The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

For those who love their standing mixers...

chez-jude's picture
chez-jude

For those who love their standing mixers...

I have an opportunity to acquire this Costco KitchenAid mixer:
http://tinyurl.com/239avw

I know many of you use a standing mixer for your bread, but I only make a couple of loaves a week and find the manual activity of mixing and kneading to be part of the pleasure.

Aside from breadmaking, how else do you use your mixer? And what do you love about it?

(I might get a little more excited about it if I could appreciate its usefulness!)

Thanks.

Barkalounger's picture
Barkalounger

I also love hand mixing and kneading. It doesn't necessarily make a better bread, but I enjoy it a lot more.

However, I also make a lot of dessert: cakes, cookies, pastries, etc. For these recipes, I'd be sunk without my kitchenaid. It's big, it's powerful, and I don't have to think about what it's mixing while I prep the next ingredients.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I was a devoted hand kneader until I got my mixer, then I discovered that with a mixer I can easily make 2 or 3 types of bread on a baking day rather than 1. And I still have plenty of opportunities to handle the dough, so bread making is still highly tactile.

Other things I use it for? Uh... cookies, cakes, frostings, whipped cream, a few other things, but at least 80% of the time for bread.

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Invaluable for cakes, cookies, etc.  Just as everyone else is telling you.  Because I have triplet boys, every birthday I've made three different cakes (My wife and I know that they share their birthday, but at least they have an individual cake of their own.  It is a bit wasteful as we end up with way too much cake, but every kid deserves a cake of their own).

In addition to the dessert items (cookies, cakes, etc.), there are a few non-baked items that I will occasionally use the stand mixer.

Chinese steamed meatballs (the ground meat and seasonings need to be "whipped" to get the correct, mousse-like texture of a Chinese meatball).  This is hard to do by hand and handmixers don't have enough power.  I will sometimes roll the shaped meatballs in pre-soaked short grain rice to form "pearl meatballs" (or what my boys call "porcupine balls" as the outer rice layer puffs and sticks out like a porcupine).  But if you're more gentle in mixing, I've also made traditional meatballs/meatloaf too.

Smashed potatoes (I'm weird, I do not care for the perfectly smooth mashed potatoes, I like smashed potatoes with skin on, some tiny bits of unmashed potatoes, smashed with a touch of salt, roasted garlic, half-n-half, butter, ranch dressing, and a good dose of black pepper -- but I'm a peasant at heart).  Yeah, you can do it by hand, but this is easier for me.

Mr. Peabody

bakerb's picture
bakerb

I love my KA mixer & the KA company, they've been very good to me, free advice, free small items, cookbooks, etc....

I use my mixer for bread doughs, cakes, cookies, meat mixtures, PASTA DOUGH, etc...plus for the attachments:  pasta roller & cutter, grinder & grater, sausage  maker...my KA saves me so much time, it's easy to use & clean and it's such a work-horse...

One thing to consider is the fact that you'll be able to mix very wet, high hydration doughs in your new mixer...which may not be very kneadable...

Enjoy!   Beth

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Although the very first time I made buttercream mousseline, I only had a hand mixer, the standing mixer has changed my life.  It's a joy to let the KitchenAid do all that heavy work and the results are extra light and silky smooth.  Creaming butter and sugar for cakes or cookies is a snap with the mixer, and I've even used the dough hook with good results, but I do think that breads that are hand-kneaded rise better and have the best overall crumb.  For wetter doughs, I'd go with the stand mixer every time.

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

Stand mixer are invaluable for making compund butter. (butter whipped with sweet or savory additions)

I'm an Alton Brown junkie and love his "A Case for Butter" episode. Butter is a sauce waiting to happen and a stand mixer makes making it much easier.

Oh yeah, I use it for kneading dough too. ;)

chez-jude's picture
chez-jude

Wow... good morning and thanks to you all for your comments.

It's great to have a broader view of what the KA can do, esp. the non-baking uses as I tend more towards pies than cakes in the dessert department. (But, who knows... with a KA, I might start exploring cakes.)

Beth: Sounds like you are getting full benefit from your KA. My household has gotten smaller (me!) as my last bird has just flown. So I can't imagine getting as much use from it. Unless, of course, I quit my job and took on a bunch of boarders (something I've considered)... or started entertaining more.

And, Mr Peabody, I'm with you on the lumpy potato concoctions!

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

My wife and I are also empty-nested but that doesn't mean I'll be putting the mixer away any time soon.  I stuff a mean sausage, and buy my cheese in blocks to be grated to my liking.  My left-over bread gets a trip through the machine to emerge as bread crumbs, whipped cream comes from thebowl not from an aerosol can, the list goes on. It is the most used counter-top appliance in my kitchens (2).   Mike 

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I have the KitchenAid Classic, the low-end KitchenAid stand mixer.  You could say it's my assistant.  I use it for pancakes and cookies and other batters.  It only goes so far in helping me knead, but there's a number of reasons why that may be.  I feel I need to finish off my doughs by hand in some way, hand kneading or with The Fold.

But I don't make huge batches.  I mostly bake just for myself (occasionally for friends or potlucks).

Rosalie

chez-jude's picture
chez-jude

great idea!

I don't get Food Network programming, so I went to youtube to view the episode you mentioned. And from your links, I see I can watch Food Network videos online. Thanks for the lead, darkstar.

The Case for Butter, pt 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=BrvN-yG8P8s
The Case for Butter, pt 2 (recipes): http://youtube.com/watch?v=GhAZDzIsHzY

(Love the scene where he's walking around the kitchen with several mixers running.)

chez-jude's picture
chez-jude

Mike: Sounds like there's a strong possibility one might get addicted to this appliance. Who knows... maybe I'll end up getting all the attachments and start feeding the neighborhood! I'm beginning to think there's a lot more to explore with a KA than I'd imagined.

Rosalie: I think the Costco KA is a little beefier than the Classic but wouldn't be overkill for my needs. I'm thinking I should take the plunge and give it a chance. Sounds like it can be very inspiring. :-)

audra36274's picture
audra36274

My husband and children love jerky, but the price in the store is a bit steep. Also by making it yourself you can control the amount of salt yourself. He uses the grinder attachment to grind the meat just as if your were making hamburger meat. Then it is seasoned, refrigerated for a bit to let the flavors get all happy with the meat. Then the meat is extruded thru a jerky gun onto dehydrator trays to dry. If you have never and wish to try this or anything similar, get the jerky gun with a metal barrel. The plastic is junk and will break pretty quick. The metal one (from Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop and others) even has a replacement barrel should yours ever break.

    We also use the KA for pasta making ....that is another rip off in the stores! Flour and eggs and maybe oil turns into several dollars in the store, especially if it is sold as fresh, not dried! We use our KA about 4 or 5 times a week. In fact I have two. A Proline that I bought for myself about 8 years ago, that I LOVE. Then last year my husband bought me an Artisan red one for Christmas. It is much lighter, than the proline. It won't handle the heavier doughs either, but he bought it for me because he thought it was pretty! You got to love them!

     The only problem we have ever had with either one of them (actually both of them) is the post where you but the beater type attachments gets a little worn or something and I have trouble putting on the paddles and such. But if I went out today and got another stand mixer, it would be a KA again.

Catlikethief's picture
Catlikethief

On why I love Costco. My parents bought me this mixer 2 years ago as a gift. The attachments lost their varnish (hand washed) and my motor went on a hissy fit when I started using it more frequently (We recently went thought a long kitchen remodel)  Any how Kitchen aid couldn't help me with the motor because it was a gift and I had no receipt and it was past it's one year warranty. They did give me a ballpark figure to fix it. Costco though, TOOK it back no questions asked, gave me the money my parents paid and insisted I buy a new one with a brand new one year warranty!  They also said if i have problems with this one at anytime while I am still a costco member I can bypass kitchen aid and just return it for a new one.
 
Who can argue with that!?
 

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

I love my KA attachments: pasta roller, which has already been mentioned, and ice cream maker. Also, the grinder is good for grinding sprouted wheat berries for your bread.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

mainly for grinding flour! Kenwood chef, with milling attachment - I love it. Also for cake making - but bread is a by hand thing!

 

Andrew 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Over the weekend my KA Artisan got a good workout: 12 baguettes of the BBA's pain a l'ancienne, mashed potatoes for last night's for dinner; today I made Alton Brown's scrumptious chocolate chip cookies using bread flour (by popular demand from my grandkids) and AB's roasted garlic compound butter (terrific on baguettes). Also mixed the pate fermentee and initial ingredients for the BBA's french bread in the KA, then finished it by hand. Also used it to make a sweet potatoe pie. No, I didn't eat it all - the baguettes and cookies went home with the kids but I did get to keep the french bread and pie (only because I baked them after they left).

I purchased the KA last November and figure it has paid for itself as I've not purchased a single loaf of bread since then.