The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Famag 5 vs 8

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Famag 5 vs 8

I need some advice!  I am looking at purchasing either the Famag 5 or 8. It is strictly for home use.  Do I need one?  No.  Do I want one?  Yes!  Pre-retirement gift from my husband.

 

I usually bake 2-3 loaves at a time. These days I’ve been baking Ciril Hitz’s whole wheat bread and want to start baking whole grain breads. 

I know the 5 and 8 are identical in all but size. I am more concerned about the lower capacity end because I don’t do volume baking.

 

It looks like the 5 can do a smaller batch but not by much

 

My question, is whether ir not the small capacity difference at the lower end matters for the type of baking I am doing.  I would so appreciate input!

David R's picture
David R

... the exact same motor!

 

This makes your decision MUCH easier. How often are you going to want to make a 17-pound batch of dough, knowing that the smaller mixer will handle an 11-pound batch?

 

If you can do without the 17-pound capability, then save your space, because the Famag 5 is apparently just as powerful as the 8, only smaller.

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Thanks so much. It’s what I was thinking!  

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

also, do youbthink it matters that the minimum capacity is a little less on the 5 in terms of small batches?  

David R's picture
David R

... even if you don't literally make anything that small, it will mean the bowl and the mixing arm mate a little more closely, cleaning up the edges of the dough a bit nicer, etc.

 

Lowest listed capacity on the 8 is a pound. On the 5, it's half to three-quarters of a pound.

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

so the 5 is the better option for smaller batches. Right?

David R's picture
David R

Imagine a single man who drives a 50-passenger bus to work every day, because it has more leg room in the back. 😁

Having excess mixer capacity that you will never use, makes your mixer heavier, take up more space, harder to clean, harder to wrestle with... for nothing!

If you knew you would use that 17-pound mixer to make 16-pound batches of dough twice a week, it would be welcome. But if you don't plan on making 16-pound batches regularly, then you definitely want the smaller model - especially considering its motor is exactly the same one. Don't buy wasted space - you won't even get extra power.

(If the bigger model had a much stronger motor, then you'd have a question on your hands. But it doesn't.)

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Okay, got it!!  The legroom analogy did the trick.....

Thanks for taking the time. Just wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

can't help with your question, but kudos to your husband for his choice of a pre retirement gift.  

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

a great surpise!  

deuxcv's picture
deuxcv

for what it's worth, I just created a FAMAG mixer user group on facebook so folks can share tips 'n' tricks and answer questions for prospective buyers. 

Derp's picture
Derp

Would be interested to hear your feedback assuming you did purchase the 5?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

And very glad I didn’t go larger. For the home baker, IMO the 5 is the best choice. It is tempting to go larger because of the slight increase in price, but there are definite reasons to stay small. These things are beast! When you read the specs and it says 66 pounds, you probably think, “that sounds a little heavy”. BUT, when you try to lift the beast, the truth of 66 pounds will become real. Also, the fact that the IM-5 will handle smaller doughs is a huge plus to the home baker. Don’t expect this mixer to sit on the counter like others. Carefully consider the dimensions.

After owning mine for a few weeks, I can say that it is built like a tank and should last a life time. Mine sits on a stainless steel rolling table and there is virtually no vibration at all. The stand doesn’t have locking wheels and they are not necessary. I doubt it is possible to bog this machine down, or even get it in a slight bind.

OH, And for sure, get the tilting head with the removable bowl. It is the best $50 you’ll spend on the machine. Even though the machine is an Italian import, those in the US can buy with confidence because Pleasant Hill Grain is outstanding in every way.

GrainBrain's picture
GrainBrain

Congrats on your choice! I don't have your rolling cart and actually carry mine up and down the basement steps. No need for a gym membership.
Will be very interested to hear your comments on what your dough development is like with this machine. The ability to mix one night's pizza dough is something I wouldn't give up. Am sure you are impressed by what this beast does on even its slowest setting? Interested also to hear if the pins on your bowl allow it to sit on a level surface without rocking and if it locks and unlocks easily?
But the proof is in the dough and we look forward to hearing your impressions as you use it more.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

My bowl sits level. No trouble locking and unlocking the bowl.

I did remove the bowl guard and like it much better that way. The reverse function seems to be of no use that I know of. And a straight 2 speed would have probably been sufficient.

I have the offset breaker bar on order. 

I’m too old to handle that much weight in such a small package. Have suffered with my back since I was 20 years old.

GrainBrain's picture
GrainBrain

Thanks for the quick reply. I too am stumped at why there is a reverse. Can anyone shed light on this? If you are bored and want to watch dough quickly climb to the underside of the head where I spent some time digging it out of crevices with a toothpick, then by all means, there is a use. The speed variability comes free as they are using frequency adjustment to control motor speed. A straight 2 speed might actually require an extra component or two in the circuit. I'll take it the way it is. FWIW have never had an issue with the breaker bar.

albacore's picture
albacore

I have read that reverse is useful for making a biga, but I also read that this only works if the spiral reverses and the bowl stays forwards, which would require two motors or complex gearing - think $10k+ big models.

Besides, unless you are making a big biga (!), it's best done by hand or (my favourite new way) in a Kenwood with the K beater (KA might work too).

The point about infinitely variable speeds is that they are not necessary and make reproducibility difficult (what setting did I have that dial on last time?) and also confound comparisons with other bakers in the community. A switch would cost no more than a potentiometer and 100/200rpm is all you need....

Lance

 

GrainBrain's picture
GrainBrain

Still stuck looking for a use for reverse LOL. I too make bigas by hand, best way to check for any residual lumps of flour.
The speed control on a Famag may look and behave like a simple, inexpensive potentiometer, but it is not.
Speed is controlled by reducing the voltage frequency, not by adding resistance. Italians excel at advanced electric motor design and manufacturing. You get infinitely variable speed within a given range and the chance to put a lot of numbers on a dial. I also use an Ankarsrum which has variable speed as well. You are correct in that a speed setting of three on one vs the other is not an easy comparison, but I simply stare at the dough to see how it's coming along anyway. 

albacore's picture
albacore

Yes, VFDs are standard industrial technology. They do require a user input to tell them what frequency you are looking for. For a fully variable setpoint this is usually done with a potentiometer - here is a typical example:

 

Alternatively (and this would be my preferred method), the setpoints can be programmed into the VFD and switched between with a simple switch:

The VFD in the Famag is not as sophisticated as the Invertek I have referred to as an example, but the same basic principles apply.

The Ankarsrum uses a DC motor, not an induction motor and uses a simple triac speed controller, without feedback control, I seem to recall.

Lance