The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Selecting the right stand mixer

  • Pin It
bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

Selecting the right stand mixer

Hello folks. I'm a bit new here, posting from the UK. I have a stand mixer-related question.

I am currently using a Matfer Alphamix (French), but where dough is concerned it is a bit of a sheep in wolf's clothing ("I will not meex your horrid Eenglish dough, I say 'poof' to zat!") with a capacity of only 750 grams (1.6 lbs) of flour dry weight.

I am looking at the two smaller Hobarts, 12 quart and 20 quart respectively. My average dough batches are 1-2 kg (2.5-4.5 lbs), so the 20 quart would seem to be overkill, but I am being offered one at a good price. So my question is, does a larger mixer such as a 20 quart Hobart work ok with a batch smaller than its full capacity, or would it be better to go for the smaller model?

(As I understand it, the only difference between these two is that the 20 quart has a deeper bowl and (presumably) a longer dough hook.)

Any comments on small dough mixers welcome.

mcs's picture
mcs

 bakersteve,
A 20 qt Hobart will do fine with something in the 3# range, however if you're making bigas for 3# of dough, I'd figure those would be too small for the mixer.  Depending on the age of it, you may want a new dough hook as they have a spiral design which wasn't present on the old ones.  If 3/4 of your bread is going to be in the 1-2kg range and you make bigas which would be probably less than half that weight, I'd go with the 12 qt or you'll be making the bigas with your other mixer or by hand.  If you think you'll bump up to larger quantities and/or you don't use bigas, maybe go with the 20qt.
I may be a bit off, but I would put the 12 qt range between 1.5 and 10lbs. of dough and the 20qt between 2.5 and 18 lbs of dough. Depending of course on the hydration of the dough/temperature of it.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

Thanks Mark, that's really helpful. I don't use bigas at present but maybe will in future. The Hobart specs give a range of dough capacities for the various models depending on hydration; from 4-11 lbs for the 12 quart and from 9-18 lbs for the 20 quart. I need to get a feel for how well, or otherwise, a Hobart works with a less than capacity dough load.

By '3#', do you mean 3 large loaves? (Forgive me, I'm English ;-). If so, my batch bake at present - dictated by oven capacity - is 4 x 400 grams per bake. 400 grams is a standard UK 'small' loaf, about 1 lb.

mcs's picture
mcs

I was using the # sign as shorthand for 'lbs'.  I think a ballpark for Hobart style mixers would be for the maximum capacity to be quart size in pounds (eg. a 20 quart mixer could handle 20# (lbs) of dough).  However, the manner it mixes it varies greatly based on how much dough there is, with the 'sweet spot' being somewhere below the middle range (maybe 7# is ideal for a 20 quart bowl).  When I'm watching the dough hook play with my dough in the 20 qt bowl, at 4# it does a great job, but below that, my mixing times need to be adjusted because it takes longer to get things going.  If I'm mixing a 1.5# biga in my 20 quart bowl, it'll do it, but I've got to help it out a little in the first 2 minutes.  Then I leave it to do its work while I mill about.  
I have a 10 qt bowl that fits my 20 qt mixer also, but I rarely use it, because the 20 qt hook and bowl work for anything 2# or more.  However, on the low end, I need to mess with the dough a bit.  Today I made 2 olive loaves (2x1.5#) and 2 rustic white loaves (2x1.5#).  They got mixed separately in the 20 qt mixer and were fine. 
However, if I were consistently mixing in the 2# range, I wouldn't want to be messing with the dough, so I'd get the smaller mixer.
I was just saying that if your overall dough is 1.6kg,  your biga might only weigh 400g  or less, forcing you to dirty another bowl or do it by hand. If you have the 12 qt you could do it all in the same bowl.
-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

Again, thanks - it's really helpful to discuss this with someone who's actually used the kit.

I can say with some certainty that my loads are likely to be in the 2 kg (5 lbs (Troy)) region for the forseeable future, no more and no less, limited by baking capacity. From what you say above, it sounds as if the 20 quart Hobart would be ok.

Incidentally, with the Matfer mixer I find a bizarre range of dough behaviors, with some climbing the hook, some staying put, and others climbing the sides of the bowl. What this generally means is that I have to stand over the mixer and interfere with a spatula quite a lot; it would almost be less work to use the 'French fold', which I have only just mastered. Where this breaks down, though, is with doughs with fillers. I have a nice recipe that uses chickpeas (Garbanzos?); trying the French fold on that sends peas flying all over the kitchen!

Steve

mcs's picture
mcs

Steve,
Using 2 kg of dough, I'd say the 20 qt would work perfectly.  You wouldn't need to interfere with it, and it would knead the dough just right without trying to climb the bowl.  Some mixers/doughs work better if you add all of the liquid first, some if you add all of the dry ingredients first.  With a 5# load it probably wouldn't matter which was first.  If it doesn't matter if the ingredients get pulverized, you can add them at the beginning of the mix (spices), if you want them whole (raisins, olives) add them in the last minute of mixing on speed 1 (I don't know which you'd want with the chickpeas).
Good luck with your mixer, it's always fun getting new equipment for baking.
-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

Thanks Mark - all very helpful, and good luck with your new bakery too.

 Actually, the chickpeas resist kneading pretty well.

 Steve

Eli's picture
Eli

I think Mark meant (3#) as being 3 pounds. I think.

paulshaunaalan's picture
paulshaunaalan

I just wanted to add to this.  I own both a 20qt Hobart and a 6 qt Kitchenaid that I use for bread.  My batches are usually between 2-6 pounds of flour weight (so around 3.5-11 pounds of dough).  I have had no issue with using the Hobart for even the small end of that range.  infact unless what I am mixing is very small (icing or wipped merangue, etc) I never use the Kitchenaide at all any more as I found for dought I got frustrated with its lack of power and capacity.

I would highly recommend the 20qt hobart.

 

Paul

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

If you got a VERY good price on it, go with the 20qt.  The Hobart has changed the inner part of the smaller mixer to plastic so it breaks easily if you do large quanility of breads.  Even though, Hobart has nice customer service & great services, it's a hassle to have your mixer fixed every so often.  So personally, I would get a 20qt.

dougal's picture
dougal

Quote:
I'm a bit new here, posting from the UK....

My average dough batches are 1-2 kg (2.5-4.5 lbs) ...

 

I can say with some certainty that my loads are likely to be in the 2 kg (5 lbs (Troy)) region for the forseeable future, no more and no less, limited by baking capacity.

A small quantity like that is absolutely no problem at all for a DLX, which should be much cheaper than any Hobart.

And you can put it away in a cupboard if you like. (Without any assistance!)

Search the forum for DLX, you'll find LOTS of info.

BUT - you'll have to get it from abroad, not in the UK. There's a shop in Luxembourg that sells them via eBay, and quotes for delivery to the UK. (And its not called the DLX in Europe, just to be confusing!)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Kuechenmaschine-Electrolux-Assistent-N26-AKM-4190-W_W0QQitemZ280277127449QQ

And for dough, you don't need the mincer, etc. The most basic package would do fine.

bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

Thanks to Paul and RedCatGodess for their comments: there is no subsitute for personal experience, and, where Hobarts are involved, it now definitely seems as if the 20 quart machine is the one to choose in my case.

As for the DLX machine mentioned by dougal, this is a new one to me, so I will research it. There is a thread about it at Dan Lepard's forum, here:

<http://www.danlepard.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3763>

It seems to be called the 'Magic Mill' in the UK - but is not available in the UK!

I have also found that a UK company, Metcalfs, imports the DK12 machine made by Santos, which is a bench-mounting spiral mixer that has been recommended by others on this forum. You can see it on this page:

<http://www.santos.fr/18.html>

This is of course a dough-only machine rather than a general-purpose mixer. I don't know how effective a machine like that would be with dough with additions, such as currants, chickpeas and so on; I've put a query in to the importers.

SteveB's picture
SteveB

A quick clarification... the Santos mixer is an oblique or fork mixer, not a spiral mixer.   

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

Ah... ok. I had assumed that it was a spiral mixer because the passage of the beater through the dough followed a spiral path as the bowl rotated. I see now that I was wrong: sorry.

For anyone interested, there's a video of a big oblique mixer in operation at the Poilane bakery in Paris on the Sourdough.com site at present: <http://sourdough.com/>

dougal's picture
dougal

bakersteve wrote:

As for the DLX machine mentioned by dougal, this is a new one to me, so I will research it. There is a thread about it at Dan Lepard's forum...

It seems to be called the 'Magic Mill' in the UK - but is not available in the UK!

"Magic Mill" was the old name in the USA.

As I said, it isn't available from any UK source that I know of. Personal import from within the EU (no tax, theoretically no restrictions), ought to be the simple way. And "Assistent" is the correct spelling of the model name.

Start your research with the "Search" box at top right of this page.

It has just given me 274 results for 'DLX' from this forum...

 

If it helps to put a scale on things, that chunky stainless bowl has a (total, liquid) capacity of about 7.5 litres. 

 PS - and then there's the VIDEO 

http://www.everythingkitchens.com/electroluxvideo.html  

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Does anyone know what the Santos costs in the US?

Eric 

Russ's picture
Russ

I think I've seen them listed in the high teens, but a quick googling turned this up first:

http://www.yourdelight.com/santos.htm

Edit: Looking at the rest of my google results, Some are listed as low as $1200. Pretty wide range.

Russ

BettyR's picture
BettyR

You can order the DLX in the US from this company. I have used them for several purchases and I've always been very pleased with their service.

http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/electrolux_magic_mill_dlx_mixer.aspx