The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixer Input

Sherlock's picture

Mixer Input


I've been a lurker here for a while, there is o-so much that I didn't know about bread-making and so much more. Anyhow on to my question.


So here is my scenario, I am new to cooking and it has quickly come to be a very enjoyable hobby of mine (perhaps due to eating part of it ;)). I guess one could say that I am just getting into breads, with little experience but I like what I have tried thus far, and do really enjoy messing around with pizza dough's, after reading here i would really like to try to do bagels. Anyhow I have been debating getting a mixer, and had relatively been going in the direction of a kitchen-aid given my positive experience with my parents tilt head one. But after reading a lot across the internet and here It seems that KA is pretty poor when it comes to dough.

That being said I am on a budget, and do have about $200 in credit for webstaurant from reviews.

This in mind I have a few questions

Is the KA Commercial line any better (specifically KSM8990DP) than their artisan/professionals? 

What is with the older kitchen-aids K5SS etc that makes them desirable? can they handle my needs of being able to knead?

Should I just do kneading task by hand, and use a cheap KA off craigslist or something for other tasks (whipping, mixing cookies etc)?

I know there are Bosch and ANKARSRUM as the strong favorites here, as well as hobart (insanely expensive), but was hoping to find something that I could use my webstaurant discount on, being that its a significant chunk of  change.


Thank you so much for your input.


barryvabeach's picture

Sherlock,  have you looked at the Bosch Compact - it is in your price range.  It is, as the name says, very small and in some ways looks like a toy, but it is very strong.  It does not have the same capacity as the larger mixers, but is really ideal when you want to try out different recipes.   I have not used it to make bagels, but am sure it will handle that as long as you don't use too much dough.  It will also do fine with pizza dough, and will handle whole wheat and very high ( 100 % ) hydration dough.  I think the KA is a good general purpose mixer, but you should stay away from the tilt head if your goal is to knead bread or bagels.

LindyD's picture

"I have not used it to make bagels, but am sure it will handle that as long as you don't use too much dough.  "

Not to worry. The Bosch compact easily mixes three pounds of KA's high gluten flour at 58% hydration.  

FreshGoose's picture

I had the KSM7586 proline and it's supposed to be the exact same as the commercial just no NSF certification.  It was expensive but not as expensive as the Ankarsrum.  I  have to say that it was a piece of junk and I returned it.

Not only did it come broken with the dough hook not fitting properly and the beater having its nylon coating chipped off.  When I first used it the metal on metal created a whole bunch of metal flakes that when done sat at the base of the mixer.  Not in the bowl (though some people get that over time).  This was just at the base of the mixer and it's due to the metal bowl moving against the actual mixer stand.  The paint chips off and since the metal rubs together it all chips off.  To me that's not safe.  I'm sure most people don't even notice but I sure did.

As for how it mixed I made a pretty basic pretzel recipe from Alton brown.  Once my $189 Bosch compact has made tens of times.  The KA sounded like it was struggling with that.  It just didn't sound pleasant.  The Bosch on the other hand sounds essentially the same under no load and under load. 

Sherlock's picture

thanks for the input, I guess I kept on doing research too, and came to similar conclusion as to the direction you nice folks are pointing me in. The Kitchen-aid is certainly not worth its price if you want to make bread with it, that being said the older models seem to "kinda" do it or are better than the newer ones.

That being said the kitchen aid is a good at everything aside of bread, and think I may casually look for a K5SS (while KA owned by Hobart) on craigslist/ebay, to use on lighter duty task and attachments the price difference in attachments between KA and Ankarsrum cover the cost of a good used K5SS. I also really really liked the Ankarsrum, i know it and the Bosch perform similar, its personal preference here, but I think I can continue with kneading by hand while I save up for it. 


chris319's picture

... under any circumstances. You have the right idea looking for a K5SS on ebay or wherever (you can still get parts for them). If you go that route, a private seller gets your money, not the KitchenAid company, and you'll have a good mixer for a lot less than an Ankarsrum (the price of which just went up by $100).

I have a K5A in great shape, purchased for a song on ebay (I got lucky) and it does a great job on bread dough, but I make small boules (1 1/2 C flour).

I suspect a lot of people feel their KitchenAid getting warm to the touch with normal use and go on the Internet and say "My KitchenAid's overheating!". No, it's not overheating. It's going to get warm with normal use and they tell you so in the manual. The metal housing of the vintage models acts as a heat sink. If you overload it, the motor is audibly laboring, and you smell a bad smell coming out of it and white smoke starts pouring out after you put in too much flour and ran the speed up to 10 because it was going so slowly and audibly laboring, then yeah, I'd say your KitchenAid overheated. You don't read many of those stories from owners of vintage models who know how to use them. BTW watch out for the K4SS. From the model number it may seem like a vintage Hobart-era model but it was introduced in 2008, putting it squarely in the Whirlpool era.

Or you could spend $800 on an Ankarsrum.

Sherlock's picture

Is there a list somewhere of the Hobart era kitchenaids? the ones i had thought were K45SS and K5SS, and I guess now the K5A. What would be a decent price on a older machine (given good/working quality)?


Antilope's picture

Just make sure you can retro-fit it with a spiral dough hook:

I would go for a mixer model that uses a spiral dough hook. It kneads much better and with less strain and motor heating on the mixer than the "J" shaped dough hook.
The spiral dough hook presses the dough into the bottom of the bowl and kneads back and forth through it.
The "J" hook beats the dough against the side of the bowl and the dough climbs up the hook.
These YouTube videos show how each dough hook handles the dough during kneading.
Kitchenaid with Spiral Dough Hook
Kitchenaid with "J" Dough Hook
I have a Kitchenaid 5-qt bowl lifter model that came with a "J" hook and I found a KA Spiral hook that fits it. My mixer runs cooler and with much less motor strain while using the spiral dough hook. The spiral hook seems to develop the dough faster and with less heating of the dough than the "J" dough hook.

chris319's picture

I have compiled a list of Hobart-era KitchenAid models, distilled largely from LeoLady's blog. The K45SS is a current model and is available new as part of the "classic" line (it may be the only model in the "classic" line) if you want a 4.5 quart tilt-head mixer. If you want a 5-quart bowl-lift mixer, parts are still available for the K5SS if you can find one on ebay or somewhere.

I got my K5A several months ago before I had this information. If and when my K5A dies (nothing lasts forever) it would be an unrepairable boat anchor due to the unavailability of parts. You can still get bowls, attachments, motor brushes and some other parts, but if the motor were to fail it couldn't be repaired due to the unavailability of motor parts. The SS (solid-state) models replaced the K5A in 1978. The KitchenAid division of Hobart was acquired by Whirlpool in 1986. Also read the posts here by KA Tech.

I read somewhere that Whirlpool started using cast gears in KA mixers rather than the machined gears of the Hobart era, and that the cast gears have wider tolerances and do not run as smoothly. The plastic gear housing debacle seems to be in the past now.

Hope this helps:

1914 H 80-qt cml.Hobart
1918 C10Hobart
1931 FHobart
19321936A "Kaidette"Hobart
1933 R&DHobart
1937 KHobart-Arens design
1944 K3BHobart
1950c. 1978K3CHobart
1962c. 1978K45Hobart
1978c. 2006K5SSHobart
1978PresentK45SSHobart “Classic”
Sherlock's picture

So in short the K5SS and K45SS are the only old Hobart ones that I will be able to find parts for/fix if I run into trouble?

So the K45SS is still made today? by hobart and not whirlpool? slight confusion, but I admit I am a history addict so I find the whole kitchen appliance history thing intriguing

and thanks i think i stumbled across her blog at some-point in my research but didn't realize its significance, until after the fact and couldn't find it again

Antilope's picture


LIFE Nov 20, 1939 - Kitchenaid mixer K3

Life Magazine Nov 28, 1938 - Kitchenaid mixer - Hobart Mfg ad

Sunday Herald - Mar 15, 1953

Popular Mechanics Aug 1961 - Kitchenaid mixer and kneading attachement - Hobart Mfg Co

Toledo Blade - Mar 28, 1969 - "New 4-qt Kitchenaid Mixer"

Observer-Reporter - May 4, 1976 - 5-qt Kitchenaid Mixer $157

The Spokesman-Review - May 3, 1977 - Kitchenaid mixer K45 $139

Cincinnati Magazine Jun 1979 - Kitchenaid K5A mixer $229

Toledo Blade - Feb 4, 1981 - Ohio Firm (Hobart) Urges U.S. To Limit Foreign Buyers

Toledo Blade - Feb 17, 1981 - Hobart to merge with Dart & Kraft

Lakeland Ledger - Nov 5, 1981 - Chef Pierre Franey article about his Kitchenaid mixer

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Oct 27, 1983 - Kitchenaid 4 1/2-qt mixer $169

The News and Courier - Jan 12, 1985 - Whirlpool buying into Kitchenaid

Gainesville Sun - Jun 1, 1985 - Chef Pierre Franey article about new Kitchenaid attachment

Toledo Blade - Aug 14, 1985 - Court Delays Bid By Whirlpool to Aquire Kitchenaid

chris319's picture

Here is a wealth of information on the spiral dough hook:

I've tried the spiral hook and the "J" hook and wasn't happy with either. The dough tends to wrap itself around the hook and goes for a merry-go-round ride on the hook where it isn't being stretched, i.e. kneaded. I modified the "J" hook by cutting off the short stub that points kind of upward. Now it really kneads.

Do some reading on the way the Bosch Universal kneads. Some users complain that the dough wraps itself around the center post. I don't have a Bosch so I can't vouch for this.

chris319's picture

So in short the K5SS and K45SS are the only old Hobart ones that I will be able to find parts for/fix if I run into trouble?


All KitchenAid mixers, including the K45SS, are made by Whirlpool as of around 1986. Hobart still makes expensive industrial mixers under the Hobart brand.

To further confuse you, a lot of people like their vintage Kenwood mixers but, like Whirlpool, it is my understanding that the companies that today make the basic Kenwood mixer under other brand names have outsosurced manufacturing to a certain far-off land and people complain of the inferior build quality.

Sherlock's picture

Just figured I would post my outcome, after much reading of older threads and probably over researching just about everything. I opted to look for one of the good old kitchenaids (got a k5ss lined up on craigslist for $150) for 2 things cost and omni-purpose abilities. Yeah it may not be the "best" for bread but it should suit my needs for now if in future being that i'm only cooking for 1-2 ppl and smaller batches.

That being said i do have a few remaining questions.

  • Are all K5ss the "same" meaning that k5ss produced after 1986 still as good as the ones before?
  • Any tips when looking at used mixers? (my thought is to run it, test switch, check cord)
  • IS there anywhere a cross reference sheet for compatible beaters, blades, hooks etc or is this just wishful thinking

Once again thanks, I must say this is probably one of the best and helpful communities on the internet.

chris319's picture

If the name band says "Hobart", you've got a Hobart.

Are all K5ss the "same" meaning that k5ss produced after 1986 still as good as the ones before?

I have pondered this very question. I have found no reason to think Whirlpool changed anything in the K45ss or K5ss after 1986. They may have built those machines from their inventory of parts already manufactured and may explain why the K5ss was discontinued in the past few years. I emphasize this is only speculation on my part.

The condition of the cord might give you an idea of the age but is not a big deal to replace if needed. See if it runs at all 10 speeds and make sure it stops. Don't be alarmed if the housing gets a little warm, even with no load. Even if there is a problem with it, for $150 you might consider picking it up anyway on the gamble that it can be repaired. Maybe the seller would knock down the price if it doesn't go through all 10 speeds and stops at "off".

Attachments for that mixer begin with K5A, for example, the dough hook is K5ADH. The big exception is the bowl. I found out when my K5SS arrived that the bowl and spacing of the support pins are 3/16" narrower than the K5A so take good care of that bowl. 3/16" doesn't seem like much until you try to attach the wrong-size bowl. The pin spacing on the K5A is 9" and on the K5SS it is 8 13/16", at least on my mixers it is.

On the underside of the base you may find a sticker. If there is, and it has a serial number on it beginning with W, the second letter is the year of manufacture. My on-line detective work tells me the K5SS was discontinued around 2006. Look at it this way: if you get a Whirlpool-era unit it's got lower "mileage" than an older one would.



Sherlock's picture

thanks chris! that was my thought too, it would make sense to keep the "same" machine as far as manufacturing parts etc until the supply chains tooling wore out (or at least everything i learned in my business major would logically say so). Just was curious if there was a definitive answer in the matter. Nor am I opposed to the same quality low mileage mixer

I asked the seller to find the model number and they stated it as a K5SSWW which doesn't make sense with you chart because that would put it at 2013?? From the pics I am almost positive its a K5 series based on how its head is attached to the base etc. The only thing that makes me think twice is that both the band around the mixer and the front cap are white and not chrome/shiny like in all the pics  i could find of them.

It may be just something that i will have to see and checkout for myself, there is only so much deduction that a fellow can do


chris319's picture

He gave you the model number which doesn't make sense. In KitchenAid code, WW stands for "wire whip". It could be a K5SSWH. The WH means white. You need the serial number (there might not be one) to arrive at the date.

I'm thinking some parts for the SS line of mixers were put into the spare-parts distribution chain, and some were kept by KA to make new machines. When they ran out of K5SS parts they discontinued the model. This could happen some day to the K45SS wich is a current model as we speak (their "classic" line).

In this discussion Verne Myers says "we" still make the K5SS and his post is dated 2006. That's why I think the K5SS was discontinued some time after 2006. I inquired of KitchenAid themselves but their answer didn't make sense.

You could ask the seller if it says "Hobart" on the name band.

chris319's picture

Antilope: very cool KitchenAid newspaper clippings!

Antilope's picture

 Here's info about how Hobart came to sell Kitchen-aid:

Hobart Mfg was doing okay (it had been around 83 years), then in 1981
a Canadian company (Canadian Pacific Enterprises, Inc ) made an attempt at a hostile takeover.

In order to counter that, Hobart merged with (actually they were acquired by) Dart & Kraft in 1981. Dart & Kraft was created in 1980 when Kraft Foods, Inc and Dart Industries merged. They owned Tupperware, Duracell batteries and West Bend appliances & cookware, among other food and appliance products.

In 1985 Dart & Kraft decided to split, which they did in 1986. As a result of this split, Whirlpool Corp agreed to buy the consumer products section of Hobart Corp.'s Kitchen-aid Division. Whirlpool Corp agreed with Hobart's parent company, Dart & Kraft to acquire the Kitchen-aid Division.

Dart & Kraft split into Kraft Foods (with Duracell) and Premark Corp which consisted of Hobart, West Bend, Wilsonart and Tuppperware. Tupperware was spun off, to be an independent company again, in 1996 after being part of the Dart & Kraft and Premark Corp for 10 years.

The Whirlpool Corp / Kitchen-aid Division acquisition deal was taken to court in 1985.  Charges that a monopoly was being formed were brought by White Consolidated, Inc (Kelvinator, White-Westinghouse). Magic Chef also joined the lawsuit.

Ultimately, Whirlpool bought Kitchen-aid, Maytag bought Magic Chef, and Electrolux of Sweden bought White Consolidated Industries in 1986. In 2005, Whirlpool acquired Maytag.

Sherlock's picture

Fascinating, totally glad I posted here or else i would probably miss all the interesting information and history. I must admit I would have never guessed that commercial appliance history would be that fascinating.

golfermd's picture

I purchased a factory rebuilt 5 quart, tilt-head KA about 7 years ago and have been very happy with it ever since. I'm at my partner's house for the weekend (she was very impressed with me that I have one) so I don't know which model it is. I believe it was a generation before the Artisan model. The big difference is mine has either a 425 watt or 450 watt motor, not the 375 watt in their current model. It has given me ZERO problems since I got it. I make 2 loaves a week of various textures and densities, machine knead for about 3 minutes, then finish kneading by hand.



Jody and Eddie's picture
Jody and Eddie

Thanks so much for posting a wealth of information on the KA mixers.
I'm still trying to find out the age of my almond colored K45 (not SS) on the base plate it says Hobart 250 watt. It was my late mothers and I use it for smaller tasks. I even have the copper bowl liner for egg whites and many of the "hub" attachments.
I purchased a much larger commercial NSF 8 qt. model for my bread making.
Does anyone know where to find the serial # for the older KA? There is no sticker on the underside. I'd like to know the age and purchase some spare parts for it.
Also, there was this artist out in California that used to take them and "refurbish" them with any custom finish... I have since lost that link. I want to at some time in the future have it repainted with the letterhead on it from mom's cooking classes in Paris, Vermont, and Connecticut.
The KA representative was of absolutely no help. I want to get a new metal logo band, the bushings, and the 5 small rubber feet (not the flat pancake ones used now.
Thanks again.