleasantHill offer the 4 year warranty?  Or is it just for your enterprise?

Dreasbaking's picture
Dreasbaking

You can purchase one or two years of extended warranty at PHG. I sent you a message with more info about the home demonstrator program.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

FreshGoose, you know you don't have to use the original SS bowl with the Bosch UP.  It comes with the plastic bowl and you can buy the new-type SS bowl (with center column so it can be used with the whips and cookie paddles).  The SS bowl with the blades in the bottom and no center column was made for the old version of the Bosch UP and doesn't quite fit the new UP.  People like it because they say it solves the small batch problem on the UP.

The 3 solutions to the small batch problem, from least to most expensive are:

  • $6 - buy the dough glide and the dough divider
  • $135 - buy the small slicer/shredder (comes with all the disks, you are actually buying the complete small slicer/shredder attachment) and the Mini TS5 Dough Hook.
  • $170 - buy the original SS bowl ($170 at Pleasant Hill Grain) which does not have the center column. This has built in dough blades and can ONLY be used to mix dough.  Keep in mind that this solution requires the addition of rubber bumpers to the stand as this bowl was made to fit the LAST version of the UP, not this one.  Here are instructions for how to do that.

First, what is your definition of "small"?  The UP is supposed to handle from 300g of flour up.  300g is about 11 oz.  Even my pizza dough recipe calls for 16 oz of flour; so the small batches that the UP can't handle would be very small indeed.  Here is a video of someone making a small recipe of challah dough using 383g of flour - as you can see from the video, the mixer does fine without the dough divider and in fact does a WORSE job with it.  That is because that guy's idea of "small" doesn't match the Bosch engineers' idea of "small" - their idea of "small" is UNDER 300 g, and this guy is using more than 300g of flour.  So he didn't need the dough divider and the dough glide at all, but he THOUGHT he did because he defines "small" differently than the guys who designed the machine.  So, unless you plan on making recipes that use less than 12 oz of flour, you may never experience the "small batch problem" at all.

Second, did you ever ascertain whether or not the problem with your compact was from a bent dough blade?  Did ALL the beaters hit the bowl, or just the dough blade?  Did you ever try replacing one of the beaters to see if it still hit the bowl?  And has it actually turned up toes and died or did you just stop using it?  Because I have a Bosch Compact and I love it.  I'm wondering what happened to yours.  I saw where you posted about this back in October.  Obviously there was no progress between then and now.  I ask because your best option might be to just get another Compact - since it sounds like you loved it, other than worrying about the beaters hitting the bowl.

If you decide on a Bosch UP, and if you buy your UP from Pleasant Hill Grain, for $50 you can extend the warranty up to 5 years.  (Sadly there is no warranty extension on the Compact).  So - if you decide to go for the Bosch UP, I would suggest investing in the extended warranty.  It amounts to $10 per year and most people spend more than that in a week on lattes.  Should you happen to be up, here's a sweetener - Pleasant Hill Grain is selling just a handful of the Bosch UPs for $100 off as a "cyber monday" deal.  Hope you're a night owl - I imagine they will be gone pretty rapidly.

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

Hey Kitchen,

Thanks for your response. 

 

I guess I was just reading what people on here have said about the Bosch UP and got a bit worried.  I do see from the movie that the dough is kneaded pretty well without the dough divider but it did seem to be just circling every now and then.  Not actually being kneaded.

I never make less than 600g of flour in recipes.  But to me this is a small batch as the UP can do 11x that.

 

 

As for what happened to my Compact started to hit the bowl.  It started to scratch the bowl and I have bubbles of plastic from the dough hook hitting the bowl.  I thought this was normal at first and got the SS Bowl for the Compact but realized the hook now hits a lot more than I thought.  It happens on all accessories.  I decided to cut my losses.  I did really like it but nobody seemed to be able to answer my questions and I would have to ship my Mixer out with no guarantee it would be fixed. 

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

I sent you a PM about the compact.  I know they sometimes go unnoticed. 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Sorry, I have frequent long breaks when I don't log in due to health issues.  I did see the message and answered.

I have ruined the plastic bowl that came with the mixer.  I keep turning the heated dry for the dishwasher off, but my son keeps turning it back on - and sure enough, last time I washed the bowl, I forgot to make sure it was off and the bowl deformed and doesn't fit properly in the mixer any more.  I wish he would just leave that off.  *sigh*

Anyway I'll be buying the SS bowl from amazon.de.  At the current exchange rate it is $80 with shipping and all. 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

The "circling" is fine - it is still getting kneaded when it comes back around.  Seriously, if you are kneading by hand, the dough is not constantly being kneaded - you have to let up sometimes or your arms will fall off!  So it's OK if it doesn't stay in constant contact with the dough hook.  When it DOES come back in contact, it gets kneaded.  Even if you had a bowl full of dough, though the entire mass of the dough would probably be in contact with the hook, not all parts of the dough are.  But what goes around, comes around, and the hook gets around to every part of the dough eventually - just not all at once.

But if that really bothers you, you could go ahead and get the small shredder/slicer and the mini-dough hook.  Or the original style stainless steel bowl, with the dough blades permanently mounted in the bottom - but you'd have to put bumpers on the base to get that to work.  (Instructions are on the Pleasant Hill Grain site)

Also, the UP doesn't do 11x 600g of flour - it can handle about 7 lbs of flour for roughly 15 lbs of dough. So your 600g of flour is roughly 1/5th of the total capacity for the Bosch Universal Plus (7 lbs is about 3.1 kg). You're not as far out at the end as you think!

Was it just the dough hook, or did all of your beaters hit the bowl?  I know you've given up on the Compact, but I'm wondering if it could have just been a bent hook as someone else suggested.

chris319's picture
chris319

I thought my KA had developed a problem so I started looking at hand-cranked mixers -- no motor to burn out!

There's the Little Dutch Maid and there are KitchenAid mixers converted to hand-crank operation. There are also dedicated hand-crank mixers which are considerably less expensive.

Dreasbaking's picture
Dreasbaking

I did a smaller 1.5 lb batch of 100% whole grain dough yesterday.   Thought of you.  it worked perfectly.  it reminded me of something, so I thought I'd share.  Sometimes with smaller batches a little dough sticks on the center shaft.  The machine ultimately pulled it down with the kneading process and I did not have to scrape the bowl.  This is my typically experience with the Universal.

Greg D's picture
Greg D

I make a LOT of bagels although I am not a professional baker.  I have a Kitchenaid "Pro" 600 mixer.  I usually use the PR recipe from Crust and Crumb.  After 5 or 6 batches of bagels using his recipe, my mixer stops turning and starts to grind loudly and the motor casing gets hot enough to burn my hand.  Is there an upgrade mixer available that will fit on a standard kitchen counter (clearance between countertop and kitchen cupboards is an issue)? 

Thanks and Happy Baking. 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Either the Bosch Universal Pro (runs around $400) or the Ankarsrum (about $700)

For that use, I'd go with the Ankarsrum if you can afford it.  But the Bosch would probably do OK with it also.

Greg D's picture
Greg D

Thanks for the suggestions.  If somebody on this site has one I am interested in hearing more about it.

Thanks and Happy Baking.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I've had an Assistent for about three years now. I can tell you with certainty that it will handle at least 7# (the most I've made at a time) of bagel dough without straining.

Prepare to be disabused of the notion that you know how to use a mixer. The Assistent is so easy going as it mixes or kneads, that you may think it's not working; it is, though. Follow the instructions and all will turn out right.

cheers,

gary

naznar's picture
naznar

I am also considering a best mixer but for very large batches of cookie dough and muffin batter- and have been looking into the Haussler and Assistant (mainly because i started looking for something that would make mochi, dango, or rice cake. But now i am looking into these for my small cafe. for a while i used a kitchenaid (before it died) so i am drawn to the stronger motors of each of these mixers. 

I think i currently mix two bowls of 8qt by hand before combining them. this would be 4 regular kitchenaid mixer bowls full to the brim. So i have been looking into the larger Haussler. I am guessing i would be using this almost exclusively for cookie dough, because hand whisking muffin batter is very easy. with money not an issue (for now) I am just wondering how the Haussler would do. 

 

I am guessing the Assistant would do better using the roller? The wet ingredients would be hand mixed and the primary purpose of the mixer would be to mix in flour. 

 

 

 

naznar's picture
naznar

after reading back over other posts it seems that spiral mixers do not cream butter/sugar- but what if i mainly want the spiral to mix the wet and the dry together.  usually it is easy for us to mix butter and sugar together. we do not really cream of fluff up the mix. so starting out with a butter sugar mixer the question is how would a planetary do just folding our flour in to the rest of the mix? or what about the magic mill dlx/assistant?  the hardest part is folding in the flour and later chocolate. 

thank you. really considering these mixers