The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Famag Spiral, Haussler, or Ankarsrum? Help! x_x

CiabattaLover's picture
CiabattaLover

Famag Spiral, Haussler, or Ankarsrum? Help! x_x

Hi Everyone

 

Need a little help. Torn between these different mixers, mostly the Famag + Haussler Spiral mixers. Hearing a lot of things about how Famag is a one trick pony (only for bread) and the Haussler can kind of do both with the paddle attachment they have. Then have some people saying Ankarsrum is pretty great all around and nearly as good as the Haussler?

Wish there was a store I could try out all 3.

Anyone have any experience with these?

Myself: I'm not a huge baker. Limtied experience just making Ciabatta with a lousy KitchenAid 4.5qt. I do however want to get into bread baking in a MORE major way.  I don't want to spend $1500 on a mixer if I can possibly work with a larger capacity one. Don't want to end up in a situation where I buy a Famag IM-8S and am like "dang I could have gotten the 10S!" Though vanity included, I hate the limited colors of the 10-S so I may stick with the 8S. I'm worried about using dough thats well - .5kg on it however and issues of scaling....and it not working well with IM-8S! I don't usually make multiple breads ...and can't imagine myself making multiples in the same day...

In either case though - I wanted to know what's practical for me.

wheatbeat's picture
wheatbeat

I think if you are primarily buying this machine to make bread, then there is only one choice: The Famag. The 8S is plenty big unless you are doing a lot of bread. It doesn't sound like you are anywhere near that.

Incidentally, I bought the Ankarsrum, used it, hated it and returned it. I know many people love it. I personally don't think it even comes close to processing dough like a true spiral mixer with breaker bar (Famag).

At this point, I have a planetary mixer (Hobart N50) and Famag 10S and I can do the entire range of baking from breads to cakes/pastries and viennoiserie. 

CiabattaLover's picture
CiabattaLover

Hi

 

Read your review on the Hobart. Do you think for cookies and cakes it's necessary to get a Hobart? What did you hate about Ankarsrum in terms of cookies/cakes? Wondering if Ankarsrum + Famag would be a good buy. I am worried on the breaker bar width/depth compared to industrial mixers....some say its too thin?

 

 

wheatbeat's picture
wheatbeat

In my review, I came to the conclusion that you should NOT get a Hobart for things like cakes and cookies unless you use it 8 hours a day. I never used the Ankarsrum to make cakes and cookies, it might be just fine for that but a KitchenAid is probably better for half the price. I think the golden combo is KitchenAid + Famag.

CiabattaLover's picture
CiabattaLover

what confuses me about the Famag is the motor spec. A ankarsrum seems to have a more powerful motor than the Famag acording to Pelican Grain....so shouldnt it theoretically be way better than a KitchenAid?

David R's picture
David R

The motor spec is confusing you, because both motors have more than enough power to do the job.

It's not precisely correct to say that motor specs are irrelevant unless you're comparing the same machine with two different motors - but it's close enough to the truth. If you're comparing two Ankarsrums with each other, or comparing two Famags with each other, then there's a good chance that the more powerful one is the better one; but compare one Famag and one Ankarsrum purely on motor ratings and you get a nonsense result, because the two machines don't even work the same way.

The best method of determining the power of any mixer that's currently popular and on the market is simply to read the reviews online. That may sound like a stupid method, but the specifications lie*, while the reviews (some of them at least) tell the truth. The reason? It doesn't matter how much energy a motor uses, if it's trying to run a poorly-designed machine. And - if you think about it - a very well-designed machine can get by with a smaller motor, all else being equal. Putting an oversized super-powerful motor into a small appliance can be an admission of defeat from the engineers, not a sign of a high-end piece of equipment. (It can also be a marketing trick, to attract you to the more expensive item.)

If many people are saying "I load this mixer heavily all the time, and it takes on all the jobs easily", then obviously it has enough power. If there are many complaints of weak performance, overheating, breakdowns, and so on, then there's some kind of problem.

 

* I don't mean that the spec sheets for mixers are untruthful; I mean that they often tell you completely irrelevant information, while carefully omitting what you really need to know before you make a decision.

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

Too many people are focusing on motor power.  However its about where the weakest link is in getting that motor power to the beater (and the load it can take).   Nearly every complaint I see on KA mixers failing - it is the gears. 

The KA pro7 has a 1.3HP motor but you can see the strain on the machine with a full load of dough.   My 1/4 HP motor vintage Hobart CE100 would take my arm off and thinks nothing of a 10qt bowl of dough.   

When I was researching if this antique mixer was worth it...saw this video of it  in action and loved how stable it was compared to the N50. https://youtu.be/0vGzATz35D8?t=129  (P.S.  Mine has 2x the HP of the machine in the video)

CiabattaLover's picture
CiabattaLover

If its not about motor power, why are you mentioning yours is 2X the one shown in the video :/? Why is that relevant lol

 Or is your stance motor power matters but only when factoring in weakest links? And how would one even find that out? Is there a thread where people say "Oh the Ankarsrum always breaks down at the gears ,etc?"

David R's picture
David R

Product reviews online are where to look. You're not looking for wild claims by individual cranks who will say anything for attention, but you are looking for patterns of complaints, by reasonable people who had a legitimate problem using the machine. And also looking for patterns of strong approval from people who make a lot of bread.

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

David R

The other places to look:

  • How many turn up on eBay and what is their resale markdown.  
  • Reviews of the next model...reviewers almost never bag the current model but will always mention how the new model fixed the faults of the last model.   This slight of hand is the big trick of car reviewers.   
David R's picture
David R

Very good points that I never thought of. Thank you.

That also helps with another problem in reviews: People will often give an undeserved great review for an expensive item, because they refuse to imagine that they judged badly, wasted a lot of money, or were fooled.

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

Not all mechanisms are the same.   In my machine, the gearing can take way more than the motor can deliver.  The example I was trying to illustrate was that motor power figures are not the whole story.  On plain motor power, my 1/4 HP should be a toy compared to the 1.3HP KA..  However, that is not the case as even the vintage  1/8HP can rival if not beat the power/torque at the beaters of the new 1.3HP KA..      

David R's picture
David R

The machine in the video has only one tenth the motor rating of the new KA, but the old machine works just as well or better. Why? The rest of the machine is better.

I've given this silly example before, but here it is again: It's possible to install a 500-horsepower engine on a child's bicycle, but you can immediately see why that's not a good idea - the bicycle parts are too weak, and not designed for heavy weight and high speed. The person who installed the engine says "But look! It's 500 horsepower, way more powerful than other children's bicycles!" - and the smart customer asks "How well does it run? Is it safe over long distances? How much fuel does it use?", not getting distracted by the horsepower claims.

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

David R

You nailed it.   With mixers its so not the motor alone.  It doesn't take many points of designed obsolescence or value engineering" to severely limit a machine either in performance or lifespan.  

David R's picture
David R

I didn't really nail it, because my imaginary customer never asked one really important question: "Why are you running such a big motor to do such a small job?"

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

@wheatbeat

Just curious, did you have an issue with the N50 with spiral hook for breads?    Was it the mix quality or the power?  

I have an 1/4HP version of the Hobart CE100 and it is a beautiful beast (its #10hub makes it compatible with KA attachments)   I love it to bits but it did need a spiral hook for doughs.  As there was no Hobart 10Qt spiral dough hook I had to rig up a Uniworld UPM-1DH (it spirals the wrong direction but I work around that...while I save up to have a reverse one cast)

From my experience, I have nothing but good words for these old Hobart mixers (C210 CE100).  However, I don't make comments on purchasing these to others as I have not had experience with the N50 or Ankarsrum so I can't really make any valid comparisons.

David R's picture
David R

My impression from Wheatbeat was that N50 worked fine but at current prices provides poor value for the money - you can get almost as good performance for far less, or you can get far better performance for only a little bit more.

wheatbeat's picture
wheatbeat

I would just clarify though that the Hobart provides exceptional performance and I don't think you could get anything better even if you spent more. The Hobart is, by far, the most expensive home planetary mixer on the market. I do agree it is a poor value for the money. Buy 3 KitchenAid machines and you will still end up ahead.

David R's picture
David R

For home use, I agree you essentially couldn't want more. Thinking beyond the home, you could probably find double the N50's capacity without spending that much more.

wheatbeat's picture
wheatbeat

The bread hook works as expected.

Camarie's picture
Camarie

Here's a vid of the N-50 kneading dough with the spiral dough hook.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmdUSG3lEoo

Dsr303's picture
Dsr303

just purchased this from amazon. Love it! It’s A 5 quart bowl. Always hated my 7 quart kitchen aide. I have made 2 cakes and 4 loves of sourdough so far. It’s exactly like a bosh without the price tag. it’s 600 watts

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Ciabatta,  David is 100 percent right.  Wattage of a motor is only important if you are looking at two models that use the exact same drive mechanism.  Focus more on reviews of users who have made what you want to make.  Btw,  i have the Ank, and have a KA and several Boschs.  Dont have a spiral so i cant help in that regard

David R's picture
David R

Reviewers who make the same things you want to make - thank you, that's an important point that I forgot. Especially when you're interested in bread, pizza, bagels, etc, because these items are much harder on mixers than cake batter.

CiabattaLover's picture
CiabattaLover

Hows the Ank for bread?

David R's picture
David R

Either it's very good or it's useless.

If you judge mixers on whether they're designed exactly the same way as other mixers you've used, it's a terrible failure. The people who hate Ankarsrum all say variations of "It doesn't look like a Hobart, so I know it can't possibly work - I sent it back immediately".

If you judge by using it, it works just fine. 🙂

On that note, if you've got carefully planned mixer timings for different kinds of dough, keep them - but beside them write in the name of the mixer you used when setting them. Different mixers don't have the same efficiency levels, and with a very different mixer you may need very different timings.

Is Ankarsrum the best for you? I can't say.

 

Camarie's picture
Camarie

 

Here's MY version of that machine, featuring a 650-watt motor & a 6.5-qt plastic bowl. I CAN get a stainless steel bowl for it, but I'm quite happy with the plastic bowl.

CiabattaLover's picture
CiabattaLover

Thanks Gents. I wasn't sold entirely on motor power, but I was just confused if that was the do-all end all. Glad to see my mind raising skepticism was the way to go here.

Camarie's picture
Camarie

You're welcome! Most mixers are sold according to the amount of dough that they can handle, & I think that their motors & trannys have something to do with it.

After all, what good is a machine that has a wimpy motor?

David R's picture
David R

As long as you measure "wimpy" by how well it does the job, and not by numbers in a specifications list, then it's pretty hard to argue with that. There's definitely a major trend in home appliances of installing higher and higher watts just to do the same job as always.

Camarie's picture
Camarie

At times, mixer makers offer supposedly better machines by increasing the wattage or horsepower to higher levels & throwing in one or more features  to 'sweeten up the pot" in an effort to attract the potential customer into buying the product. 

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

Just wanted to put a plug in for Weatbeat's first comment. "What are you using it for?"   Its the most fundamental question in this thread and I apologise for not focusing on it earlier. 

I assume by your tag "Chibattalover" you are looking for a small dough mixer over an all-in-one.   If that is the case, I would really recommend you see if you can find the type of mixer the makers of your preferred bread use (the ones you love the taste of) and see how close you can get to that.

Each mixer style both mixes and develops gluten differently.  Just because it mixes doesn't mean it is right for you.  I think we all bake because we want to taste a particular flavour/texture and most of us have that idealised reference we are aiming for.   If that is the case, you may as well start with the tools that will help you achieve it.

 

Camarie's picture
Camarie

To say that the 'proof is in the pudding' would be an understatement, but this mixer really mixes! So far, I've made dough with it 4 times, & each time, I have never tripped the overload switch inside the machine.

It performs flawlessly & helps develop the gluten nicely. I just wish that I bought it sooner, like maybe a year or so ago!! I don't really care about gluten purposes. All I want is a machine that'll last for a long, long time.